Part of the cultural heritage, the traditional crafts have always defined both the practical skill and the artistic soul of the community.
Transylvania is the home of a very interesting mix of crafts, bringing together the traditions of at least four ethnicities: Romanian, Saxon, Hungarian and Roma. The crafts, created and defined throughout centuries, have very distinctive languages, depending on the ethnic group they come from.
In the Transylvanian villages, you can observe these distinctions in the ornaments and decorative patterns of the houses and churches, and also in the practice of the local craftsmen.
In medieval times, the craft defined economic status. There were villages known in entire region for a specific skill, making the ones practicing it the VIPs of the time.
In the Whole Village project, one of the MET priorities is the preservation and promotion of the traditional crafts. These activities support the local craftsmen, so their skill survives and is passed on to future generations.
We focus on two major categories: practical skills and artisan craft.
For the practical part, we created training classes for the traditional professions (carpentry, joinery, masonry and smith’s work) and helped in opening up craft workshops.
These professionals that we’re trained are involved in the process of preserving the traditional village. When a local wants to renovate his/her house, we recommend traditional materials, highly superior to the industrial ones and the only option if we want to maintain the authentic look of the Transylvanian village.
We support and promote all the artisan products made locally; we encourage the opening of small souvenir shops where tourists can by authentic hand-made objects that really represent the spirit of this community. The textile work of the Viscri women, the weaving of the Mălâncrav artisans or the leather goods of Sighișoara-based currier are already famous.
The workshops quickly become tourist attractions for the people visiting the area, especially if they’re from abroad. One of our most successful projects for the support of local craftsman was the opening of the leather shop inside the Furriers’ Tower. Here Ioan Nistor, the leather master, demonstrates how you can use passion and skill to turn a simple piece of leather into a beautifully crafted object.