Culture

A Szekler village worthy of a UNESCO World Heritage title

There is a village located in the southeastern corner of historical Transylvania at the foot of the Buzău Mountains that deserves special attention not only because of its picturesque location and natural beauty, but also its unique architectural heritage. Combine that with a Reformed fortified church dating from the fifteenth century and add 38 small nobility mansions, and you get one of the most beautiful places in Transylvania, Bikkfalva/Bicfalau.

The former social structure and its role in the border defense of the region has stood the test of time: this is a place populated by Szeklers doing military service, so in exchange, they got tax exemption and autonomy from the Hungarian king. After taking into account all the heritage of their ancestors, the current leaders of the village have decided to propose that Bikkfalva/Bicfalau be part of UNESCO World Heritage.

According to István Ráduly, the mayor of Uzon (the township administering Bikkfalva), the local government has developed general regularization measures protecting the architectural heritage and settling rules for new buildings and the renovation of old ones. For the past ten years Ráduly and János Kerezsi, a former director of the local school and Réka Várallyay art historian, have joined forces to add Bikkfalva to the World Heritage list.

During the past decade, they have mapped every nobility mansion and house, and now they plan to buy the Simon mansion, with the goal of transforming it into a museum. Local and Háromszék authorities have started negotiations with the Ministry of Culture to initiate the proposal process for the UNESCO list. Since then, the village has been on the Erdélyi Értéktár (Tranylvania’s Valuable Assets) list.

Title image: aerial view of the Bikkfalva/Bicfalău village. Source: YouTube

Author: István Fekete