Our country, in general, and Transylvania in particular are full of historical buildings, which are often listed, of local or national importance, in a state of ruin.
Part of them (castles, fortifications, religious buildings) have been in ruins for hundreds of years, but the object of this paper is another particular group: buildings (especially churches) that have become ruins in the last decades. The fate of the Transylvanian Saxon village churches in the south of Transylvania is internationally known, but the more serious condition of the Transylvanian Saxon heritage in the area of Bistrița is less published.
This lecture reviews briefly the historical processes that have led to the region’s depopulation, presenting the various property types in which the Lutheran churches in the area are currently found. The theoretical and legal issues bring into question both aspects related to property, as well as related to the possibilities of enhancing these places of worship, especially when they are in critical condition. In this respect, we will present the special case of the church in Jelna, where the chance of rescue is outlined by the identification of a copy of Giotto’s Navicella, found on the northern wall of the ruined choir.
The creation of the premises for an international collaboration, the involvement of several NGOs, organisations, and state institutions are ongoing experiments. The technical problems will be presented, revealing the possibility of using reconstructive methods.
Keywords: ruin, Transylvanian Saxon heritage, abandonment, owner, responsibility, international collaboration, Rómer Flóris Programme, emergency intervention