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Romanian Authorities Fight Kitschy Home Renovations

Gábor Sarnyai 2018.07.17.

Erzsébetváros is not just a district in Budapest, but also a town in Romania. The settlement was known as Ebesfalva until 1733 but was renamed Erzsébetváros after Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.
At the end of the 17th century the city, near Szamosújvár, was a major Armenian center.

The Armenian Catholic church in the main square of Dumbrăveni

The Armenian Catholic Church in the main square of Erzsébetváros

The majority of the Armenians left the settlement in the middle of the 19th century and it was soon populated by the Saxons. Today, 550 Hungarians live in the town, currently known as Dumbrăveni, alongside more than 7,000 Romanian inhabitants. Even now, the urban area is not much bigger than a hundred years ago.

Apafi Castle

Fortified church of Erzsébetváros

The two most famous buildings in the town are the main Armenian Catholic Church and the Apafi Castle, built in 1552, which includes an Armenian historical exhibition. From the outside, both are in depressing condition.


Some interesting sights can be found around the town, such as the many public education boards placed by the Romania authorities. These boards illustrate how to renovate the old, traditional peasant or Saxon houses while still taking historical conservation into account.

A proper way to renovate Transylvanian historical heritage sites.

Although homeowners may wish to preserve the area’s cultural heritage in their own way, the government officials saw the need to offer design suggestions.