Dear friends of the Movile Churchfortress Project, we want to wish all of you a happy new year and would like to give you a small update about the recent activities in the last year and an outlook on our planned activities in the upcoming year. Project of the American Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) The Fortified Churches Foundation in cooperation with the ”Ion Mincu”-University in Bucharest and the Arcus Association successfully applied for a two-year project for the restauration of the Fortified Churches in three villages in Transsilvania. The aim of the project is the evaluation of the construction and condition of the Fortified Churches as well as the development of restauration concepts and first emergency restauration measures. It is funded by the American Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) and will start in spring 2017. Movile is one of the three villages included in the project. We therefore have been approached by the Fortified Churches Foundation (Stiftung Kirchenburgen) to be part of the project. A group of students of conservation and restoration from the Ion Mincu University’s faculty of architecture in Sibiu (Professor Liviu Gligor) have already been on a visit to Movile last autumn and are currently collecting all information available about construction and condition of the Fortified Church. They will be coming to Movile in spring for a workshop to examine the buildings in situ and compare it to the existing plans and information. With this information they will describe the necessary restauration measures We want to use this chance to develop a concept for the further use of the whole ensemble of the Fortified Church in cooperation with our fantastic partners HOG (the Saxons Hometown community) and the Fortified Churches Foundation (Stiftung Kirchenburgen). Along with the evaluation of the construction and condition of the Fortified Church there will be accompanying workshops about restauration techniques led by Sebastian Bethge from the Fortified Churches Foundation. An additional workshop dealing with the topic of the landscape of and around the Fortified Churches will be organized and carried out by us. It is also planned to organize a village festivity where inhabitants of Movile, the Saxons and we can come together and celebrate the joint work. This might hopefully bring us closer towards one of our main aims: to build up a group of people consisting of inhabitants, Saxons and us, who will all together take care of the Fortified Church in Movile in the long-term. Winter Meeting In the beginning of December we met for our yearly Winter Meeting in Freising. Apart from the necessary formalities for the German Association Churchfortress e.V. we discussed last year’s developments and activities and possible plans for the upcoming year in several workshop groups. Against the background of the Project of the American Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) we had two working groups dealing with our involvement in the project. One of them was focusing on the input to the usage concept for the Fortified Church Ensemble and the other one was collecting ideas for the landscape workshop to be organized by us in autumn. Other workshops dealt with future restoration works on the teacher’s house and the concept development of its further use, financing and funding concepts for our further project development and how the inhabitants and other local people can be involved in our activities more and more with great respect for their demands. The outcomes of these working groups led to the setting up of our activites schedule for 2017. See below for more details. Travelling Exhibition about the Landscape of Fortified Churches in Transylvania The Fortified Churches Foundation in cooperation with the Technical University Berlin and the German Cultural Forum for Central and Eastern Europe has produced a travelling exhibition titled “The Transylvanian Landscape of Fortified Churches. A European Cultural Heritage” and managed by monument conservator Arne Franke. The exhibition informs about the Transylvanian fortified churches and the surrounding cultural landscape as a common European cultural heritage, showing the history, the current situation, perspectives for the future preservation and relevant projects and players. It will be displayed in Romania, Germany and other European countries over several years and thereby is a great chance to increase the international sensitivity for the protection of the unique landscape of Transilvania. We have been invited by the Fortified Churches Foundation to attend the opening of the exhibition in the Romanian Embassy in Berlin. It was a very nice opportunity to meet again with old friends as well as meeting a lot of new and interesting people engaged in the Fortified Churches in Transylvania. It was a great success to discover, that our Churchfortress project is even included with a photo and a small text on one of the exhibition posters as an example of engagement for the Fortified Churches. Donations During the last year we received donations from quite a lot of people, some of which have already been to Movile and know about the fascinating beauty of the landscape and the Fortified Churches as well as others, who just seem to like the idea of our project and want to support our work. We want to thank all of the noble donors very much for their support! Without your help our work will not be possible the way it is going right now! At the same time of course we would like to encourage anybody who would like to support us to do so, either by donating money to our account, providing us with necessary tools and materials or contribute with your own hands power on site! Outlook for the upcoming year Last but not least we would like to give you an impression of the manifold activities we are planning for 2017. For most of them the dates are not definitely set yet, however we can already announce a rough period of time. As always, the principle applies: if you would like to be involved in any of the activities, be part of it and help, please contact us in order to let us know so we are able to organise an unforgettable stay for you! During a week around Easter we are planning to create a bridge over the ditch in front of the Teacher’s House. This will allow us to get direct access to our courtyard and make the transport of building materials or removal of rubble a lot easier. At the same time we are planning to hang up an information box where we can show some information to the inhabitants and visitors even if we are currently not on site. Starting as of spring with the beginning of the vegetation period and the growth and flowering we want to start to collect the plants around Movile to create a herbarium. In this way we can document the diversity of the nature around Movile and the hundred hills and show them to interested people at any time. By the end of May the exchange with the architecture students and the Hometown Community (HOG) about the future use concept for the Fortified Church Ensemble inside the project of the American Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) should be finalized. During the summer months we are planning to constantly be represented in Movile with representatives of our group. In July you could help us with first restoration works of the interior of our future headquarter, i.e. restoring windows and doors, the yard pavement etc. The beginning of August could be a good time for the village festivity, which is the cultural part of the project of the AFCP (see above). At the same time there will be a big ethnic Saxon Meeting in Sibiu. We also want to use this intensive time to collect as much of the local knowledge such as old stories, pictures, recipies, craftsmenship and much more as we can. In September we are currently planning to organize the landscape workshop inside the AFCP-project (see above) as well as another construction site to finish the roof of the Teacher’s House. Over the whole year we are also again planning to host several external groups for visiting in Movile. The variety is great, from teenagers who want to help in small construction projects such as toilets and showers for the Teacher’s House, students who examine the landscape of the Hartibaciu Valley up to Yoga Fans who want to enjoy the beauty of the landscape of the hundred hills.