Romania's Rural Rescue Scheme

Ann Hills investigates Romania's rural rescue scheme.

An elderly Saxon man pointed to the crumbling frescoes in the church at Homorod, Transylvania, Romania. These centuries- old religious paintings are being lost. The man despaired of any effort to stem the decaying plasterwork, partly because the community of Saxons have largely left the village over the past generation, and now only a few Hungarians use the fortified church which dates back to 1270.

In the church, the top step to the gallery has rotted. Buildings clinging to the outer walls were similarly disintegrating, with wooden steps to the towers in a dangerous state. The winter will have probably caused further ruination.

During the 1980s, in Ceaucescu's rule, international outcry highlighted the threat to the villages. The damage this dictator caused in an effort to bring workers into industrial hubs was addressed by campaigns outside and inside Romania, causing historians to document threatened monuments.

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