“Heritage is the legacy of the past that we enjoy today and that we will send to the generations that will come.” UNESCO
As human beings, we are fascinated with our past. Our instinct tells us that the heritage of our ancestors, our community and the land upon which we live contributes to our understanding of who we are by showing us from where we come.
We realize that the land, the climate and the ecosystems shaped who we are. We realize that the generations before us left their imprints upon our lives through architecture and art, tool-making and industry, culture and traditions. We understand that we are, in large part, who we are because of the cultural and natural heritage passed to us by those generations. We realize that where we were born, lived and live shape even the thoughts we carry with us each day.
As social animals, we form communities and towns and from this mingling, we establish traditions and customs, we form relationships with each other, with nature and with God. Inspired, we build houses and bridges, farm the land and raise livestock. We learn to tap the syrup from trees because that kind of tree grows where we live. We become miners because of what lies buried in the ground. We build monuments to God because of those who passed through our land spreading their faith.
Indeed, our fascination with our past carries with it a deep interest in who we are, not merely in terms of our personal heritage but in terms of our heritage as spiritual beings. Who are we? From where did we come and to where shall we go?
For these reasons, a nation is careful in preserving its heritage. A nation’s identity is tied to the heritage of its people. Knowing who we were helps us to know who we are as a nation.
The heritage of Rosia Montana and the Apuseni Mountains is in the blood of all Romanians. During the colonization that followed the Roman conquest of Dacia and the gold of Rosia Montana in 106AD, Roman men married Dacia women who gave birth to the first Romanians.
Treasure your heritage, Romanians! By knowing the story of Rosia Montana and keeping her safe, you will come to better know yourselves.
Above and below the Earth, through every mountain peak, meadow, wayside crucifix or cross, through every wall or gate, the past is breathing; every piece of land here whispers old tales: pain, joy, change or celebration. Roşia Montană is the rural space with the richest heritage in Romania, with a patrimony that includes 53 monuments officially declared and more recognized by the experts but still unclassified. A place that can become a unique touristic destination, a treasure of the universal heritage.
The valuable patrimony of Roşia Montană is the result of the millenary traditional mining and of the harmonious coexistence of man with the source of his living, the mountains and the forests, rivers and meadows within a continuously changing highly complex community with a varied religious ethnicity, customs and traditions, conditions which allowed the creation and the preservation of an area that holds not only the prints of the birth of a nation but also the prints of an over two thousand years of history. The heritage of Roşia Montană becomes, therefore, not just a local or national heritage, but one of an universal value.
Roşia Montană is under the protection of the national legal system and was declared as the rural area with the richest heritage in Romania. The cultural heritage of Roşia Montană was declared as being of national interest and national exceptional value; seven of the patrimony elements were declared monuments of national and universal value.
The known patrimony – protected, includes 50 elements from the cultural heritage and 3 elements from the natural heritage.
The unknown patrimony – without protection status
Many aspects of the patrimony are recognized by the experts but have yet to be officially classified.
Roşia Montană has not yet been fully archaeologically researched and could hide important vestiges undiscovered yet. In fact, only 0,2% of the over 1000 hectares requested by the company has been properly surveyed according to scientific standards.
Include 50 historical monuments (archaeological vestiges, architectural monuments and ensembles and funeral monuments) and 3 monuments of nature.
Roşia Montană appears on the list of the historical monuments in the Official Gazette no. 670 bis of October 1, 2010, as follows:
– 6 archaeological sites from the Roman period, of national and universal value.
– 43 architectural monuments and ensembles , of national interest and value.
– 1 funerary monument.
În Roşia Montană there are 6 archaeological sites declared “historical monuments of national and universal value”:
- The Roman settlement from Alburnus Maior, from Roman age (Orlea area);
- The Roman mining exploitation from Alburnus Maior, from Roman age, (Orlea Massif);
- The Roman remains from Alburnus Maior, from Roman age, (Carpeni area);
- The Roman funerary precinct, from Roman age, (Hop-Găuri area);
- Cătălina Monuleşti galleries, from Roman, medieval and modern ages (the Historical Center protected area);
- The galleries from Cârnic Massif, from Roman, medieval and modern galleries.
