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Painting flowers on the facade

By admin | September 8, 2009

In September we invited a local artisan, Stefan, to paint some flowers onto the facade of the house, above the gates.  We also asked him to paint a) a poem onto one of the empty wall panels, and b) the date of the house.  He did an excellent job. I’d really like to paint trompe l’oeil on the facade, but it is not common in these parts to do that.

The poem we had put on the facade is a very traditional, vernacular poem from the Saxon region.  Painting a poem onto one’s wall was very common for hundreds of years, and is still practiced in parts of Germany, Austria and German-speaking parts of Switzerland.  Nowadays it is not done in these parts, although it seems to have died out long before the Saxons left in 1989.

The idea was to paint a poem which said something about you as a person, or family.  We wanted something traditional, and which conveyed something of the temporariness of life (that sounds morbid, but it’s not meant to be!).  The poem was reproduced in a Nineteenth century book by Emily Gerard.  Emily was the English wife of an Austrian soldier who moved around the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and wrote about the places they were stationed in. 

The poem reads:

Heut in diesem Haus zu Gast

So lang der Herr mich leben lasst

Doch ruft Er mich, so muss Ich fort

Denn Ich muss folgen Seinem Wort

The date of the house we painted on the wall, ie. 1766, triggered some conversation in the village.  It appears that the house is unlikely to have been built so late, and would perhaps have been renovated then, not built.  And the house was at one time a monastery, which confirms my theories about the way the house is currently built - I’m sure the walls were completely turned around and the courtyard moved at some point in the past.

Biertan 1766

      

Biertan poem

 

Biertan flowers 1  Biertan flowers 2 

Biertan flowers 3 Biertan flowers 4

 

Biertan flowers

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Tavan - Ceiling

By admin | February 22, 2009

Work is nearing to an end inside the house, as you can see with these pictures Laurian sent us last week.  The restored ceiling in the upstairs landing area has been done very professionally, with the new and old placed very sympathetically together.  You wouldn’t think the new cross planks were new.  The chandelier looks fantastic and a great choice for the look we want to create.  We knew the blue colour choice for the walls would go well with the brown of the wood, as it was what we did to such great effect in Galeş. 

Tavan 1 - Biertan

 The hatch to the attic area is also now installed.  It doesn’t look too pretty at the moment, but we are going to paint it and maybe put a Saxon flower motif over the main flat face, to hide its impact on the ceiling in that area of the landing.  You can also see the great work done by Laurian’s team to repair the chimney brest after we took the decayed lime plaster off.  We decided against re-plastering because, hey, you an’t be too authentic all the time, now can you!!  Any alternative ideas for the attic hatch gratefully welcomed…

Tavan 2

The final picture is of another restoration heresy…..

When we bought the house we found a purpose-built hole leading from the living room to the cellar.  I can onlu speculate it was for taking up provisions without having to go outside, perhaps for heavy things which needed winching?  Anyway, we considered just planking over it, but thought it would be a shame not to try to make a feature out of it, so we decided to put a reinforced glass panel over it, and light it up from beneath.  I know, I know, it’s probably a faux-pas….

Secret tunnel? 

We have seen this type of chute leading from a house into the cellar before, in Transylvania, so it could be quite normal and innocent.  On the other hand, in the cellar there is a corner of the wall, facing the church, which has a very intriguing capstone.  We have heard that Sara Römischer used to tell the village children who played in her house that it has a secret tunnel leading up to the fortified church, and that Biertan used to have two such tunnels.  We haven’t enquired yet about whether the other tunnel entrance is known about still, although there are hints it is.  So, next time we get a chance, we’ll try to see if it is the same as our own.  Many of the Saxon villages had one or two tunnels leading from the church, just in case they needed to escape or get more provisions in, as they were being besieged by the Turks in the mid to late Middle Ages.

Sticla 1

 Secret tunnel entrance leading to the Fortified Church of Biertan……..or corner shelf?

Mysterious capstone

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