Even the organizers were surprised by the turnout at Castle Days, celebrated this weekend at Kemény Castle in Marosvécs (Brâncoveneşti, Wetsch). “We intend to transform the castle again into the cultural hub on the upper side of the Maros River, as it once was,” organizer Andrea Tóth told the Székelyhon.ro news portal.
“We have to make the public aware of the castle again so that more and more people visit and come back here. People should know that Kemény Castle is still standing; it can be visited and hosts several artistic and cultural events,” emphasized Tóth. As she noted, many more people were interested in the programs this weekend than they had expected.
“All in all, the Marosvécs Castle Days turned out to be a successful, good-spirited series of events. It exceeded all of our expectations, including how the guests followed all the precautionary measures dictated by the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. It is obvious that people are longing in these times for such cultural experiences,” the organizer added.
As Tóth pointed out, one of the main events of the Castle Days was the round-table talk regarding the management of cultural heritage and the rehabilitation of monuments. A Transylvanian castle and manor owner, an art historian, and a consultant on European Union tenders participated in the discussion. They talked about how they see the future of Transylvania’s built heritage and how historical monuments should be restored and given proper functions so that they can become part of the community’s life again.
The two-day program nicely combined discussions about history, heritage and Transylvanian-Hungarian aristocratic families with some entertainment: a Renaissance dance presentation and class held by the Golden Griff Order troupe from Székelyudvarhely, plus a Transylvanian folk dance meeting, which celebrated its sixth edition this year in the inner courtyard of the castle.
The two-story Kemény Castle with a quadrilateral floor plan and four bastions has been reconstructed several times during its history, gaining its present-day appearance at the end of the 19th century. The estate has had several owners since medieval times, but for the past three centuries, the imposing castle and surrounding land have been the property of a well-known Transylvanian aristocratic family, the Kemény’s, except for during the decades of communism. The Kemény family inherited the Marosvécs castle and surrounding five villages from Transylvanian Prince György Rákóczi II in 1660.
The last rightful owner of the castle was Baron János Kemény, who – a writer himself – founded the Erdélyi Helikon, an effervescent society of Transylvanian authors. Between 1926 and 1944, Kemény Castle and its gardens served as a meeting place for the most prominent thinkers of the Transylvanian literary world. The communist state confiscated Baron Kemény’s properties in 1948. When it became possible, his descendants asked for restitution and were given back the ownership rights of the castle in 2014. The heir of János Kemény, Géza Nagy Kemény, founded the Auguszta Kemény Cultural Association in 2013 to organize cultural activities that can contribute to the castle’s maintenance.
The association bears the name of the current owner’s late grandmother Auguszta Kemény, of Greek and Scottish parents.
Title image: The plan for the Kemény Castle is to transform it into the cultural hub it was before Communism