US ambassador donates USD 1/2 million to medieval fortified church in Alma Vii village, Sibiu

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The Embassy of the United States in Romania has announced that Ambassador Hans Klemm is donating USD 500,000 to the Mihai Eminescu Trust, under the auspices of a special U.S. Department of State program entitled the “Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation AFCP.” This is the largest AFCP grant in the world awarded by the State Department this year.

The grant is to support restoration of the medieval fortified church of Alma Vii village, Sibiu County under the direction of the Mihai Eminescu Trust (MET), an NGO that has been working for nearly 20 years to restore buildings of historical importance and revitalize villages in the region.

Ambassador Klemm and the Executive Director of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, Caroline Fernolend,  took part in a ceremony this morning in Alma Vii to mark the donation.

“This is not just about a building, it’s about investing in the community in Alma Vii. The reason why we are here today reflects the strength and the vision of the proposal made by the MET.  This is an annual competition and this year, 2019, out of all the proposals from all the ambassadors and embassies, it was the project for the restoration of the church here in Alma Vii that obtained the most money in the entire world.  Congratulations!  Hopefully it will make a significant contribution to the work that needs to be done to the church but it will take you, the community to ensure that the success of all these projects is sustained,” said the American Ambassador, Hans Klemm.

“It is a big day for us here, in Alma Vii. Why Alma Vii? For us, the Mihai Eminescu Trust Foundation, partnership is the fundamental word, because we believe very much in partnership.  Here, in Alma Vii, there is a strong partnership between the beautiful community existing here – the mayor’s office, the school, the Evangelical Church, the Ministry of Culture and now a new strong partner, the Embassy of the United States of America.   And all of us together we do this wonderful thing,” said Caroline Fernolend of Mihai Eminescu Trust.

A number of local officials attended the event, including Eugen Roba, the mayor of Mosna commune; Ovidiu-Dumitru Malancravean, the mayor of Sighisoara; and Friedrich Gunesch, Secretary General of the Evangelic Church Sibiu.  The restoration is expected to be completed in four years.

The Saxon Transylvanian fortified church in Alma Vii is located on the slope of a hill that is watching the village. It dates back to the early 14th century, yet the fortification around it was built almost two centuries later. The choir was raised by two more defence floors through a mobile staircase.

The church, surrounded by four defensive towers symbolizing the four compass points, is also known of its 1840 organ.

The restoration process of the entire church started in 1966.

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