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For more information, visit middleages.advicestudents.ro/
Zoom into and Broadcast your Middle Ages
The idea of the project started from the European Union’s motto:”United in diversity”. The respect for the past is one of the most important values that mankind should cherish. We have to know and understand what happened before us in order to better develop our present and anticipate our future. This is why we decided to come up with the idea of meeting 24 people from 4 countries: Romania, Poland, Spain and Italy and to try, for 7 days, to look into our medieval heritage and �ind a way to promote it nowadays. Every country has it’s own past and traditions, but if we analyze our history, we will �ind out that there are a lot of similarities among European cultures.
This youth exchange took place in Romania (13-20 September 2009) – Sibiu. The participants visited some important Romanian monuments, debated, discussed, took photos, shot a video, sewed, sprayed, danced, cooked and, most of all, had fun in the 8 days spent together.
“It’s coming, it’s coming... Spanish night is here :) Romanian night was awesome... “ “AAAAh I can’t forget anything... this was just great week with you all guys.” “Thanx once again! It was really good time; I learned a lot.”
This album is the result of all the work the participants had to do. Its main purpose is to promote the common European heritage to the present world and to rise about the urgent need of preserving the remains of the past.
Part I. Sibiu The Evangelical Church
The Evangelical Church is the symbol of the city. The present church was built on the place of an old Romanesque basilica from the 12th century. The edi�ice was �inished in 1520. With �ive pointed towers it is one of the most impressive buildings in Sibiu and a very important cultural attraction. The main tower, built in 1494, is nearly 74 m high and it is the tallest building in Transylvania. Initially, the church was a Catholic church dedicated to St. Mary but after the Reformation, it was transformed into an Evangelical church. Thus, almost all original frescoes were erased. During the trip in Sibiu’s Centre, the team discovered the amazing top view that the tower of the Evangelical Church offers. This is the reason why, all the participants thought that the church should become a “must see” in a tourist’s visit in Sibiu. A good promotion of the tower, and moreover the spectacular view, could help tourists have a better look over the city and discover new attractions.
They would be provided with binoculars and bracelets with the inscription “I have seen the best view of Transylvania”, and the tower would become the starting point in all visiting tours.
Moreover, a guided tour of the church (in at least 3 foreign languages: English, German and French) would also be a good indication, as the tourists can grasp more information when it is presented to them in an attractive way. It could either be a recorded tape, for individuals, or a guide – local cultural volunteer - for big groups. While the fascinating history is being revealed to the tourists, a person can play background music on the big organ of the church. Another idea of increasing the number of visitors came up to the team: daily “Learn how to play the organ in 30 minutes” lessons for the public. This way, people can get to know this fascinating music instrument better and, also, to see the interior of the church in a different perspective.
The “hidden” statue of Johann Nepomuk
In the garden of the Evangelical Church there was the statue of Saint Martyr Johannes Nepomuk. In 1948 the communists removed the statue from the front of the church and hid it in the garden of Brukental Museum until 1987 when the current vicar regained it and restored it. Since then, visitors can �ind the statue located in the garden of the vicarage. The interesting thing is that, although it’s important cultural value, the statue is not visible for the passer by because of the protecting wall surrounding the vicarate. Just open the wooden door and you will see more than the regular tourist.
A way of turning the tourists’ attention upon this statue, could be painting the sidewalk with foot traces leading to the hidden garden and thus unleashing their curiosity. Also, in the city centre, there would be painted portraits of Johannes Nepomuk, accompanied by the message “Find Nepomuk”, and at the �inish point, on the wooden door, would be a message to congratulate the tourist for unchaining the mystery. Inside, there will be a box with small brochures that present the story of the statue. Another way to lead the visitors to the statue could involve high school youngsters, who would walk through the city every couple of days, dressed up as Nepomuk. They would direct tourists to the statue and offer information about this important Czech �igure.
The Bridge of Lies
Legend says that on this bridge, the soldiers, before going in the war, used to declare the love for their girlfriends. Because many soldiers never came back from the war, it was named the Bridge of Lies of “Liar’s Bridge”. It is the �irst iron-cast bridge in Romania, built in 1859 by Fredericus Hutte, in order to connect the upper-town to the lower-town. It is said that if anyone tells a lie, the bridge will fall apart with him on it. That is why, even nowadays, lovers put each other's love to the test here.
