Alma Vii is a special place

It is one of the few villages founded by the Saxons many hundreds of years ago and that today has an active population and a well-preserved cultural and natural heritage. The MET Foundation has been making its presence felt in the village since 2008, when nine wooden bridges were repaired in partnership with the town hall and local craftsmen.

In the following years, the facades of several private houses were renovated, the village dispensary was consolidated, repaired and equipped, as well as the shop in the village. Also during this period, MET organized vocational training courses and offered advice to residents who wanted to develop small businesses.

In April 2015, MET and its partner, the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, started the Alma Vii Traditional Culture Interpretation Center project – Restoration and refurbishment of the fortified enclosure.

The project, worth 3,917,542 lei, was financed by an EEA grant and co-financed by MET and the Horizon Foundation. It was initiated following studies and as a continuation of multiple meetings and discussions with members of the Alma Vii community. During the dialogue with the community, it was highlighted the value that the inhabitants place on the fortified church of the village. Built in the 14th century and then extended 200 years later, the fortified enclosure underwent extensive restoration work within this project. The restoration focused especially on the towers and the fortification wall, but also on the arrangement of the interior space of the fortified enclosure and its transformation into a local cultural centre that will host special events and community celebrations.

Upon completion of the restoration works, another important phase of the project began, namely the harmonious integration of the monument into the life of the community. In the rehabilitated spaces of the fortified precinct, with the help of objects donated by community members, exhibitions were arranged that highlight the local multi-ethnic culture. Also here will be presented and can be bought by visitors the handicrafts and traditional culinary delicacies made by community members. The project also had an important component of medieval archaeology built, so the renovations and research inside the fortified enclosure were done with great care. All research and discoveries have been carefully documented, with the support of a team of Romanian and Norwegian archaeologists.

Because one of the objectives was to generate sustainable economic development and strengthen a community that would become prosperous after the project, regular meetings were held with representatives of the nearly 400 people living in the village today. The aim was to increase the feeling of social cohesion and to motivate the inhabitants to work together to improve the standard of living in the community, while maintaining their traditional lifestyle.

In order to boost local tourism, MET has conducted tourism training and English language learning courses for Alma Vii residents. Even before the completion of the works at the fortified precinct, the Foundation began to promote the architectural and cultural heritage of the village of Alma Vii on specialized sites and within the network of tourism partners. The village was also promoted as a cultural tourism destination with the help of 10 short films and a feature-length documentary made during the project.

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