Rosia Montana, Romania: An Analysis of its Heritage Conservation from an Architectural and Planning Perspective

Florea, Alexandra | Lozanovska, Mirjana

Ngā Pūtahitanga / Crossings: A Joint Conference of SAHANZ and the Australasian UHPH Group

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Rosia Montana is a village located in the Apuseni Mountains, in the historical region of Transylvania in Romania. Its unique built environment has resulted from a series of contextual factors: the existence and exploitation of gold mines, the political and economic system that allowed private and state exploitation in different historical periods, the steep terrain and the spectacular landscape. From an architectural and planning point of view, the village is a traditional mining village frozen in time at the starting point of the urbanisation process.

After state mining had been interrupted at the end of the 1990s, a new mining project that requires the use of cyanide has been proposed. The heritage buildings, concentrated within and around the centre of the village, were used in the discourse of both those supporting the project and those who opposed it. On one hand, the heritage was employed to strengthen the discourse on development by selecting individual valuable buildings to be saved and renovated. On the other hand, the heritage was part of a discourse where the whole existing built fabric is valuable and needs to be protected. These two attitudes are complicated by political tactics meant to curtail small interventions into the existing fabric in order to discourage an alternative development of the area.

Through an analysis of visual material collected during fieldwork and of documents, maps and media publications, this paper navigates the complexities around heritage buildings and planning regulations that are supposed to protect valuable built environment while at the same time allow for development. In this case, tensions between heritage conservation and mining development supported by planning regulations become apparent.