The National Institute for Heritage (RO) and County Council Mureș (RO) organized on 22-23 October the second stakeholder meeting in the Mureș county, the designated study region within the Innocastle project. The NIH has chosen this region for comparability, however, the results will be applicable to the whole country.
The main objective of the event was to discuss the public policies that address the historic castles, manors and estates in the region, as well as their administration, protection, and promotion.
Prior to the stakeholder meeting, the National Institute for Heritage (RO) conducted field research in the region. The preliminary results show that:
- 61% of the castles, manors, and estates in the region are privately owned
- Out of the researched castles, manors, and estates, 32% are almost collapsing, 14% are currently collapsing, and 6% are in ruins
- Only 21% of the parks are in good condition. Most available funds only target the buildings and not the rest of the estate such as parks.
- Historic estates made up of parks, annexes and agricultural lands are irreversibly fragmented in most cases
- Most conservation funds come from local and private budgets but are mostly insufficient, only 21% of the researched estates having benefited from investments
Around 45 participants attended the event. Some of the represented institutions and organizations were: Mureș, Alba, and Harghita County Councils, Regional Development Agency for Center Region, several municipalities in Mureș County, Romanian Water Management authorities, Heritage specialists, NGO representatives, and private estate owners and managers were also present.
Three special guests from the Province of Gelderland (NL) were invited as well:
- Paul Thissen - representative of the Province of Gelderland, who discussed why the Province of Gelderland finances private estate owners in the region
- Elyze Smeets-Storms - expert in castles, manors and estates from Gelders Genootschap - who discussed a regional approach for this type of heritage
- Jhr. Ir. W. (Willem) de Beaufort, owner of a private estate and former president of the Private Domain Owners in Gelderland - who discussed the perspective of a private owner: the need for a multi-functional approach for estates and the public functions of private estates
“We haven’t managed to integrate cultural heritage enough in the policies of other sectors: tourism, transport, economy, industry, etc. Lately, the European policies addressing cultural heritage have been very focused on this integration, and on a transdisciplinary approach to heritage. We cannot talk nowadays about cultural heritage without referring to a sustainable approach as well, which means not only durable, but also economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. We hope this stakeholder meeting is a step forward.”
- Ștefan Bâlici, General Director of the National Institute for Heritage
Working towards an action plan
After the debate, a meeting with local stakeholders was organized in order to discuss possible ideas for the action plan with regards to the castles and manors on the Mures Valley. Representatives on the National Institute for Heritage, Regional Development Agency of the Center Region, County Council Mures and County Council Alba, attended the meeting.