DESCOVERIES FROM THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
The Roman galleries from Roşia Montană are unique in Europe.
These represent the most spectacular elements of Roman mining; they have a perfect trapezoidal shape, they are made with chisel and hammer, they have places for placing the mining lamps and they are arranged on several levels.
The wax tablets
50 wax tablets from the Roman period have been found by chance in the galleries of the old mines. They reveal the basics of Roman Law which is the basis for modern law in the western world.
The wax tablets are considered “the identity document of the Romanian people”.
25 tablets survive and are now spread in museums from all over the world.
The ancient mausoleum is a circular double grave from the Roman-Dacia, part of a Roman funerary precincts. Dated in second century AD, it is considered as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Roşia Montană. It is very well preserved and the only one discovered on the territory of Romania; currently, the mausoleum is preserved in situ and is opened to the public.
The hydraulic wheel from Roman times, discovered in Orlea Massif, had the role to evacuate the residual waters from the mines. The in situ discovery of the hydraulic wheel is the first of this kind.
In Roşia Montană there are 43 architectural monuments from the XVIII-XX century, placed in the national list of historical monuments.
These include the Historical Center, two churches, a railway station and 39 buildings.
The highlights of the local architecture are the five churches (Roman-catholic, Unitarian and Calvin in the Central Square area, the Orthodox and Greek-catholic in the downstream of Roşia Valley); they are all built in a mixture of styles, both Baroque and Classic, but also the traditional style of the Romanian churches in Transylvania. They all stand proof of a constant feature of the community of Roşia Montană: multi-ethnicity and multi-culturality. Ştefan Bâlici, Virgil Apostol – co-authors in Roşia Montană cultural and turist guidebook, Roşia Montană Cultural Foundation.
The Historical Center of the village is an architectural ensemble representative of the national patrimony, consisting of: “The village burg”, The Square , Berg neighborhood, The Fir Trees Street and the area upstream the Market, towards the lakes, built between 18th and 20th centuries.
The Greek-Catholic Church Simeon Balint was built in 1741 as an Orthodox church; its name is related to the Greek-Catholic personality Simeon Balint, a tribune in the army of Avram Iancu and prefect during the Revolution of 1848.
The Romano-Catholic Church “St. Ladislaus” was built between 1860 – 1870. The icon of Virgin Mary and the Child from this church is considered to be a gift of the Empress Maria Theresa.
The Railway Station through which passed “mocăniţa”, a very low speed train (40km/h) carrying passengers and merchandise. The railway station turned 100 years old this year, being built in 1912.
39 buildings declared historical monuments, built between XVIII – XIX centuries including:
- The Old Casino (Casina) (1880-1900)
- The German School (1830 – 1850)
- The Hungarian School (1835)
- The Mining School, the past/former cinema (1900 – 1918)
- Gritta House (1900 – 1940)
- Greek Catholic parochial House (XIX)
- The Unitarian parochial House (1933)
- The Calvinist church House (1840-1860.1915)
- The Hall (1935)
The comemorative monument of Simeon Balint – a local personality (1810-1880) – historical monument. It is placed in the cemetery of the Greek-catholic Church.
The protected natural patrimony of Roşia Montană is represented by two rare geological formations and an aven, filed in the category of the “Reservations and Monuments of Nature”: Piatra Despicată (The Cleft Stone), Piatra Corbului (The Raven Stone) and The Aven from Hoanca Urzicarului.
The Raven Stone – Declared a “monument of nature” in 1969.
It is a massif located at an altitude of 950m on the southern slope of Cârnic mountain, placed within a protected area of 5 ha. In this massive took place Daco-Roman works, including primitive methods for gold mining using fire, water and vinegar. The name of the monument comes from the shape of the stone, suggesting a raven’s head, but also from the large number of raven nests found in the area.
The Cleft Stone – Declared a “natural monument” in 1954.
Its geological composition is different from the geology of the area. Is an andesite block weighing several tons and is located over the dacite rock of Cârnic Massif . It is believed that the stone block gained its current location after a volcanic explosion from the Ore Mountains produced in the last phase of the Neogene period approximately 15 – 20 million years ago. .
