Transylvania Trust

Tourist map / Places of interest

1. The Upper Market Row
The settlement was considerably rebuilt following the devastation of the fire in 1870. The whitewashed buildings richly decorated with classical motives form the most unspoiled vernacular site of the region. The most picturesque dwellings of this group in Rimetea are situated on a hillside to the north of the square, on the so-called Upper Market Row. These houses formerly belonged to the iron traders and foundry owners in the 19th century. The character of these houses is determined by the high proportion due to the tall cellar and first floor, by the half hipped roof and the richly decorated wrought iron products. The street cellar doors served the storage and the trade of iron.

2. The Lower Market Row
On the valley-side of the square is Lower Market Row. Here, the blacksmiths’ houses can be found. These were constructed in a more humble fashion but in the same spirit as the properties situated higher up. These dwellings are also rich in wrought-iron features.

3. The Ethnographical Museum
The only two storied building of the Lower Market Row is the one of the Local Administration built in 1889 when the settlement was declared a town. Here is the Ethnographic Museum established in 1952 by Pál Györbíró, where objects related to iron mining, manufacture, models of the furnaces, hammers and fire places, painted local furniture and colorful local dresses can be seen.

4. The Unitarian Church
The Unitarian Church was built in the geometric center of the historic town and the main square. The present building was built on the site of a medieval church between 1780 and 1804, however its oldest part is the tower enlarged in 1670. The surrounding stone walls of the church were as well repaired in 1700.

5. The school
The school is located in the main square north of the church. It was established in 1595, after the conversion of the local population to the Unitarian Religion. The present buildings of the school were built in 1881 and enlarged in 1945. During the centuries the school had a wider regional importance, there existed a scholarship system offered by the locals which made it possible to educate here students who arrived from the Secklerland. One of the important teachers of the school in the 19th century was Pál Sebes who later became an MP of the Hungarian Parliament who militated for the modernization of teaching methods. Opposite to the school there is the former residency of the school headmaster, also built in the 19th century.

6. The Fire Station
Following the large fire in 1870, the voluntary fireman’s association was established in 1882 in Rimetea. In the little building attached to the walls of the church there can be seen the old equipment that was sent as a gift of the city of Budapest following a fund raising initiated by Mór Jókai, the most famous Hungarian novel writer of the time, who dedicated a successful novel to Rimetea. The old equipment has an important cultural value, and is still functional. The equipment has been used efficiently even in recent decades.

7. The Large Pool
The area of the village is rich in abundant wells and small streams as a result of the lime stone composition of the surrounding mountains. In the village the water is often collected in pools and troughs. Some of these pools are located in public areas, others are in private gardens. The Large Pool is located in the center of the Market, it is used to provide water for the animals, and women often wash here rugs and carpets. It served well during the outbreak of fire, and it is also used locally as a source of drinking water. In the 19th century the pool was constructed from timber and it was half under ground level, however in 1913 the predecessor of the present pool was reconstructed from concrete.

8. Urban houses
The South Western corner of the Main square, the larger U and L shaped houses, and the rich eclectic ornaments are good examples of the urban development of Rimetea from the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries. In this period the settlement was called a town and was the administrative center of its larger environment. In this period there functioned here a post office, a bank, there was an inn, a pastry shop, a veterinarian pharmacy, several shops and pubs. There was a street lighting and a draining system under the stone pavement of the streets. Unfortunately this fast development was halted due to the finish of the mining activities. Due to the bad economy and negative perspectives, the number of the inhabitants decreased from 2000 to just one third of this in one century.

9. The Orthodox Church
The Orthodox church of the village was built in 1933 on the Southern part of the Main Square. The church was restored in the first years of the new Millenium. During World War II in the little garden of the church Russian soldiers were buried.

10. The passage
Between plots no. 288 and 289 begins the narrow passage paved with stone blocks which connects the Main Square with the New Street. It can be considered a specific element of the old street structure.

11. Zsakó-Ekárt house (no. 19)
Building no. 19 is connected to the one of the most representative figures of Rimetea, István Zsakó, who was the mayor, and at the same time, the church and military leader of the settlement during the 1848 revolution. His first stone house built in 1836 together with some constructions of the Bosla family (no. 295) undoubtedly set a precedent for the other 19th century white plastered stone buildings. The carved stone details, the elaborated inscriptions, the arched rooms, the wrought iron details and the portico are good evidence of the life conditions of the top families in the 19th century. Together with building no. 18, owned by the same family, where Rimetea’s first Post Office was established, both buildings were nationalized and heavily misused by the local co-operative. The family finally managed to recover and to properly restore the two ruined buildings.

12. The snake form door handle (no. 12)
On the street gate of the plot no. 12, visitors can see the most interesting wrought iron door handles of the settlement. The handle features a snake with curvy tail and open mouth, a fantasy figure of the mining legends of the villagers. Following the careful restoration of the gate and the lock it became evident that the red crest of the snake is made of copper added to the iron handle.

