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Short Course in Restoration Crafts: Transylvania, Romania

    Event Information

Transylvania, Romania: 6-12 September 2015

INTBAU Scandinavia invites craftsmen, architecture students, and others with a relevant professional background to apply for participation in a short course in restoration crafts for heritage buildings, to be held from 6-12 September 2015 at Kalnoky Castle, a hunting manor built in the 1500s near the village of Miclosoara  in Transylvania, Romania.

The short course is linked to the ongoing restoration of Kalnoky Castle, aimed at creating a Museum of Transylvanian Life. The restoration project is implemented by the Kálnoky Foundation, in partnership with INTBAU Scandinavia.

The restoration project is financed by a Norwegian EEA grant and the Romanian government. Short course participants will only have to pay for their flight to Romania. Teaching, accommodation, and meals are financed by the project.

INTBAU Scandinavia is the Norwegian partner in the project, with organisation of the restoration crafts short course as one of our tasks.

The course is arranged in parallel with ongoing restoration works, with the opportunity to follow the work within different disciplines, gaining hands-on experience.

There will  also be excursions to study villages, cultural heritage, and landscapes in the area.


Participants are only responsible for the cost of their travel to Romania. Teaching, accommodation, and all meals are free.

Accommodation will be basic, in guesthouses in the village.

Individuals who need assistance with booking flights should contact the course organiser.

Arrival: Lufthansa and Austrian connections via Munich or Vienna are recommended,  with arrival in Sibiu in the afternoon 6 September.

Departure: recommended return flights from Sibiu late afternoon 12 September.

Please note that participants should consult the organisers before booking flights.

Course Setting

This course is affiliated with the restoration of the 500-year-old Kalnoky hunting manor, which will become a Museum of Transylvanian Life. It is located near to the village of Miclosoara.

Read more about Kalnoky Castle below and on this website.


The course has places for 10 Romanian and 10 international participants, from different professional backgrounds, both students and practitioners.


All teaching will be in English, by craftsmen, architects and heritage experts.

The chief instructor will be German craftsman Sebastian Bethge, who for several years has led the restoration of the fortified Saxon church in the village of Apold.

Two Norwegian architects with extensive experience in heritage conservation will also participate in the teaching, Arne Sødal and Geir Helland.

Audun Engh of INTBAU Scandinavia will take care of practical arrangements.

Many craft techniques that are necessary for the restoration of Kolnoky Castle will be part of the curriculum. These include:
• Roof construction and roofing
• Outside and inside plastering
• Stone framing around some vindows
• Structural stabilization of a masonry covered terrace
• Lime paint outside and inside
• Restoration and plaster-molding of inside window niches
• Restoration of painted roof and other painted surfaces
• New traditional tile ovens
• Reconstruction of old park with lake

Contact and Applications for Participation

To apply for participation in the course, please contact:
Audun Engh, INTBAU Scandinavia
Tel: +47- 926 22 626.

For further information on the educational content of the course, please contact:
Arne Sødal
Office tel: +47-22200926
Mobile tel: +47- 92298996


Day 1: Sunday, 06/09:

Flights to Sibiu, transfer to  Miclosoara, accommodation, dinner, information about the course.
Day 2: Monday, 07/09:

Roof constuction and roofing.

Teacher: Sebastian Bethge
Day 3: Tuesday, 09/08:

Outside and inside plastering

Teacher: Sebastian Bethge, with contributions from Arne Sødal and Geir Helland
Day 4: Wednesday, 09/09:

Painted surfaces, inside and outside

Teacher: Geir Helland
Day 5: Thursday, 9/10:

Plaster restoration and plaster molding

Teacher: Sebastian Bethge, with input from restoration project manager
Day 6: Friday, 9/11:

Several themes: Reconstruction of park. Structural consolidation of walls. Lecture
and discussion on the relationship between architecture and crafts. Summary of the
short course.

Teachers: Sebastian Bethge, Arne Sødal and Geir Helland.
Day 7: Saturday, 9/12:

Morning tour by bus to the ongoing restoration works at the fortified Saxon church of
Apold, led by Sebastian Bethke.

Bus to Sibiu airport for afternoon departure.

Property and area where Short Course is held

Transylvanian history, culture, nature and architecture:

12-minute video about the Kalnoky estate, and the guest house in Zalanpatak, owned by HRH The Prince of Wales. An interview with HRH The Prince of Wales about the importance of the Transylvanian cultural heritage and ecology starts at 7 min. 20 sec.