The Aven of Hoanca Urzicarului
Located near the village of Vârtop is one of the largest and deepest potholes in the country. The pothole is a natural cavity with predominantly vertical development, formed in soluble rocks (limestones).
The value of the heritage of Roşia Montană is increased by the unofficially declared patrimony. Many of these elements of patrimony have been described by experts as being of great value and significance so their officially ranking is considered to be absolutely necessary.
Other elements from the material cultural heritage (vernacular patrimony, the cultural assets from museums and collections), intangible cultural heritage (spiritual) and from the natural heritage are listed here because they are considered to be of a great value for the ensemble of the settlement:
- elements of the vernacular heritage provide details about the life and the past of the community, highlights the uniqueness of the place and enrich the rural landscape: old walls and gates, ruins, roadside crosses and crucifixes, details of the industrial architecture.
- elements of the intangible heritage emphasize the complex nature of the rhythm of community life and its spirituality: values, beliefs, traditions, customs, holidays, etc.
- elements of the natural heritage are proof of the cohabitation between man and nature in past communities, a proof of the value and of the conservation state of the natural environment: landscapes, mountains, lakes, flora and fauna, etc.
In 2007, the ARA Association (Architecture, Restoration, Archaeology) unsuccessfully asked The Department for Culture, Cults and National Cultural Heritage of Alba County that 50 valuable buildings from Roşia Montană and Corna villages – traditional houses, churches, public buildings be given protection status.
“Adormirea Maicii Domnului” Orthodox Church, built in 1781, is one of the seven churches whose construction was financed by Mihăilă Gritta, one of the greatest figures of the Apuseni Mountains
The Unitarian Church, built in 1796.
The Calvinist Church, located near to the center and is dated after 1800.
The Orthodox Church of Corna, built in 1719, is one of the most important religious buildings in the area.
Greek Catolic Church of Corna – (re)built between 1841-1847.
The Cultural Center
The old School
The old Hall
The past Administrative Palace
The old Maternity Hospital
The Miners Club
The House of Adrian Păunescu poe
The Sicilian Street
THE VERNACULAR PATRIMONY
Consists of elements that in the past that had a utility in the daily life and mainly found in the rural areas where they were bypassed by modernization: old walls, gates with different architectural styles, roadside crucifixes, crosses, chapels, funerary monuments, detailed elements of the industrial architecture.
The elements from the small patrimony of Roşia Montană are important because:
- they provide a complex image over the details of the life and the past of the community.
- they add value to the ensemble of the settlement because they complete harmoniously the architectural patrimony of the place, enriching the rural landscape;
- their large number and their spreading throughout the whole settlement area makes them an advantage in terms of tourism because they keep alive the interest of the visitors along their itinerary. On every street, at every corner, in every area of the village there are scattered elements of the vernacular patrimony.
The wall of David;
The wall of the Szekey Acos former house(wall that was used in the movie „Nunta de piatră”);
The wall sorrounding what once was a summer garden.
Gates with different architectural styles
The gate of the German School;
The gate of David Francisc former house;
The gate of Gruber Iosif house;
The gate of Riedel family former house.
The Cross of Gritta – monument from the XIX century, the place there the miners used to pray before to enter into the mine;
The cross from the Berk Street;
The cross from the foot of Cetate Massif;
The cross from the top of Cârnic Massif;
The roadside crucifix from the Romano-Catholic Church;
The roadside crucifix from Râznă;
Sosaşi roadside crucifix.
The chapel from Ţarină Area;
The chapel from the Romano-Catholic Church;
The amphitheatre from Tăul Brazi (The Fir Trees Lake)
Here were taken place the local celebrations.
THE INDUSTRIAL ARHITECTURE
Represented by the medieval and modern industrial landscape.
“The mining industry and the traditional processing industry shaped the landscape since the medieval period through the technical works that today represent marks for the identity of the settlement: the lakes, the galleries system, the waste rock. The Magazine 22- Ştefan Balici, Virgil Apostol
The lakes, tăuri, built throughout the whole site, were absorbed in time into the natural environment.
The gallery system with a multitude of mine entrances.
