4 years of work and a great team?

Dating from the 15th century, the Apafi mansion, former hunting residence of the Hungarian princely Apafi family, is located in the village of Mălâncrav, Sibiu County. For almost a century, the building was abandoned, reaching the brink of collapse. The Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation acquired the mansion in 2000, from the Evangelical Church, starting its renovation and reconstruction in 2003. The project lasted four years and involved a team of exceptional specialists and craftsmen, locals and foreigners. Architect Jan Hülsemann, together with craftsmen Fritz Klutsch and Ernst Linzing, restored the mansion according to the original 18th-century plan. The inauguration of the Apafi Mansion took place on October 1, 2007. The mansion currently comprises 5 rooms (4 double rooms and a single room), a living room, a library (inspired by the 17th century library of Count Teleki from Târgu Mureș, in the library in the mansion there are books in five foreign languages) and a kitchen, designed to facilitate the use of the mansion as a guest house. Traditional decorations, books and furniture were donated by benefactors and the local community. The mansion is surrounded by elegantly landscaped gardens, which preserve the original atmosphere and appearance of the place. The mansion is open for guided tours and accommodation, with traditional meals provided by the villagers. The mansion frequently hosts cultural and social events such as: seminars, conferences, concerts and traditional local festivities. The reconstruction of the Apafi Mansion in Mălâncrav received the second prize at the Green Apple Awards, in 2009, but also the Europa Nostra award for the rehabilitation of the architectural cultural heritage

APAFI mansion from Mălâncrav

In 2007, the Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation celebrated the winning of the First Prize for Dedicated Service in the service of European Heritage Preservation, offered by Europa Nostra and the European Commission, as proof of the international recognition enjoyed by the Transylvanian architectural heritage. Over the centuries, the Apafi Mansion has survived many turbulent historical periods, thus becoming a symbol of cultural successions and last but not least of the survival of national identity.

Owned by the Hungarian Apafi noble family for 400 years until the 18th century, the mansion was later sold and entered a gradual process of decline. In the 1920s it became the property of the Lutheran Church, but was confiscated by the communist regime in 1947, turned into a cultural home and eventually abandoned. After the fall of the communist regime, it was returned to the Church, which sold it in a state of ruin to the Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation for restoration. For four years, the Foundation made a sustained effort to restore the mansion to its original form, being assisted for this purpose by British, German and Romanian architects and restorers, together with local teams of Saxon, Romanian and Roma craftsmen. All the stone was removed by a team of workers from Mălâncrav from Boului River, the manual brick was produced at Bătanii Mari, as well as the tile, and the lime was burned and kept in a pit dug in the yard of the Mălâncrav orchard. The project was completed by Jan Hülsemann together with other architects. At the beginning, archaeological research was done, the old foundations were discovered and the old plans of the building were brought from the Budapest archive. The carpentry was executed by Mr. Căpățână from Gura Râului, and the construction was done by the craftsmen Fritz Klutsch and Ernst Linzing from Mălâncrav. The heating was installed through the floor and walls, the building having its own central heating, the insulation being made with wool treated with borax. The restoration process was meticulous, carried out to high standards, involving, among others, local artisans for embroidery, curtains, which were woven with local patterns, and furniture for the interior and exterior.

Today, the mansion is part of the Foundation’s guest house network – Experience Transylvania – is a popular location for making feature films – Cristi Puiu winning an important award at the Berlinale, with a film made exclusively here. It is the place where, in autumn, the villagers celebrate the community and the beautiful development of the village.

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