Newsletter XVIII

Dear Lords und Ladies,

today is the best day of your week, because you receive another legendary newsletter about the wonderful Churchfortress Castle Project in Transylvania. Much has happened since the last newsletter in the summer of 2018: people came together and split up, historic and new building materials changed their place, local products were brought to world, unusual ideas took shape and enthusiasm grew in our heads. Of course we do not want to hide all of that!

Midsummer started with the big Saxon meeting in Movile. Like every second year, many of the former villagers came back to their old homeland in August, remembering the past as well as discussing ideas for the future. Impressions in the form of pictures and videos can be found on the homepage of our outstanding project partner HOG Hundertbüchelns.

Immediately after this summer highlight, a deeply motivated group of Friends of Movile arrived to continue where they left off in July. This crowd of happy people was led by the Munich landscape architecture student Paula, our first intern in the association, who wanted to support us for two months in all fields of our association work. And what should we say? We were more than lucky with her! Many thanks to you, dear Paula, you have been a great help to us and have enriched our project in a wonderful way with your kind and lovable way. We look forward to seeing you soon at our little castle in Movile again and wish you all the best for your further journey. It will be really difficult for us to find such a wonderful person for a castle internship next year.

Paula’s first mission took place immediately after her arrival in the support of the participants during our international workshop “Minds on Landscapes”. With this event we held for the first time a completely independent workshop for students from both countries, Germany and Romania. Thanks to the organizing team of both, German and Romanian-speaking members of the association and the highly competent support of our friends of linescapes we managed to work for five days on the theme of village and cultural landscape development in and around our castle in an academic way – a great success for our NGO! The results of this workshop enriched by input from different disciplines such as spatial planning, freehand drawing, ecology, architecture and monument protection will be published shortly as a brochure on our homepage. We would like to build on this work in the coming years and align our further projects with the new knowledge. A warm “thank you” to all organizers and participants for your willingness and motivation to make this weekend a lasting event. And for those who unfortunately could not participate: We want to repeat this success again and pass our growing knowledge to interested people in the next years. Stay tuned!

Beside the academic work of landscaping, the MoL-Workshop was also part of another aim of Churchfortress Project: We strongly believe in the positive aspects of international and interdisciplinary exchange and see the need of interaction of cultures in the interethnic landscape of Transilvania in order to create a solid, sustainable and harmonious way of landscape development. So we were very pleased that we could integrate another thread into the already very dense program of our Workshop and therefore invited a group of Romanian architecture students from Timişoara and Iaşi under the guidance of our friend Eugen Vaida from Alzen / Alţina and her professor Daniel Tellman from the Faculty of Architecture in Timişoara. A special joy of this great visit was the mutual professional enrichment and the exchange of ideas at the connection point between spatial planning, ecology and architecture. We cannot wait to start another joint project in our area!

And since all the good things are known to be three, we were able to welcome the third group of students of the year to Churchfortress Castle right after the departure of our MoL workshop participants. Caught in the delicious scent of a freshly prepared goulash with locally produced lamb meat over the crackling fire in the Garden of the Parish house we presented our association work in Movile to our guests of the Baufachschule Munich under the guidance of their professor Bernd Drumm. Despite many possible distractions and supported by a landscape planning focused excursion into the magic hills, the talks soon turned only to the questions of possible cooperation of restoration and free space planning. We were particularly pleased by the common perception that landscape features such as visual axes and old landmarks such as trees should definitely be taken into account during restoration works. Thank you very much for your visit, dear Münchner, and a happy “HabedieEhre” to the south of Germany!

After such a large number of guests and countless professional discussions in the Parish house, we decided to do something “tangible”: It was time for the already notorious Churchfortress Marigold (calendula) creme. We collected the orange flowers of Calendula officinalis in early summer in our garden in front of the Parish house and put them in organic produced olive oil. After about 8 weeks, the curative plant ingredients were transferred to the oil and together with the local products beeswax and honey as well as fragrance oils and a tiny pinch of stardust we served more than 20 jars of this first Churchfortress creme. We could not believe it ourselves, but only ten days later later, all jars had moved for a little donation in the pockets of our guests and were already on the way in all cardinal directions. It will probably be unavoidable that our calendula bed will be a bit bigger next year …

But not only fragrant healing creams were made, also applesauce and jam from the fruits of the parish garden as well as many glasses of Zacusc [endif]–>was cooked to preserve the extraordinary taste of the year 2018. If you ever long for this special summer, visit us again in Movile and let us seduce you!

And since we are already at the fruit tree topic, we have just begun to determine and map the more than a hundred apple, pear, plum, apricot and walnut trees of the parish garden with an astonishing mixture of old varieties. Equipped with this cadastre, we can devote ourselves next year to the professional and targeted care of our beautiful historic parish garden.

And also the next project from the category of local products from the hundred hills should not be hided: The serving of “Hundred beers” brewed in July at the Transylvanian Brunch in Trappold / Apold. Actually, it is enough to mention that we were completely sold out hours before the end of the brunch, which was impressively organized by our friends Ania and Seba. Along with the empty bottles, even the first requests for another charge of our local craftbeer in 2019 came back to the bar. Hmmm. Do not you already have that delicious malty scent on your nose …?

After the manufacture and distribution of our local products, our attention has once again turned to the construction and building aspect of our colourful joint project. Astonished by the great handicraft, we picked up the new handmade wooden windows for our teacher’s house from a professional craftsman in the nearby Schäßburg. With joint efforts and the help of more friends of Movile, we managed within a few days to expand and restore the old windowsills of our future headquarters and rebuild them together with the new but traditionally made windows and frames. What do you think, don’t they look really pretty? We thank all helpers and donors for your support and hope to be able to invite you soon in the old teacher’s house of the village for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

Another insider tip on this occasion: Do not miss out going up to the mighty bell tower of our castle the next time you visit Movile. After recent restoration work on the formerly adventurous inner stairs and mezzanine floors, the way to the most beautiful view far and wide will be a lot easier and, of course, safer next year.

Despite so much work for the village of Movile, we still found time to look beyond the village borders and sent a small Churchfortress delegation to Holzmengen / Hosman in order to participate at the workshop “Balance Brings Beauty: Strategies for a Sustainable Southern Transylvania” organised by the Leuphana University from Lüneburg. Thank you for your invitation and the opportunity to contribute to the landscape development of Southern Transilvania.

As you can see, the activities of our little NGO are increasing year by year, and our Churchfortress project is captivating more and more people. At our annual general winter meeting at the upcoming weekend in Berlin, we expect more than 20 active members of our association and will review the quite remarkable events of this year. In order to be able to expand on the many successes and continue to work together on a fair sustainable future for all people in Movile and the Harbach Valley, we sincerely ask for your financial and active help in the New Year.

Thank you for your support and a nice weekend to all the Lords and Ladies of Churchfortress Castle!

The friends of Movile / Hundertbücheln