The site

Sibiu is a picturesque historical town located in the centre of Romania, in the midst of the charming scenery of Transylvania. It was initially a Daco-Roman settlement known as Cedonia. Later in the 12th century, the town was re-founded as Hermannstadt by German settlers arriving to the region invited by the prospect of new lands in the border regions at the request of the Hungarian kings to help fend off attacks from the east. The town that would later become modern Sibiu, soon transformed into one of the most prominent of several cities established by the Germans. These settlers are often referred to as Saxons, although this was a generalisation meant to refer to all arriving ethnic Germans. Already two centuries later Hermannstadt was an important trade centre with nineteen guilds and became known as the Eastern-most place of Western Europe.

The Romanian population increasingly grew more relevant in Sibiu from the 18th century onwards, with a steady influx of immigrants and the establishment of numerous institutions such as the religious Metropolitan seat. After the First World War and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Sibiu became part of the Kingdom of Romania, while still preserving a moderate German speaking population. However, in the aftermath of the Second World War, but mostly from the 1980s onwards, the majority of ethnic Germans emigrated to Germany or Austria. Nowadays Sibiu is a place representing an example of multicultural merger that can still be appreciated in terms of local traditions, stories and architecture.

Perhaps for Sibiu being at the centre of such an important part in the development of Romanian history and its multicultural tradition, it is not surprising that the town is today the seat of the ASTRA National Museum Complex, which is the most important ethnographic museum in Romania. ASTRA Museum is a modern cultural institution with multiple international collaboration programmes. The hundred hectares of the ASTRA Museum serve as an open-air installation that illustrates an image of rural life from all over Romania. It is composed of over 400 houses, household annexes, technical installations and over 22,000 mobile heritage items. The image is complemented by handicraft workshops, museum animations, fairs and traditional music as well as traditional dance festivals organised here.

Part of the ASTRA National Museum Complex is the ASTRA Heritage Centre. The specialised laboratories that operate here are dedicated to the learning and development of conservation and restoration studies, based on theoretical and practical knowledge. Safeguarding heritage requires understanding, knowledge and perseverance altogether in the process of conservation and restoration of monuments and objects on which time has left the mark of physical, organic, and biological degradation.


The training course

The European Heritage Training Course will be focused on the conservation and restoration of mobile heritage from the collection of the ASTRA National Museum Complex consisting in traditional garments of leather, fur, and textile. The beautiful garments are an artistic expression of the rural culture of this region of Romania. The crafting of just one garment could have taken weeks of manual labour.

While providing a deep familiarisation with Romanian folk costume collected by the ASTRA National Museum Complex concerning history, types, uses and other aspects, the practical activities during the training course will be focused on preventive conservation and curative restoration of historical leather and textile objects. Under the guidance of specialists from the ASTRA National Museum Complex, the participants will learn and apply traditional cleaning procedures intended to stabilise the fine coloured thread of the embroidery of the outer side of the coats in its current state to prevent further damage or wear.

In addition, the participants will have the opportunity to learn the techniques for wool weaving and take part in making leather garments. They will experience the artisanal work involved in the creation of such garments by joining the local artisans in their workshops, observe the detailed work involved the preparation of materials for creating the pieces as well as take part in interactive workshops oriented at learning traditional production of dyes.

Finally, the participants will learn more about how ethnography and folk costumes can be a bridge between the past and the future, allowing intangible and tangible heritage to coincide in these objects.

The educational programme will be complemented with guided thematic visits and an excursion that will provide a contextual perspective to the works carried out during the training course.


The training course will take place from July 30th, till August 12th, 2023, and is organised by the ASTRA National Museum Complex Sibiu in cooperation with European Heritage Volunteers.


European Heritage Volunteers