Cultural Route – “Mălâncrav Living Multiethnic Heritage”
The project „Cultural Route – Mălâncrav Living Multiethnic Heritage” initiated by the Mihai Eminescu Trust and launched at the end of March 2015, brings to fruition the national and international recognized experience of the organization in bringing heritage to its best valorization, by making an innovative contribution to the development of the local community in Mălânvcrav, under the objectives of the programme PA16/RO12 „Conservation and revitalization of the cultural and natural heritage”, supported through the Financial Mechanism SEE 2009 – 2014.
The general objective of the project is the sustainable development of the community in Mălâncrav, Sibiu county, by creating a cultural route to showcase the immaterial and material multiethnic local heritage.
The total value of the project is 384,887.40 Lei, of which 89.20% are nonrefundable grants.
During the implementation of the project several activities were organized: the inventory of the local material and immaterial heritage was made with photo and video documentation of the identified elements, workshops were organized where local craftsmen of all ethnic groups present in the village, practising the traditional techniques, showcase their crafts, such as wickerwork, brickwork, carpentry, cooking and baking, sewing and weaving.
To ensure the sustainability of the the project results, the local actors were consulted at each stage of the project planning and implementation, they were involved in decision-making. By promoting the equality of chances for the Roma people, who preserve the crafts, and by paying special attention to the preservation of the authenticity, in order that the example of a good practice could be created and handed over to the community.
The village Mălâncrav is located in the Mălâncrav Valley, south of the village Laslea and 17 kilometres from the national road (DN) connecting Sighişoara to Sibiu. Today, in the village exists one of the largest Saxon communities in south-east Transylvania. From the 1100 inhabitants recorded at the last census, the majority are Romanians and Saxons, Roma and Hungarians. Today, it is one of the most important touristique destinations in south-east Transylvania, well-known for the preservation of its built heritage, for the idyllic landscapes, for the customs and traditions and for the biodiversity of the area.
Here some important historical monuments can be visited, such:
- The Evangelical Fortified Church – built in the 14th century decorated with frescos, unique in the Transylvanian cultural scenery, which are largely preserved until today. Under the sacristy there is the tomb of Michael Apafi II, prince of Transylvania.
- The Orthodox Church – erected under the patronage of „The Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary” at the end of the 1600-ies and built of brick and stone at the beginning of the 1700-ies
- The Roman Catholic Church was built in 1865 by order of Countess Susanna Haller and served the Hungarian community of the village until 2010, when the last Roman-Catholic parishioner died. Its value consists in its very existence, an evidence of the religious tolerance and multicultural diversity of Transylvania.
- The Apafi Manor was built in the 15th century by the noble family Apafi. With the support of architect Jan Hülsemann and the local craftsmen Fritz Klusch and Ernst Linzing with his team, the manor was restored according to the building plans of the 18th The restoration process was not easy but was achieved at high standards. Local artisans and craftsmen have been also involved for the embroideries and interior and exterior furniture. The awarding of the prestigious Europa Nostra Prize in 2007 is a recognition of the efforts of the Mihai Eminescu Trust.
The seamstresses of Mălâncrav, knowing the age-old techniques of combining traditional pattern and symbols, continue to make traditional costumes with regional patterns, as well as napkins, tablecloth, towels and embroideries.
The brickmakers of Mălâncrav are still manufacturing traditional bricks and tiles from the material found at the end of the village. On a workday, using special moulds, they will make several hundred bricks, while it is very interesting to watch the ancient skill of this valuable craft.
Wicker weaving has been a craft since the times when the houses were made of thick wickerwork covered with clay and thatched roofs. Wickerwork was also used to make various objects used for the harvesting, carrying and preserving of farming products.
The Mălâncrav craftsmen, are very skilled in the traditional techniques and they are working mainly with oak and pine wood. The wood is usually cut in winter, in the southern part of the forest, where the humidity is lower, then left to dry for a period of time before being used. The carpenters are using the axe and chisel to make wooden beams, boards and lath used for construction and restoration of traditional houses, barns, roofs or household goods. Keeping alive the traditional carpentry skills is contributing very much to the preservetion of the traditional and authentic character of the village.
The local traditional cuisine is based on seasonal ingredients and the meals differ from one season to another, from one home to another. Here we can taste dairy foods, different types of cheese (caş, telemea, brânză frământată), homemade meat dishes, homegrown fruits and vegetables, fresh or preserved. The menu also includes sausages, bacon, zacuscă, eggs, soups, ciorbă, stew, pickles, and desserts such as cake, ginger bread, pie, doughnuts, jam and natural fruit juices. It’s impossible to miss the pălincă to awake your appetite.
Among the products of the weavers of Mălâncrav weaving cotton and wool and working according to the techniques handed over from their ancestors are, for example, curtains, carpets, rugs, tablecloths, towels, bed linen, pillow cases. Weaving and working at the loom may take from a week to a month and a half, depending on the complexity of the motifs and the size of the product.
Now the visitors have the opportunity after spending a night in the traditional guest houses in Mălâncrav to discover the attractions on the map of the cultural route created by us. They have a complete experience addressed to all the senses simultaneously, to take an interactive part in learning the symbolic significance of hand woven and embroidered patterns, shaping clay to bricks and tiles, weaving hazelnut rods, carving oak, baking, smelling and tasting bread or specific cakes to identifying the herbs of the spontaneous flora, and many more experiences, carefully selected for their authenticity.