2016 Romania
AIA Spring Tour
Romania
16th - 22nd May 2016
Just a few highlights from our exciting (and sold-out) tour
  National Oil Museum, Ploieşti.
Ploieşti is one of the major centres for the Romanian oil industry. Romania had the world's first oil well at Sarata Monteoru abut 90km to the north east of Ploiesti and the first oil refinery (1857) which provided oil to light the streets of Bucharest - the first European capital to have street lighting!

Pictured is a gin for lifting oil from a shallow well re-erected at the Ploesti museum.
La Valtori, Lisa.
An interesting water powered site founded in 1850 where wool from the local curkan sheep is woven into blankets which are fulled and a long fluffy nap produced on them.

Water channels lead to circular basins. The water entering these swirls round and round creating a whirlpool. It is this whirlpool effect which raises the nap on the fabric.
Rosia Montana.
There is archaeological and metallurgical evidence of gold mining in Transylvania since the late Stone Age. Alburnus Maior was founded by the Romans during the rule of Trajan as a mining town, with Illyrian colonists from South Dalmatia. The earliest reference to the town is on a wax tablet dated 6 February 131. In the town archaeologists have discovered  ancient dwellings, necropolises, mine galleries, mining tools, wax tablets and many inscriptions in Greek and Latin, centred around Carpeni Hill.
The Govajdia Furnace was built between 1806 and 1810. At the time of his construction it was the first furnace in Europe and the second in the world with continuous flux. The production ceased after more than a hundred years, being transferred to the New Hunedoara Iron Works.

In 1841, a narrow gauge railway for transporting ore to the furnace's upper opening was installed and in 1900 was extended to Hunedoara. Little wagons would load the ore downward into the furnace; this mechanism replaced the inclined planes used earlier.

Together with the Resita Works, it supplied the iron for the Eiffel Tour in Paris. In 2000 it was declared an industrial architecture monument.
Hunedoara is located in southwestern Transylvania near the Poiana Ruscă Mountains and lies on the Cerna river. The town developed as a production center for iron and a market for the mountain regions nearby. The first blast furnace was built in 1603.

After the Soviet occupation and the subsequent communist regime, industry was favored, and Hunedoara had for a time the biggest steel-producing plant in Romania and the Balkans.

Oana Tiganea led a fascinating walking tour of Soviet era workers' housing.
The Cincis-Cerna dam was built in 1962 to ensure the industrial water needs of the Hunedoara steel mill The dam site was chosen at about 6.5 kilometres upstream from the city on the eastern slopes of Poiana Rusca where geo-morphological conditions were most favorable, the valley being narrow, with symmetrical slopes inclined at 45-55deg with rock of good quality.

It is an arched concrete dam 48m high, 220m long, 14m thick at the base and 4.5m at the top. The total volume of the lake is 43.5 million m³, with a useful volume of 27.4m³.
The ASTRA Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization is located in the Dumbrava Forest, near Sibiu. The exhibits are organised into six thematic groups: food production and animal husbandry, production of raw materials, means of transportation, manufacture of household objects, public buildings and an exhibition of monumental sculpture.

Some of the most spectacular buildings are a group of windmills from the Dobrudja area and here a fulling mill.
Sadu 1 Hydro Electric Plant, located in Sadu Valley, 18 km away from Sibiu, is the oldest hydro-electric power plant in operation in Romania. It was commissioned on December 16, 1896, and was initially equipped with 3 turbines and two steam plants. They were directly coupled to the single phase generators and generated 200 KW at 42 Hz and 4500 V. The Girard turbines proved to be too small and in 1902 and 1905 they were replaced with 350 HP Francis turbines and single phase generators produced by GANZ & CO in Budapest. During 1925 and 1926, the generators were rewound for three phase alternating current. These three are still operational.
The Avrig Glass Factory specializes in producing soda lime mouth-blown glass. The factory has an impressive history going back to 1625.

The present factory was set up in 1830 with glass makers and blowers brought in from Bohemia and Murano. Today the factory produces hand blown domestic glassware including wine glasses and vases, as well as pressed and spun glass.
The Railway Museum Sibiu was set up in 1994 and now has a collection of 23 standard gauge locomotives, 10 narrow gauge locomotives, 3 snowploughs and 2 steam cranes. 7 of these locomotives are active, and are used on a variety of special trains for enthusiasts and other groups. The locomotives displayed were built between 1885 and 1959 in Romania and other countries, such as Germany (Henschel & Son, Borsig, Schwartzkopff) and the United States (Baldwin Locomotive Works). The Locomotive Museum is housed in the former roundhouse and turntable and part of the depot area is still in use.
The surviving Sibiu-Agnita Narrow Gauge Railway is actually only half of the original. The Sighisoara-Sibiu Local Railway Company began construction from Sighisoara, then in Hungary in 1895, and had progressed 48km to Agnita by the end of 1898. The line reached Sibiu, 62km further, in 1910, making it the longest narrow gauge railway in present-day Romania, at 123km including a 13km branch from Cornatel to Vurpar. Hungarian Railways, MAV, took over operation of the Iine in September 1908 but the Sighisoara - Agnita section was closed and dismantled in 1965 while the main line from Agnita to Sibiu survived until 1st September 2001.
Ohaba Water Mill.
This water mill was built in 1873 and with French mill stones is still fully operational today.

It is managed by “Uncle Şerban, a typical old man from Ohaba village”, who owns this real ethnographic treasure.

The mill has undergone many changes in its life but villagers still apparently come here to grind grain.
The Filaret district is an area of Bucharest where there are several industrial buildings surviving - a brewery, the first railway station built in 1864, a train ticket printers and a 19th century match factory.

The power station was built in 1907 and taken out of commission in the 1970s. It is intended to become a technical museum, but for the moment the superb historic building is used as a garage and is in a bad state.

Our walk was led by Prof. Irina Iamandescu, a leading expert in the industrial history of Bucharest, and included the observatory - which is not normally open to the public.


All images Copyright (c) 2016 Heritage of Industry Ltd