The legend of the bridge has inspired the participants to come up with a modern idea of testing the love and faithfulness. On the bridge there should be installed a small wedding chapel, for those who wish to ful�il their love vows in honesty and for those brave enough for the commitment. A local priest could conduct small traditional wedding ceremonies, open to the public. This way, visitors could �ind out, not only Romanian traditions, but also the legend of the monument. For the young lovers who are not sure about their feelings yet, there could be daily “demo weddings”, ended with “one day wedding certi�icates” that they take home and always remember the beauty and magic of Sibiu. Also, a great marketing idea would be to place there 2 cardboard natural sized �igures of a groom and a bride, so that everybody take “couple - wedding” photos, while listening to live classical music played by different music students.
The city squares
There are 3 squares in Sibiu: The Large Square, The Small Square and the Huet Square. The Large Square dates back before the 15th century, as a cereals square. Since the 16th century it became the centre of the old town. The public executions and public meetings used to be held here. With 142m length and 93m wide, the square is one of the biggest in Transylvania. The Southern side of the square is part of the UNESCO patrimony. The Small Square, divided into two parts separated by Ocnei Street, which slopes under the Bridge of Lies towards the Lower Town., is the second largest historic place of the city. From here, one can enter the Council Tower through a narrow door and stairway. Dominated by the Evangelic Church, the Huet Square is the oldest in Sibiu. It was was formed on the location of the �irst forti�ied precinct of the city, which dates from the end of the 12th century (1191). Since 2007, when Sibiu was awarded the title of European Cultural Capital, the �irst 2 squares have been the central place for visitors. But the Huet Square has remained in the dark. The situation could change.
Some promoting ideas may include “living statues” representing important historical characters and situations. They could be impersonated by volunteers, dressed up in speci�ic clothes. Every hour, the “statues” would move for 10 minutes, talk with the passers by about what they represent, and then, freeze again. A great way to increase the animation in the 3 squares would be to offer the tourists the possibility to go sightseeing in “medieval” carriages specially build and ornamented, lead by real horses. Also, the cultural associations in the city could make, on weekends, short presentations of sword �ight and medieval battles, exposing some traditional weapons all over the city squares, and inviting visitors to “learn how to �ight like their ancestors”. More pigeons in the squares and small boutiques, where one can buy food for them and feed them, would also help vitalizing the city centre, along with a music device installed in the fountain in the Large Square, so that tourists could play with their imagination (when touching a button, the fountain would make a certain sound and show a speci�ic combination of water jets.
The citadel’s walls – The Craftsmen Towers
The fortress of Sibiu was �irst built in the 13th century and has suffered different alterations and extensions until the 18th century. Nowadays, visitors can admire the spectacular and picturesque view offered by the remaining parts of the citadel: Defence Walls, the Stair’s Passage, 2 Bastions: Haller and Soldisch, and 9 towers: The Arquebusiers' Tower, The Potters' Tower, The Carpenters' Tower, The Thick Tower, The Stairs Tower, The Gate Tower, The Gunpowder Tower, The Tanners' Tower and the Council Tower. The whole chain of forti�ications is in relatively good shape, but is not well valued. This is why the project team came up with some marketing ideas, meant to revitalize the area and raise the interest of the common eye for the wonderful history of the citadel.The entire ensemble of walls and towers could be transformed in a history museum of the city and region. Organized chronologically, it could be divided in 6 parts, starting with the 13th century and ending with the 19th century.
This museum would allow visitors to see not only the outside walls, but the interior of the forti�ications as well. It should contain: paintings with the old city and its inhabitants, traditional costumes and their evolution in time, documents and books presenting the most important events that happened in Sibiu, guns and other battle tools, miniature models of the citadel in its different evolution stages, tools used by the craftsmen, pottery, etc. Tourists would be given the opportunity to try themselves some costumes, or to try to shoot with fake guns through the original wholes of the citadel. The fragment of the forti�ication walls situated between the Carpenters’ Tower and the Potters’ Tower preserves its aspect from the 15th century and includes a beautiful wooden parapet – a sort of balcony. In this balcony, there could be organized different painting exhibitions, and also weekly short theatre plays, impersonating the Romeo and Juliet’s Balcony scene (with volunteers) – the scenario and script could be written on a plate in the balcony.
