Six castles in Transylvania, Romania joined the series of events called PIKNIK – Open Castles’ Week, coordinated by the Castle in Transylvania Programme between 24th and 27th May and jointly attracted over 3000 visitors.
“We are very glad that the Castle in Transylvania Coalition joined a European initiative in the European Year of Cultural Heritage with the series of events called PIKNIK – Open Castles’ Week. We believe it is very important that more and more people should learn about the values represented by the castles of Transylvania, here and abroad as well. We would like to express our thanks to the very enthusiastic owners and all the organizations and associations who joined the programme for creating a community experience in these valuable cultural and touristic heritages! The large amount of visitors and their attention shows us that there is need for these type of events, and we would like to continue organizing similar activities” – said Ágnes Balázsi-Pál, coordinator of the Castle in Transylvania Programme.
The Mikes Estate in Zăbala awaited visitors on 26th and 27th May, and attracted over one thousand people during these two days. Alexander Roy-Chowdhury stated that it is very important for the family that the estate should be the center of the local culture and economy, as it was during its golden years. On Saturday, the estate welcomed the families with an early “Childrens’ Day”, while on Sunday, lovers of classical music could attend a violin concerto by Dutch artist Rosanne Philippens. Many visitors brought picnic baskets and spent a day in the shades of the castle garden.
The Kálnoky Castle in Micloșoara also had a two-day programme and welcomed over 700 visitors. The late Renaissance castle, home of the Museum of Transylvanian Life hosted two temporary exhibitions besides of the permanent one, one about Hussars and the other about theatrical costumes. Friendly ponies and colouring cards of castles awaited the children and they could embark on a treasure hunt or learn folk dances in the grass while a community picnic was enjoyed near this exceptional monument, and everyone could be acquainted with the values that define the Kálnoky Foundation.
The garden of the Kemény Castle in Brâncovenești hosted another great picnic with blankets and baskets. About 250 people visited the castle on Saturday, took part in guided tours or roamed the monument on their own. The scene in the middle of the castle was covered by giant colouring books, then hosted a dance show and a violin concerto by the very young artist Tamás Ádám. Two exhibitions opened inside the castle, by artists from Târgu Mureș.
The Kornis Castle in Mănăstirea held activities on 24th May, and the organizers and students from Gherla, Dej and Răscruci filled the garden with games, dances, handmade activities. Approximately 500 people came here on Thursday and listened to concerts, watched dance shows in the shades of the ruins of the „castle with unicorns”. Owner Géher Ferenc took the visitors on two guided tours, telling the story of the castle and about his wishes to establish a youth camp on the grounds. There was also a cooking contest, where teams of students showed their talent and contributed with their dishes to the potluck picnic.
In Gilău the castle garden was filled with fairy tales, giant colouring books, artisanal products and a lot of laughter and joy. The Korzo Association held two guided tours where the visitors could learn the history of the Rákóczi-Bánffy Castle, which will be renovated in the next four years with European funds of over 4 million euros, obtained by the Traditio Transylvanica Foundation.
The Urmánczy Castle in Toplița awaited visitors on 27th May. The castle and the garden were filled with music of the ’20s and ’30s and with more than 500 visitors who could go on guided tours or see the castle on their own. Some had never been there before, others had already made memories there, and on Sunday everyone came together on a picnic. The children were most entertained by a mime show, petting zoo, colouring and treasure hunt.
The Castle in Transylvania Coalition joined the international event series called Private Heritage Week initiated by the European Historic Houses Association from Brussels via organizing the special event PIKNIK – Open Castles Week. The aim of the European initiative is to promote privately managed historic monuments (castles, manors, houses etc.) through opening their doors to the public.