Newsletter XXV

Dear lords and ladies, friends of Hundertbücheln, once again it arrived to your digital home – the latest churchfortress newsletter with the number 25. And once again a lot has happened since you heard the last news from the village of the hundred hills in the heart of Transylvania! As already announced with great anticipation in the last newsletter, a highly motivated group of European Heritage Volunteers arrived to our fortified church at the end of August to help us with the repair of the castle wall. As the name suggests, these are volunteers from all over the world who offer their labor and knowledge to help preserve the cultural heritage. Our preparations started weeks in advance and we organized the necessary material, catering, and other necessary logistics. Two technical experts helped to carry out the work in accordance with the preservation of monuments code of conduct. Accommodation in the Hundertbücheln guesthouse (the former parsonage of the village) was kindly provided free of charge by the HOG Hundertbücheln for this project. The cost of the materials was covered by the Lutheran Church in Sibiu, which is why we can justifiably say that once again we have set up a great cooperation project. Since we wanted to try to get as much local food as possible from the village, we made our daily rounds of the village in advance and inspected the vegetable gardens behind the farm gates, praised the free-range chickens of the neighborhood, petted numerous cows, organized four horse-drawn carts for the obligatory tour through the hills and heated a large wood oven for the home-made bread. Fortunately, our experienced cook Aunt Doina agreed to take over the preparation of traditional Transylvanian specialties on some of the upcoming work days. And, so they arrived, the eleven volunteers from eight different countries. To everyone’s surprise, only women had signed up for this project, and from our experiences in recent years we knew that – contrary to what some feared – this is a good sign for such a restoration project. Also, a good sign was that our two friends Stefan Vaida and Ionut Dobra, known from numerous newsletters, agreed as technical experts to guide the two planned site teams with their experience both in historic preservation and in working with volunteers. After a short night, they started the construction site on the castle wall on Monday morning, which was less than a hundred meters away from their beds. The first job was to clear the collapsed areas overgrown with shrubs and to remove loose stones from the solid parts of the wall. In this way, the two holes grew to twice their size for the time being, but it was necessary to do the job thoroughly. In the days that followed, the volunteers learned how to mix monument-protecting mortar from sand, marsh lime, water and hydraulic lime and how to join it to the natural stones. Soon the two holes shrank noticeably again and the wall took shape layer by layer. To compensate for the hard physical work, we also took the time to get to know the country and its people and to better understand the context in which the monument is embedded. In addition to the obligatory sunset carriage ride to the Büchelfeld, we visited, among other things, a crafts market on the eastern edge of Transylvania, where other ancient craft techniques could be learned under expert guidance. A big thank you goes to our two experts Stef and Ionut, who did not tire of telling interesting stories from their homeland before, during and after the work and contributed significantly to the exuberant mood and the success of the project. The hardworking volunteers said that their stay in Hundertbücheln left a lasting impression and so we are even more pleased that even a film team of the Romanian TVR+ station came to visit to report about the project. As soon as it is published, you can of course watch it on our homepage as well as on our Facebook page and get your own impression of this great project. While the masonry work was coming to an end, our club members were already working on the next project. After our first theater in May was met with great interest among the children and grown-ups of the village, we were asked for a repetition.  We also saw that some children still carried the little heart from the last play with them, which they took good care of, we could not help it. We started preparing for the second play, even though we had not yet collected all the donations for it. Firstly, we had to find a suitable date together with the highly talented theater duo of S’artR, and so it was just at the end of the long Romanian summer vacations: Spectacol pentru Movile! Just as in May, young and old flocked to the large community hall next to the church castle, which the HOG once again made available to us free of charge for this project. Everyone followed the exciting adventures of the fearless knight Ionică (Cavaler fără frică) in awe. To the surprise of many, however, this time the interactive performance continued, as our friends from S’artR still held a craft workshop, where the children created impressive ghosts out of ping-pong balls, shish kebabs, paper cups, wool and crepe paper in all imaginable colors. We are sure that many of them will guard them as they did with the little heart of the prince. And as with the castle wall project, you can get a deeper impression of this project as well! To do so, you merely have to open one door every day on from the first of December… And as if September wasn’t successful enough for our churchfortress project, it didn’t take long for another group of our tireless association members to arrive at the next construction site in Movile in the best autumn weather. After the oak frame had been assembled, the planks sawed to size, everything primed and the appropriate screws found, it was now time to assemble our new yard gate and finally lift it into the hinges. Once again it became clear that despite the greatest care in the preparation and professional expertise, not everything can fit perfectly in such a traditionally handcrafted construction. So, we sawed and planed again until it finally fit and the heavy gate could take its intended place. And how it fit! But what is a gate without a lock and bolt? For this last but crucial step, our friend and timber construction expert from nearby Großschenk / Cincu came to the rescue. We paid a visit to the blacksmith of our village and asked him for advice and help. And so, traditionally, this problem was also quickly solved, so the disparate trio of metal and wood and brick could be brought together to form a perfectly shaped unit. There it is now, after more than a year of construction, gleaming white and blue, our new gateway to the teachers’ house is impressing the bypasses. After this busy start to autumn, there was a little peace and quiet on our building sites and time to prepare for our annual winter meeting and the second edition of the Movile Box, which was launched in 2020. After the great success of the Movile Box last year, this year we were again able to recruit some local producers to gather their most delicious products, spice them up with a Christmas tale from the village, place it on straw and send it around the world as a Christmas gift in an eco-friendly treasure box made of grass paper. This year, all the processed food has already been tested and certified by the Romanian Food Safety Agency. Each Movile box costs 40 € plus 10 € shipping, for more info as well as order requests you can send a mail to The organizers of the project are working to ensure that this first community product meets all the legal requirements for official distribution and so it can pass it into the hands of our association. All proceeds will be used to purchase the products from the producers or for packaging and shipping. If there is any money left over, it will be used exclusively for the further development of the Movile Box or given as a donation to the association. The Movile Box is only available while stocks last! So, we saved the best for last: our legendary churchfortress winter meeting. For our annual meeting, traditionally held in November filled with positive energy, 16 friends of Hundertbücheln from all directions met in the restored parsonage of the Middle Franconian village of Fiegenstall and put their heads together. Together we reviewed the past exciting year and discussed the upcoming projects for the coming year. We also reflected on our association goals and our approaches, welcomed our new association members, as well as, those who had temporarily disappeared, and nurtured our community. Be curious what surprises our little castle project in the magical village of a hundred hills will have in store for the coming year! Of course, we are very happy about any kind of support, no matter if it is a coin, motivating words or a helping hand. Take care, stay healthy and see you next time! Your churchfortress-Crew