Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Type / Historic Town

Ocnele Mari

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Ocnele Mari

About the site

Corridor: Western Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Romania, Ocnele Mari
Type: Historic Town, Vernacular Architecture
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Vernacular Architecture
World Heritage:
Middle AgesVernacular ArchitectureHistoric TownVernacular Architecture

A former borough, with documentary reference for the first time in 1405, the town of Ocnele Mari has been famous for centuries for the exploitation and commercialisation of salt. The town is composed of several localities. Each locality has at least one church of Byzantine type, dated from the 16th to the 18th centuries, with beautiful wall paintings 'a fresco'. The area is rich in archaeological monuments and sites, like the Dacic Buridava fortress, 1st-2nd century before Christ. The charm of the town is found in its vernacular character of the 18th to 19th century, mixed with town feature architecture of homes and public buildings. For decades the soil of Ocnele Mari was drilled to extract salt by means of injecting water under pressure into the salt deposits; as a result, huge caves developed under the ground. These caves are now collapsing and threatening the buildings on top with imminent destruction. The entire town, and its cultural heritage, is now in great danger of disappearing.

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