13. The cemetery
Rimetea’s cemetery was presumably established at the beginning of the 18th century as its oldest gravestone was laid in 1705. The name of the cemetery, ‘Birgej’, derives from the German term Berg, meaning hill. The gravestones record the development of folk art in the village. Next to the carved details and decorated inscriptions special attention should be paid to the different marks found on the gravestones associated with Rimetea’s past trades. However, only few outside visitors could see the real face of the Birgej, hidden in the depths of the hill: a large ensemble of artificial caves of various sizes used as crypts. Every family owns such a cave, where coffins are placed side by side. The cave can be accessed through a flue that is normally covered with earth. Before burials only the flue, known as the ‘pipe’, is unearthed and after the ceremony this feature is covered.

14. The Zsakó-Mikó house (no. 8)
The largest building of the St George Street is István Zsakós second house. Here the larger façade faces the street, just like the houses in towns. The mansion character of the house is assured also by the elegant arched portico on the garden façade. In the second part of the 20th century the house was repeatedly sold and heavily transformed. Finally the last owner restored the original volumes and roof shape of the house.

15. The Little Pool
In one of the little enlargements of the Upper Gorge Street, surrounded by abundant wells there was created the Little Pool, that is surrounded by a few early peasant buildings, among which it is worth mentioning the building no. 195. In the 1990s here was established the first successful tourist pension of Rimetea. Tourism changed the economy of the village. Since then more than 50 pensions are functioning, showing that rural tourism based on the natural and cultural values can be the motor of a sustainable development in Rimetea.

16. The Miners street
The families involved in mining inhabited the highest parts of the settlement. Upper Street starts at the north-western corner of the main square and splits into three directions. One of these routes, Miner’s Street, ascends to the mines and has a stepped frontage, which continues after winding between cottages and fields. Drawersback and New Street are parallel with the longest side of the square and follow the rear contour lines of the plots along Upper Market Row. The 18th century Serf houses, which are unique to Rimetea, can be seen today mostly in this upper part of the settlement. Externally, these log buildings are plastered and lime-washed up to window sill level. Above this height the logs remain exposed. Their window frames were initially painted red, to commemorate a violent raid on the village committed by the landlord in 1703.

17. Serf house built in 1749 (no. 237)
Plot no. 237 situated in Drawersback Street is one of Rimetea’s hidden treasures. From the two dwelling houses that belonged initially to two separate families the rear one is more valuable. On the oak lintel of the door a carved Latin inscription tells us the date of construction: 1749. This is one of the very few buildings in Rimetea that belong to the old type, which before the big fire of 1870 was general in the village, even houses on the Main Square were built like this. The log walls are plastered and whitewashed only halfway, until the level of the windows. Behind the entrance door there is a smoky room, called pitvar, where a baking oven with ears, found also in the neighbouring Colţeşti, was restored. In the two adjacent rooms two tiled fire places were reconstructed on the position of the originals, one with unglazed tiles and one with glazed blue white tiles.

18. Serf house built in 1668 (no. 260)
House no. 260 is considered to be the earliest vernacular dwelling in the Carpathian Basin because a date of 1668 is carved in one of its timber window frames. The building comprises a living room and a kitchen. Traces of fireplaces can be found in both rooms, (a baking oven in the kitchen and a tiled fireplace in the living room). This constituted a base for the reconstruction of the fire places. Immediately below the kitchen there is a small vaulted cellar. The log walls of the house support a timber floor that contains a principal beam dating from 1735. The restoration of the house was possible following an international cooperation and sponsorship between 2002-2011.

19. The private museum of Ida Vígh (no. 174)
At the end of the Gunsmiths Street – obviously named after the former inhabitants – there can be visited a rich private collection. The owner, Ida Vigh is the granddaughter of the last red-boot maker of the village. In the two rooms of the house there can be seen many pieces of local painted furniture, colorful embroidery and a reconstructed room stove made out of glazed green tiles. (At the beginning of the street , at no. 180, there is a second private collection belonging to Anna Gelei, where a large number of interesting old objects are displayed.)

20. The Little Market
A break in the middle of Lower Market Row leads towards the Szekler Rock. This route, known as the Little Gorge, ends in the Little Market after passing a bridge. Once there were forges in this irregular space and in the past the mills were operated by a mill race, the creek’s water. Upper Fortress and Lower Fortress Street both rise from the square, which after a slight bend follows the watercourse. Both the farmers and foundry owners formerly used these streets. The architecture in this part of the settlement is quite mixed. For example, here, we find a large number of early and late peasant houses juxtaposed with Serf and Bourgeois dwellings.

21. The Water Mill
On plot no. 48-50, there is an 18th century mill which is architecturally rare. The stone walled room that served as the miller’s home, the structure and the building around the mill, all date from 1752. The tiled roof and doors are the result of a refurbishment carried out at the beginning of the 20th century. The mill’s structural frame is decorated with a carved Latin inscription and the coat of arms of the Thoroczkay family. These are original. The revolving parts of the mill, the waterwheel and the other wheels were changed at the beginning of the 20th century. The mill was built on the site of an old furnace. This has been substantiated by archaeological finds such as slag and ceramic pipes. A small blacksmith’s workshop is still visible next to the mill structure.