Monumenteuitate.org is a vast and dynamic database that is continuously furthering its development. It is also platform which wishes to promote the residences of the nobility in rural Romania. The site features both existing and lost ensembles. The online platform wishes to be as scientifically accurate as possible, and also to encompass information that is accessible for both the specialized and the general public.
Every ensemble included in the project has a web page with information about its location, history and current status, along with photographic references.
Although we have tried to mark each residence location as accurately as possible, in some cases the exact coordinates could not be provided, due to either the obscurity of the monument, or the map’s problematic resolution. In such situations, the map marks the settlement’s centre, instead of the residence itself. Identifying the ensembles that are open for visitors was also a challenge. Since most of them are not open for tourist visits – some have been abandoned, others are in a state of ruin, or house institutions that do not allow public access (psychiatry hospitals, personal residences, placement centers etc.) – we decided to label them as “accessible” instead of open for tourists. If you would like to visit any of these nobility ensembles, we suggest you verify the monument’s web page for its current function and property status and check with the person listed as contact first.
Between 2008 and 2011 our photographic archive was made up of images brought in by students from the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning. Subsequently, starting with 2012 and up until now, Monumente Uitate has been carried forward, completed and developed by members of the ARCHÉ Association and supported by numerous friends and collaborators. As the project continues, the site aims to constantly add new photographs and relevant information. If you would like to contribute to the development of the archive and you have any materials that might help us improve the existing platform, we welcome you to contact us and join the Monumente Uitate project.
On the current Romanian territory, we can still see around 1000 rural residences of the local elites, dating back to the 16th century up until the first half of the 20th century. Besides these, the Monumente Uitate project has identified numerous other lost residences whose memory can still be found in archive images and historical records.
The rural residences of the nobility in Romania constitute a special component of the national architectural heritage, one that is little known and insufficiently exploited. Displaying a variety of architectural styles, both of West European origin and local influences, they are part of the network of nobility ensembles in the Central and East European cultural area, along with other residences of the nobility in Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Serbia, Poland, Ukraine and Moldavia.
The shapes and types of the buildings vary with their location, the owner’s status and resources, the period in which they were constructed, the taste, the habit and cultural climate of the time. One ensemble usually consisted of the residence, annexes (fortifications, kitchen, stables, granary, crypt, greenhouse etc), a garden or a park and the consequent domain. All of these, along with the local settlement and the surrounding territory would come together to form a complex economic, social, symbolic and visual system. After being expropriated in the early phase of the communist regime, the residences of the nobility were vandalized and then reused as headquarters for the CAP (Agricultural Production Cooperatives), hospitals, schools, town halls, orphanages and other public uses. In the years following the Revolution in 1989, the buildings were gradually abandoned, which subsequently led to their decay. Currently, the residences of the nobility in Romania, buildings of considerable historical and architectural value, are still facing a crisis of function, of identity and survival, while their significance to the history of art and architecture is clearly understated. Although a small number of residences have been restored and are open to the public as museums, guest houses or locations for various events, they do not yet have the notoriety that they deserve.
The Monumente Uitate project (initially moNUmenteUITATE) started in 2008, at dr. Prof. Arh Anca Bratuleanu’s initiative. It was originally created for the 3rd year architecture students, so that they could enjoy the experience of researching built heritage in the field, in this case old residences of the nobility in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The reason: the lack of historical information or recent statistics regarding the current status of these monuments.
Between 2008 and 2011, the project built an archive of images and information from field-study material brought in by four generations of volunteering students. During this time, the project brought the residences of the nobility to the attention of the public through a series of exhibits, articles, conferences and events. The first version of the website was launched in April 2011, allowing free public access to the project’s archive.
In 2012 the project coordinators created the ARCHÉ Association, with the purpose of researching, protecting, preserving, and promoting cultural heritage. Today, the Monumente Uitate project is carried on by the ARCHÉ Association, along with education and research institutions who have joined in as partners, such as the “Ion Mincu “ University of Architecture and Urban Planning, the “George Enescu” Art University in Iasi, the Polytechnic University in Timisoara and the Institute of National Heritage.
In 2012 the project obtained financing from the National Cultural Fund Administration for online editorial projects, which helped to enrich the archive with images and information for other 100 residences and allowed us to improve the design and structure of the website.
In 2013, the project intends to continue the research of nobility ensembles in Banat and also to launch the first campaign to document the residences of the nobility in Moldova.
We are grateful to all students and collaborators who helped or will help in the development of the project.