Transylvania Trust

Annual Activity Report for 2022

Following the restrictions and strict health regulations of 2021, starting this year we are returning to the usual, traditional implementation of our programmes and events focused on the restoration of Bánffy Castle, Bonțida, and raising awareness about the importance of heritage preservation.

The current year saw the conclusion of a large-scale restoration project that began in 2019, enabling the structural reinforcement of the main building of Bánffy Castle, Bonțida. For the first time in 70 years, windows were installed on the main building, while on its western, Neo-Gothic façade, the traditional window casements with sandblasted window panes and the stained glass coats of arms of the Bánffy and Bethlen families evoke the castle’s former glory.

This year, we organised a children’s summer camp for the first time, with a focus on exploring the castle’s natural environment. Through the course of the five-day camp titled “Heritage under the Magnifying Glass”, children examined the plant and animal species living in the castle’s park, guided by experts. Through these activities, we aimed to educate young individuals responsibly connected to their built and natural surroundings.

In August, we organised our built heritage conservation trainings, for the 21st consecutive year. During the two-week trainings, participants not only learn traditional building crafts, but also actively contribute to the castle’s restoration. So far, over 3000 individuals from 32 countries worldwide have participated in our camps.

In spring and autumn, similarly to the last years, we organised two open days. During the autumn event, in addition to the usual cultural programmes for children and adults, we inaugurated the Experience Room, created as part of the international ARTECH project, which presents the daily life of an imagined noble family through the combination of archival photographs and short animations.

In October, we started a new academic year within our Professional Training and Development Programme in the Field of Built Heritage Protection and Conservation, organised in collaboration with Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, with 30 enrolled students. The programme focuses on the built heritage conservation within the country and the professional restoration of historic buildings.
This year’s programme also included Heritage Days for Schoolchildren. Through the organised extracurricular interactive activities, the participating children had the opportunity to discover the history of the Bánffy family and of its castle, as well as to explore the world of historical dances. The programme concluded with drawing and crafts activities.

Furthermore, this year saw the launch of a new international cooperation project co-funded by the European Union through the Creative Europe Programme, SOS Heritage, with partners from Italy, Serbia and Austria. The project activities are centred around three specific objectives: 1. Discovering, sharing, and testing good practices of digital content creation and communication related to cultural heritage; 2. Developing a web application that aids in risk assessment and management plan creation regarding cultural heritage; 3. Creating an online course focused on the topic of risks and cultural heritage.

Our ARTECH project, also co-funded by the European Union through the Creative Europe Programme, was concluded in December 2022. As part of the project activities, we organised international artistic creation camps (artistic residencies) in Spain, Albania and Romania, as well as online workshops for the capacity building of cultural managers. From the artworks and artistic installations created during these residencies, we organised a travelling exhibition that visited major European cities, including Madrid, Szeged, Berlin and Strasbourg, where it could be admired by the general public.

Our annual activities were supported by the Bethlen Gábor Fund.