'SAXON' HOUSE RESTORATION
Archita / Arkeden, Transylvania
The 'Saxon' House is an ongoing restoration of the exterior facade, internal rooms and outbuildings.
The village of Archita, Transylvania, was founded in the late 1290s and settled by 'Saxons' who built it into a wealthy agricultural center. Until the 1980s it remained a German-speaking village once populated by rich merchant-farmers but was stripped of wealth during the Communist regime. Most Saxon inhabitants accepted offers of German citizenship and by the 1990s the village was populated by ethnic Romanians (1/2) and Roma (1/2). The post-Communist decades brought little or no economic activity to the village allowing social and physical decline. In recent decades, the Saxon population emigrated to Germany after 700 years of settlement leaving the village with a population of about 650 Romanians and Romas.
In the early 1990s photos show buildings were still well maintained and gardens well tended. However, today decay has set in, roofs are caving in, fields are not well tended, vacant lots are appearing, meaning restoration and preservation of this historical town is more important than ever.
The village - like many others in Transylvania of Saxon origin - is laid out in a tight pattern of stone-walled homes like the 'Saxon' House with long courtyards and large barns. A dominant feature common to the region is the fortified church at the village center. First built in the 1300s and 1400s, they served to protect inhabitants against invading armies.