Castle Gardens Along the Maros River, HUN

THE TRANSILVANIAN GARDEN ART

 

Author: Fekete Albert

Responsible editor: Szabó Zsolt

Publisher: Művelődés Műhely

Year of publication: 2007

 

The edition was supported by NKA, Communitas Alapítvány and Ormos Imre Alapítvány.

 

The first step in restoring a historic garden is to survey, document, and preserve existing historic gardens. In Hungary, systematic surveys were carried out for the first time in the 1960s by Károly Örsi and Antal Csorna, creating a list of historic gardens. The list has since been continuously expanded, but it is evident that their recognition as monuments is still lacking.

 

While surveys of historic gardens in Hungary have been conducted multiple times, the assessment of historic gardens in Transylvania owes a debt to Hungarian garden history research. In Transylvania, the most characteristic group of historic gardens, apart from cemeteries, is comprised of castle gardens, which serve as important cultural, historical, as well as landscape-forming and ecologically significant factors. Our current situation compels us to acknowledge that without studying the historic gardens of Transylvania, we are missing their connections to Hungarian garden history.

 

The legal framework for protecting historic gardens as monuments was first introduced in Hungary with the 1997 Act on Monument Protection and later the 2001 Act on Heritage Protection. However, Romania currently lacks specific legislation for the protection of historic gardens.

 

It is regrettable to note that the condition of historic gardens in Transylvania is severe. Reconstruction works have a limited tradition at the regional level. Research, landscape and garden historical studies, and analyses that lay the foundation for the preservation and restoration of the rich and noteworthy historical garden heritage in Transylvania are incomplete, even from dendrological and botanical perspectives.

 

A significant portion of the once valuable plant stock of these gardens is deteriorating, and the number of our historic gardens is decreasing day by day. The causes of this decay primarily lie in the historical, geographical, and cultural characteristics of Transylvania: the lack of support from Romanian state cultural policies makes it difficult (or made it difficult) to finance systematic and thorough research. Additionally, the widely held view that gardens play a subordinate role in terms of style history and spatial composition compared to castles further complicates the situation.

 

Unfortunately, the current state of affairs, where there is no comprehensive overview of the castle gardens that form an important part of Transylvanian cultural heritage, is disheartening and fundamentally questions the possibilities of initiating monument protection efforts. The lack of landscape architecture education in Transylvania has also significantly contributed to this situation.