Mine tailing piles or the areas with waste piled on the slopes (now partly vegetated)
CULTURAL GOODS KEPT IN MUSEUMS AND COLLECTIONS
1. A rich archaeological inventory brought to light over time by accidental discoveries, and recently through systematic archaeological researches: roman votive and funerary stars, elements of funerary and architectural sculpture, ceramics, household utensils and tools, ornaments. Magazin 22 – Stephen Balici, Virgil Apostol.
2. Objects from the Mining Museum in Roşia Montană
The photography exhibition from the “Goldsmiths” collection, by photographer Basil Roman. The collection “Goldsmiths” consists of 239 photographs illustrating the life and work of the goldsmiths in Roşia Montană in the interwar period; it is a unique photo-history of the period and has inestimable artistic and scientific value.
Trolleys for carrying the ore discovered in underground galleries. At the Mining Museum there are two trolleys, one in Roman gallery and the other one in the museum courtyard.
The şteampuri are rock grinding installations powered by water, or, in modern times, with electricity. In the courtyard of the museum there is a wood stamp, that uses water, and an electrical stamp from modern times.
The funerary monuments were built in the honor of some of the wealthiest figures in the area thanks to the important role that they had in the economic, social and cultural life of the settlement.
- The funerary monument of Moldovan Lajos (1844 – 1899) Pharmacist, gold mine owner and director of several mines.
- The funerary monument of Dregán Janos (1829-1904) from the Romano-catholic Church. Janos Dregán was mines owner and director of several mines.
- The cript of Mihăilă Gritta, one of the most famous goldsmiths of place – built in 1837.
THE GOLD MINING SITE – technical and industrial patrimony
In 2008, the ARA Association requested the special designation, in the technical and industrial heritage, of the Roşia Montană gold mining site. Unfortunately, as in 2007, this request has been rejected by the Department for Culture, Cults and National Cultural Heritage of Alba County, the authorizing institution. They include:
The mines from Cârnic, Orlea, Cetate, Jig-Văidoaia and Letea Massives
These massifs contain exceptionally well preserved galleries that constitute the largest underground mining complex of Roman times known, accompanied by evidence of the mining industry from the medieval and modern times.
The system of hydro-technical constructions – tăurile (the lakes)
The lakes – hydro-technical constructions of nearly 300 years, the ore transport line, the crushing station and the processing area from Gura Roşiei, all these are evidence of the mining processing before the Industrial Revolution.
The transport and ore processing installations: the narrow track and the processing plants from Gura Roşiei.
The spiritual heritage includes the memory and values of the community, its customs, traditions, beliefs, oral stories, crafts, artistic expressions and spiritual creations.
“The material and the immaterial heritage are indivisible. The immaterial heritage gives the site meaning, value, excitement and mystery.” ICOMOS
The immaterial elements that constitute the spiritual heritage of Roşia Montană have a great value and importance. Throughout history, the traditional gold mining and the harmonious coexistence of man with the source of his living have created a rural space with a fascinating cultural heritage and a community that, always subject to change, became extremely complex through the values that it inherited.
The traditional gold mining has proven to be a sustainable activity, preserving culture and spirituality, and the evidence is the impressive heritage remaining in Roşia Montană since before Roman times. This traditional activity has shaped the place and the community fueling the cultural and religious variety that exists today, and underlining its important role in shaping the local identity of the settlement.
The variety of the religious denominations
In the medieval period, the interest in gold and silver transformed Roşia Montană into a cosmopolitan town with settled immigrants from all over Europe. In this way, the community enriched its spiritual heritage through the expression of ethnic, cultural and religious varieties specific to each religious group.
Today, in the Roşia Montană community there exist five denominations: Orthodox, Greek-catholic, Roman-catholic, Unitarian and Calvin.
Customs and traditions
The manifestation of the local customs and traditions keeps alive the site specificity. In Roşia Montană, the best preserved are those related to the fundamental events of life: births, weddings, funerals, major holidays – Easter, Christmas, St. Mary and St. Varvara, the protector of the miners, and those relating to the festivals and fairs marking the seasons.
- spraying the girls with parfume from the second day of Easter, a custom of Hungarian influence
- the guard at the tomb of Jesus – custom from the Roman Catholic confession
- buying the pig for Christmas and the gingerbread called locally “pogăci” from The Autumn Fair (no longer exists because the fair it is no longer organized).