About Transylvania in general:

Székelys, the Hungarian-speaking ethnic group in Transylvania

The Saxons in Transylvania:

The Kalnoky Foundation

The Kálnoky Foundation supports Transylvania’s sustainable development by preserving the traditional ties of local communities with their cultural and natural heritage. It combines the conservation of built heritage and traditional landscapes with community based projects to increase the sources of livelihood and protect cultural identity.

It focuses on a region in Eastern Transylvania populated by a majority of Székelys, a Hungarian-speaking ethnic group. The Székelys were at one time considered to be the finest warriors of medieval Transylvania, defending Europe’s border against numerous invasions from the East. The Székelys live in the forested valleys and hills of the Eastern Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania, corresponding to the present day Harghita, Covasna and parts of Mureș counties in Romania.

The Foundation’s activities focus on the well-being of rural communities by:
• Restoring built heritage
• Preserving natural heritage
• Promoting cultural activities
• Sourcing community livelihood
• Developing social entrepreneurship
• Integrating disadvantaged communities

The Museum of Transylvanian Life

The project «Heritage initiative – the Museum of Transylvanian Life» takes place between January 2015 and April 2016. It is financed by the EEA Grants and the Government of Romania, in the framework of the PA16/RO12 Conservation and revitalisation of the natural and cultural heritage Programme.

The project is implemented by the Kálnoky Foundation, in partnership with INTBAU Scandinavia.

The project shall generate a viable alternative to the local cultural and touristic offer, and it is complementary to local sustainable development strategies, with direct benefits in the field of improving life conditions in the area.

The project «Heritage initiative – the Museum of Transylvanian Life» will contribute to the sustainable development of the Centru region through the protection and the valorisation of the multi-ethnic cultural heritage in Covasna county. For achieving this, the following tactical targets are set:
• Restoration and conservation of Kálnoky Castle in Micloșoara, Covasna county
• Increase of cultural offer in the area, by establishing the Museum of Transylvanian Life
• Increase the quality of life in Baraolt microregion through consolidation and diversification of local economy through increase of professional capacity of the inhabitants
• Improvement of Roma population in the area by involving Roma population representatives in the rehabilitation of Kálnoky castle and development of new restoration skills.
Not the last, the project offers a good opportunity for the improvement of bilateral relations between Romania and Norway through exchange of experience and good practice promotion activities.

The History of Kalnoky Castle
Miklósvár is the oldest documented settlement of Szeklerland. Its castle was first mentioned in 1211 AD as border fortress between the territory donated to the Knights of the Teutonic Order and the rest of the Kingdom of Hungary. Today’s castle was started  in the 1500s as a hunting manor for the family and still contains many Renaissance elements, like painted wall decorations. It was abandoned the last fifty years and is currently under restoration.

The Kálnoky’s belong to the oldest magnates of Transylvania. Their ancestor Akadás was the first chieftain of a Szekler tribe to appear in history. His son Vincent was mentioned as Szekler chief and “Comes” in 1252 AD. Members of the family led the Szeklers in the defence of Transylvania for centuries, constantly having to fight against intruding Mongols, Turks and Tartars. Bálint Kálnoki founded the comital branch of the family in the 1500s and was ancestor to Queen Mary (consort of King George Vth). Sámuel Kálnoky became the first chancellor of Transylvania in Vienna and received the rank of count by the Hapsburgs (1697 full title: count Kálnoky baron of Kőröspatak). His son Antal set up the first Transylvanian regiment of hussars which remained in service until the end of World War I. He was the last to successfully apply war tactics inherited by the ancient Szekler riding tribes of the steppes, during the 7-year-war (1757). The elder branch of the family started a career at the imperial court and married mostly members of western European families. Gustav Kálnoky was prime minister of Austria-Hungary for 14 years under emperor Franz Joseph Ist, acting also as counterpart to Germany’s prince Bismarck. Hugo Leopold was celebrated best rider of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in the late 19th century. He married countess Marie Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein, a niece of Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert. In recent generations Kálnoky daughters married into the Houses of Hapsburg and Hohenzollern, and into the reigning family of Liechtenstein. Today, the 25th generation carries on the family where it originated from: in Transylvania.