The towers offer even more visiting potential. All the craftsmen towers could easily be highlighted in the tourists’ lives. The Arquebusiers' Tower, The Potters' Tower, The Carpenters' Tower and The Tanners' Tower, all erected in 14th and 15th centuries, could easily become exhibition places for their speci�ic craft. In the Potters’ Tower, real pottery workshops would take place, offering the unique chance for everybody to learn “how to be a potter”. Also, pottery exhibitions would help people see with their own eyes the historical evolution of the city. The Arquebusiers' Tower would illustrate the evolution of that weapon, the way it’s being built and would host some real arquebusiers. The Carpenters' Tower would become a teaching museum, presenting the exact steps in building a medieval house. The Tanners’ Tower would be the host of a workshop that introduces the visitor in the art of tanning. Lessons would be given by real tanners. The ground �loor of every tower is an ideal place for a speci�ic crafts store with: pottery, small wooden houses, leather accessories and clothes, etc
The Stairs Passage connects the Upper Town with the Lower Town by means of two rami�ications of stairs and arcades surrounding the city walls around the Evangelic Church. Built in the 13th century, they preserve their original aspect. The �irst building on the South side of the Passage hosts Butoiul de Aur Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Romania which preserves its premises. The stairs pass right underneath the Stairs Tower, the oldest construction preserved in Sibiu. This ensemble, in order to become a tourists’ attraction, would be the host of a daily short march of an army, dressed up in medieval armors, who would march from the Lower Town to the Upper Town. The Stairs Tower would become the “Legends’ Tower” – here, all the legends and myths of the city would be posted for the visitors, on parchment paper.
Part II. Slimnic The Citadel of Slimnic
The citadel of Slimnic, aka Stolzenberg ("proud citadel" in saxon), was built entirely in brick in the �irst half of the14th century (1342), starting as a small forti�ication, and extending over the years. It represented a great strategic point cause to its position on border line between the counties of Sibiu and Medias. Now, from the once impressive citadel there are left only the main walls, the belfry and the main tower that had been restored in 1956. Nowadays the citadel can be visited inside, and a guide is also available. This very important cultural monument has been forgotten. People must do something to preserve it, before it’s too late. One �irst step on this path is to make it more attractive for tourists. Good cultural marketing could save it.
The citadel could be brought to life in many ways. Periodical medieval festivals could be held here for Martisor, Christmas, Easter, Children’s Day and other special events, involving the locals into presenting many interesting activities for visitors: Horse races; Archery contests; Carrying hay with a fork contests or catch the hen contests. People would be offered the possibility to dress in medieval traditional clothes (available for shopping or renting). Also, permanent activities could be organized here, like: horse riding classes – many would want to learn how to ride a horse- or archery workshops – just like Robin Hood, people would be able to learn and practice archery.
One important aspect is that, not only the tourists are important, but also the locals. For them, Festivals would be great entertainment moments, like: Autumn Festival, with “The best harvester in Slimnic” contest, Beer Festivals, Dancing Festivals (medieval dances), etc During summers, handcrafting, pottering and blacksmithing workshops or dancing and sword �ighting classes could be organized in the citadel, for everybody willing to participate. In the week-ends, the impression of a living citadel should be created, with animals, realistic wax food, hay bays, medieval peasants, lords, knights and princesses.
In the tower, the Best Archer of Slimnic contest could take place. The award would be given to those who can shoot with an arrow in the target that is outside, in the garden. It could consist in having his/her picture on the wall with Best Archer of Slimnic Citadel that will be inside the Citadel. This living citadel would attract many tourists, curious to see how our ancestors lived, and would bring Slimnic back to life. The best way to promote and preserve the Romanian cultural patrimony would be to include all the Transylvanian citadels in a thematic, well organized tour. This way, the visitor would feel like he’s going back in time, in the Dark Ages. Chariots would carry the visitor from one citadel to another, from one forti�ied church to another, managing to tell the entire and true story of the region. Everybody would be able to rent room in the forti�ications, to eat traditional food, to spend the evenings in medieval parties, with bon�ires and dances. This way, the Romanian experience would become unforgettable.
Part III. Sighişoara The citadel of Sighişoara
Sighişoara (Schäβburg) is the most beautiful and well preserved inhabited citadel in Europe, with an authentic medieval architecture. It has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and it has preserved in an exemplary way the features of a small medieval forti�ied city. The earliest of�icial mention of the citadel comes from the year 1280, when it was known as "Castrum Sex". Around 1350, the �irst forti�ications belt started to be built. Expanding several times over the centuries, the city played an important strategic and commercial role at the edges of Central Europe. Due to its outstanding architecture, Sighişoara has been called "The Pearl of Transylvania”, since 19th century. The belt of forti�ication is preserved almost entirely, with 9 towers: The Rope Makers' Tower, The Tailors' Tower, The Shoemakers' Tower, The Butchers' Tower, The Furriers' Tower, The Tin Coaters' Tower, The Tanners' Tower and The Blacksmiths' Tower. The ninth tower still standing is the Clock Tower itself.
