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A 200-year-old house in Neamţ – a treasure chest of ancestral values

12 October 2022 No Comment

The journey of a passionate collector in recreating an entire universe of authentic rustic architecture in Tazlău, Neamţ County.

A house built of wood, clay and stone, with an architecture that respects the typical structure of households in Neamţ 200 years ago, has been undergoing a continuous process of rehabilitation and conservation since 2009, currently approaching the moment of being included among the ethnographic museums from Neamț County. The house in Tazlău stands as a complete, expressive creation of the old rural society, revealing the way of living, the technical, social and spiritual beliefs of peasants in Neamţ, many years ago.

The effort and steps taken towards creating the nowadays museum were not at all easy, declares Victor Tofan, the owner of the small ethnographic jewel. For most of the time, he managed to do everything all by himself, without much assistance and support.

The house, representative by its very age, with an old structure, wooden nails, beams, and porch, consists of two small rooms, a storage room, stone cellar and a stable, plus many and various wooden and iron items, textiles, ceramics and leather objects on display. Among the treasures that can be admired inside the two rooms, the visitors can find a unique stove, a single piece which does not have a correspondent even at the National Village Museum in Bucharest, a tricolour carpet, woven in 1890, but also a hand-sewing loom, in working status, with specific accessories (combs, wool sifters, hooks, winders and others). The owner collected, over time, either from his own household or from third individuals, other ethnographic items, such as: a small 3-legged beech table, a dowry chest, a very old “Singer” sewing machine, men’s and women’s clothing (traditional vests, woolen overcoat (“suman”), men’s nightgown, traditional women’s shirts with artistic stitches and embroidery, women’s skirts, all handmade with great care), as well as others clothing articles for holidays and participating in folk dancing (“hora”).

All the household items on display belong to the owner of the house, and were purchased and gathered from around the villages nearby, where people were not in a hurry to throw away the clay and wooden pots, irons and other items as such. The gathering process was not an easy one, on one hand because of people’s reluctance of the project, and on the other hand, due to the fact that some owners of such objects were not even aware of their ethnographic value, resulting in their destruction or setting on fire.

The process of collecting unique, valuable ethnographic pieces has a whole history behind it: from the initial concept to the records of donors, and a journal of impressions for guests and specialists in cultural heritage, an extensive care was provided, during a delicate undertaking of several years. In the end, the house museum aims to rebuild, piece by piece, an entire universe of authentic rustic dwelling in Neamţ County 200 years ago, for all tourists and hunters of authentic ethnographic values to explore and be fascinated by!

The man behind the ethnographic treasure in Tazlău, who managed to bring together so many different pieces of the intricate local identity puzzle, is Victor Tofan. Born in Tazlău, with a long and successful career in foreign trade and international cooperation, Mr. Tofan is now retired and lives with the joy and enthusiasm of further developing this project so dear to his heart, the house museum where several generations have lived and which he exceptionally restored, exclusively by own financial contribution.

Starting from 2018 and until now, the house museum has hosted a series of cultural-artistic events that promoted traditional values to the wide audiences. Winter customs and traditions were filmed, performances of folk music ensembles, music clips, and also a TV show about how to prepare the traditional Christmas dinner. In addition to that, the traditional house in Tazlău gladly hosted children’s themed camps. Last year, the house museum enjoyed the visit of some special guest: several members of a Discovery Channel production team and Prince Nicolae of Romania himself.

See the accommodation possibilities from Neamt County

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