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ArgumentNo. 11/2019

Vernacular Architecture of Sathmar Swabians

  • / “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest, Romania


This is a typology of vernacular architecture regarding which there have been different hypotheses if it is derived from the origin places of the immigrants or was a result of the interaction with the places where the colonists settled. I focused on the vernacular housing of Sathmar Swabians. Different from the Banat Swabians, these colonists were brought by the Károlyi count, a Hungarian count, and not centrally from Vienna by Maria Theresia. More even, it is about a unitary ethnical group, all from Upper Suabia, namely the regions Biberach and Ravensburg. Within this research I visited the Upper Suabia village museum in Kürnbach, which contains houses from the last 500 years and thus also from before immigration, as well as village museums in Romania (Astra and Bucharest), where however Banat houses were found. I visited the Swabian Museum in Petrifeld, Sathmar county, a house conserved in situ, built 1871. And a house of the own ancestors, in course of renovation by the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania as exhibition space. This house dates from before 1850. From literature review it results that also the Danube Swabians in Hungary (village museum in Szententre) have the same house typology. The interior design of the housing of Sathmar Swabians can be investigated apart of Petrifeld also in the central museum of Swabians in Ulm. Sathmar Swabian vernacular housing has been relevant also for research regarding the 1834 Érmellék earthquake in which seismic intensity was measured on the bases of the damages caused to them. It is possible that the typology inherited from Upper Suabia disappeared after the earthquake, taking into account the age of the houses remaining today.


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