The rest of the city’s architecture is a combination of elements and styles: Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. It is truly an open-space museum that attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world. Unfortunately, besides walking on narrow streets bordered by medieval houses, the great view from the Clock Tower and some yearly festivals, Sighişoara isn’t truly valued as it should be. The participants in the youth exchange came up with some ideas for remarketing the fortress. During summers, the place should look like an original living citadel. Artists should be encouraged to bring the past to live with their music, paintings, joggling or magical skills. In weekends, “Dark Ages parades”, with knights in shinning armors, princesses and peasants should be organized; accompanied by medieval dances and sword �ights, they would give tourists a glimpse of how the citadel used to look like.
The covered Stairway The towers
The covered wooden stairway named the "Covered Stairs" or "Schoolboys' Stairs" was built in 1642 to facilitate the schoolchildren’s way to the School on the Hill during winter. Originally the stairs had 300 steps, but today their number was reduced to 175. The Covered Stairway leads also to the Church on the Hill. The climbing would become more interesting if, on the inside, on the wooden coverage, there were handmade maps of the town (school projects), and if music was played by different medieval bands. Tourists might want to take back home a nice souvenir from Romania. That is why, at the top of the stairs, a coin giver would be installed: one inserts a 1 Ban coin that is pressed into becoming a new coin, on which is written: “I’ve just climbed 175 stairs into the heart of history – Sighişoara 2009”. Another attraction would be if the �irst part of the stairs became a giant organ keyboard: each step would make a different sound. This would transform climbing the stairs in a musical challenge.
The insides of the towers should be transformed into museums: - rope makers, shoe makers, tinkers, tanners, tailors, butchers, furriers, and blacksmiths – each craft has its own history and evolution, and then all included in a Handcrafting tour for children of visiting groups. This 2 hours tour would carry the participants back in time, telling stories about the region and the way people used to live, presenting the art of crafting on each domain and the complicated process before the �inal product, etc Between The Tin Coaters’ Tower and The Tanners’ Tower there is the Archers’ Gallery. This space would be used for painting and traditional costumes’ exhibitions and also for painting classes for tourists. In the evenings, people would gather here to tell spooky stories at the candles’ lights (ads all over the citadel would invite the visitors to an unforgettable scary night, �illed with vampires and dragons). The Shoemakers’ Tower could be transformed into a local “observatory” – using binoculars, people could admire the stunning surroundings of the citadel.
The 3 Houses’ Path
The House with Stag, the Venetian House and the Vlad Dracul House are the most famous buildings in the city. They could all become a part of “The Path” – a special market road that would pass near all 3 of them. At the entrance of each house, a costumed guide would relate the story of that monument, with recite poems written there and would give everybody the chance to take a photo with him, all this accompanied by medieval music played in the street. Also, in the evenings, �ilm projections on Vlad Dracul House would animate the life even more. Finally, all the monuments in Sighişoara should be included in some periodically treasure hunts for students: 2 or 3 hours through the citadel, discovering all it’s hidden beauty.
The 3 Houses’ Path
More information of the project is available on http://middleages.advicestudents.ro/
Project Managers: Olaru Roxana Zottu Alexia
Chief editor: Roxana Olaru
Editors: Alexia Zottu Dan Araiman Mirela Niculescu
Fotography: The international team Graphic design:
This project was organized by ADVICE Students www.advicestudents.ro in collaboration with - Asociacion Cazalla Intercultural http://www.cazalla-intercultural.org/ - Associazione culturale Strauss http://www.arcistrauss.it/ - ESWIKO Euro-Link Today's young Europeans are a generation living in a rapidly evolving social, demographic economic and technological environment. The European Union’s youth policies aim to meet young people’s changing expectations while encouraging them to contribute to society. This policy work is supported by concrete action in the form of a speci�ic programme for young people called Youth in Action. http://ec.europa.eu/youth/
Financed by the European Commission, through the Youth in Action Program– Action 1.1 – Youth Exchanges http://www.anpcdefp.ro/