The Ashes of the Habsburg Empire

Last weekend I went to Băile Herculane, a place which shows the decadence of a powerful Empire. The Empress Sissi of Austria (Elizabeth of Austria) used to come here, in order to relax at the thermal baths. So, this little area is full of history, most of it due to one of the last beloved empresses of the world.

It’s very sad to see how this resort was damaged. Its buildings are nearly falling apart, its streets, which once were in the lap of luxury, are now austere. After the Habsburg Empire abandoned this city, nobody took care of it anymore- nearly 130 years have passed since then, and more than half of the edifices are breaking.  Very few of them are part of a rehabilitation programme, but, still, all of them must be rehabilitated. All these amazing buildings host beautiful décor, extravagant interior fountains, as well as elaborated ceilings. Even though it’s forbidden, I entered one of these, just to have a look at its gorgeous, but ignored features.  Some kind of ignorance was installed by the local authorities, especially towards these examples of Habsburg architecture, of an unique charm.

Maybe because these buildings are quite far from Bucharest, the capital of Romania, they are so ignored. Or maybe because the Austrians left this place a long time ago? Or perhaps for rehabilitating these edifices they need lots of money, that they suuuuurely can’t obtain from the Regio founds, as well as from the Romanian Government?

It’s really wistful what happens in this region and, what’s worse, hardly anyone wants to change this situation. I just wrote this article believing that, somehow, this exasperating cruelty will be blotted out. I hope I made you understand that some values, even if they are from an Empire which had decayed, must be respected no matter what. These buildings, if they are furbished up, could be assigned to schools, to hospitals – there are plenty of options. Just as we gave “1 leu pentru Atheneu”, and we are donating money for buying the Cuminţenia pământului by Constantin Brâncuși, we could donate for this cause, too. As the Romanians say, there is no “we can’t”, there is just “we don’t want to”.

Sylvie

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