Includes the imponderables prints of some historical moments and events significant for the national identity.
One of the reasons of the revolution raise originates in the modernization work of the mining exploitation at Roşia Montană, initiated in the middle of the eighteenth century; and here there is still the memory of the battles fought of Avram Iancu, seconded by the prefects and the tribunes among which is Simon Balint, a Greek-Catholic priest in Roşia Montană. Revista 22 – Stephen Balici, Virgil Apostol.
Maintain the uniqueness of the place and hold the archaic language of the site.
The legends are based on stories about honest gold miners who could find gold easily and the greedy ones had only bad luck.
46 legends remain about gold and spirits in Roşia Montană.
Sărbătoarea Minerilor (The Miners Feast) – on St. Varvara – the protector of miners, 4th of December.
Deschiderea Islazului (The Opening of the pasture), celebration of the spring – 21st of May.
Balul „de prindere a postului” (The party of the Mardi Grass) – the celebration of the last day before Lent.
The rituals of cutting the pig for Christmas and the lamb for Easter are, in this community, family celebrations.
Popular Craft – Romanian traditional costume sewing
The Fairs in Roşia Montană (not organized anymore)
The weekly Fair (every Saturday)
The Roşia Fair – fair that marks the beginning of the spring
The Autumn Fair – marks the end of the autumn (November 15th). It was a fair organized for the Christmas preparations: to buy pickled cabbage, pig for Christmas and gingerbread called by the locals “pogăci”.
The Fair of the Labor day from the “Tip of the Fir Trees” (May 1st)
Roşia Montană is unique not only through the cultural patrimony that it holds but also to the beauty of the inherited natural environment. The mountains, the forests, the meadows and the old ponds of Roşia Montană create a natural landscape appreciated not only by tourists in search of the natural beauty but also by archaeologists, architects, historians, geologists and photographers, experts who recognize the close link between the cultural and the natural heritage, by the footprints left by this community on the natural environment where it developed.
Just this intermingling between the richness of the cultural patrimony and the natural elements transforms the settlement into a rural area of exceptional value: a place with a fascinating history that has left behind one of the country’s richest cultural heritage, surrounded by a natural environment of a great beauty.
- increases the aesthetical value of the site, defining a great natural environment in the middle of which were kept cultural patrimony elements;
- represents the proof of the richness and of the complexity of the area regarding the biodiversity of the ecosystems;
- increases the tourist value of the settlement.
The natural environment
The elements of the natural patrimony of Roşia Montană lies in one of the best preserved natural environments in Europe: Apuseni Mountains.
The seven mountain massifs that enclose the settlement have mostly volcanic origin.
At the North and East of the village there are the massifs Coltău, Brădeş, Ghimpele, Rotundu, Şulei and Ghergheleu and at the south – Cârnic and Cetate Massifs.
The landscape is enriched by the lakes called “tăuri”, designed in the past to provide the water indispensable in the processing of the gold ore. At altitudes of 900 and 1000 meters, the lakes represents an additional benefit for tourists The most beautiful and valuable in terms of tourism are: Ţarina, Tăul cel Mare, Tăul Brazi, Corna and Anghel.
Approximately 80% of the village area is covered by vegetation specific to the meadows; habitats for many plant species from which many are threatened with extinction.
The natural landscape
The natural landscape is specific mountainous: mountain peaks, lakes located on forested hills and steep valleys were the villages are located. The uniqueness of the landscape is due to the traces of historical gold mining: the eight lakes, the surface or subterranean galleries whose entries are dug into bare-faced rocks that can be seen from great distances.
The surface gold mining executed during the communist regime had dramatic consequences not only on the archaeological heritage of the site but also on the natural landscape. After its exploitation, the Cetate Massif was devastated and today, after 40 years, the natural landscape of the settlement still wears the wounds of the past – an open-pit mine where no greening or recovery project was ever done.
Roşia Montană is a habitat of considerable richness and complexity for an area relatively small in size. Is characterized by forests, meadows and wetlands that are of great botanical interest.
