Culture

€4.5 million grant for renovation of Szekler-attacked fortress

3 months ago

The local authority of Székelyudvarhely/Odorheiu Secuiesc has signed a contract worth €4.5 million in funding for the complete renovation of the Székelytámadt (Szekler-attacked) fortress, reports UH.ro. Alongside preserving the fortress, the renovation works will also result in the repurposing of the building, which it will serve as an integrated cultural and touristic center.

Székelyudvarhely/Odorheiu Secuiesc city mayor Árpád Gálfi has called the moment “historic,” and said the “dream has become a task,” after praising the team’s efforts to make this happen. He outlined the problems encountered during the lengthy preparation phase, although some questions are still to be answered.

There are relatively few fortifications in Szeklerland, as the Szeklers were historically opposed to them, as they saw any castle or fortification as a seat of oppression. Not even the 13th century Tatar invasions changed their mind, mostly opting to fortify their churches instead. Point in case: the Székelytámadt and Székelybánja fortresses were built by King John Sigismund after defeating a Szekler uprising in 1562, in order to keep the rebellious mountain folk in check. Their names (meaning “Szekler-attacked” and “Szekler regrets”) were a direct mockery at their address.

Vice-mayor Árpád Orbán called the €4.5 million grant a milestone in the city’s history, so the local authorities can finally make this fortress “shine in its former glory.” According to the plan, the Hajdú bastion will serve as a 3+1–floor visitor center, alongside a cultural-touristic space with a conference room and view point.

The plan also includes a summer stage placed close to the main entrance of the Fóris bastion, so the local authorities have partnered with the Udvarhely-based Sándor Tomcsa theatre company and envision a space filled with cultural programs such as outdoor theatre plays and puppet shows.

The grant application submitted to the ADR Center, the authority managing regional grants, requires the city local government to make a 2% contribution alongside the 21 million RON funding, which accounts for roughly 400,000 RON (about €84,000). The renovation works are scheduled to start in the spring of 2020 and be completed by December of 2022.

Title image: Press conference at the Szekler-attacked fort. Image credit: www.uh.ro