The state of the found habitats was stable, with excellent and well-preserved structures, with a high conservation value and with elements in a well preserved state. These habitats contain many species from the Red List of the Plants from Romania. An Assessment of the Environmental Impact Study for Roşia Montană Project with emphasis on biodiversity, Dr. Jozsef Szabo – coordinator, John Akeroyd, Andrew Jones, Robert Geczi, Bodis Katalin – authors.
The results of some independent studies prove “the extraordinary value of the are in terms of biodiversity and draw attention to the wealth/richness of the natural heritage of Roşia Montană, that deserve to be exhaustively studied in relationship with all the environmental elements and, undoubtedly, it should be preserved.”
An Assessment of the Environmental Impact Study for Roşia Montană Project with emphasis on biodiversity, Dr. Jozsef Szabo – Coordinator, John Akeroyd, Andrew Jones, Robert Geczi, Bodis Katalin – authors.
WHAT IS PATRIMONY?
Heritage is the legacy of the past that we enjoy today and that we will send to the generations that will come. UNESCO
The word “patrimony” comes from the latin patrimonium, which means “paternal legacy” and by extension “family assets”. Patrimony (heritage) is, therefore, a legacy left to us by the generations which have preceded us. We have a duty to transmit, untouched, this legacy to future generations. Rencontres du Patrimoine Europe-Roumanie (RPER)
The National Cultural Heritage is an ensemble of human, phisical or spiritual creations, that throgh their value they represent the national cultural identity. This also includes those landscapes and natural sites that are significant to the history or the character of the area in which they are located. APDRP
The common patrimony is one of the binders of the society. ~Abbé Grégoire
Patrimony is the common heritage of the community; it provides the local and national identity; is an integral part of the living environment; is a national touristic asset; is a major asset for economic balance and social cohesion. French Ministry of Culture – RPER
Types of patrimony
The cultural heritage includes the material cultural heritage and the intangible cultural heritage. In this category also apears the small patrimony or the vernacular patrimony.
The material cultural heritage includes the mobile material heritage (monuments, sites, art objects, etc.) and the immobile material heritage (the cultural assets placed in museums and collections).
The vernacular patrimony is the ensemble of artefacts that in the past had a utility in the daily life. They are mainly found in the rural areas where they were bypassed by modernization: mills, fountains, bridges, furnaces, chapels, wayside crosses, etc. RPER
The intangible cultural patrimony includes the spiritual heritage: customs, traditions, values, believes, memory, oral stories, literature, crafts, artistic expressions and spiritual creation of a community.
The natural patrimony is the ensemble of environmental components of whose value is significant to the integrity of ecosystems, to the preservation of biodiversity, to the satisfaction of the life, wealth and cultural needs of the present and future generations: flora, fauna, physical-geographical structures and biocenotic structures. APDRP
THE PRESERVATION OF THE PATRIMONY
The heritage of a place is related to where it exists and where it is placed and consists of material (landscapes, buildings, objects, roads, etc.) and immaterial elements (memory, beliefs, traditions, customs, values, traditional knowledge, crafts, etc.). In order to protect and valorize the patrimony, it is necessary to preserve the setting and the framework within which the place exists.
It is recommended that for the management and the preservation of the monuments and sites to take into consideration the intangible values and the local communities that hold them and keep them. ICOMOS
Saving the material and immaterial elements is essential for the preservation of the community’s identity with created and transmitted spaces with cultural and historical significance. ICOMOS
We can say therefore say that this framework (also called the spirit of place) consisting of material elements and of immaterial values has a major/crucial importance. Its salvation is fundamental to/for both heritage conservation and local identity prezervation.
The concepts described by ICOMOS lead to the conclusion that the patrimony of a place cannot be separated from the ensemble of the tangible and intangible elements, from the spirit of place and from the local community. It is recommended therefore that for its preservation, all these components must be taken into consideration.
The concept of the spirit of the place allows a better understanding of the living nature of the monuments, sites and cultural landscapes, giving a more richer vision of the cultural heritage. ICOMOS
The communities that “live the place/the site”, especially if they are traditional societies, they must be intimately associated to the preservation of the memory of the place, of its vitality, perennity and spirituality. Considering that, generally, the local communities are the best placed to understand the spirit of the place, especially in case of the traditional cultural groups, we claim that they have to be intimately associated with all the efforts to preserve and transmit the spirit of the place. ICOMOS