Emergency Activation of Neamțu Manor in Olari, Olt County
Most of the mansions in the southern area of Romania have disappeared over the past 25 years because of the faulty property restitution process, lack of interest and poor education with respect to patrimony manifested by both public authorities and the public. The Neamțu Manor in the village of Olari, Părşcoveni commune, Olt County (historical reference since 1841, probably before 1800), included in the Historic Monuments List 2015, code OT-II-mB-08966, is one of the few examples of civil architecture preserved in southern Romania. But the manor is in a state of decay, because it has been subject to vandalism and neglect for a long time; as a result, it requires extensive and urgent conservation and consolidation work, and is a practical example for Pro Patrimonio Foundation in implementing its strategy of rescuing cultural heritage and integrating it into community life.
Ownership status: Pro Patrimonio property following a private donation (2016)
Intervention method: gradual conservation and rehabilitation, step by step; adult education and awareness-raising workshops; community integration; education for children; creating over time a possible center for education, permaculture and traditional crafts.
Problems: a long-lasting process with many unknowns; insufficient funds; at a great distance from Oltenia; complex search for a sustainable economic model for manor and land; the village is located in a poor, predominantly agricultural area (cereals, viticulture) with desertification tendencies due to climate change; in the locality there are strong aging and depopulation tendencies.
The mansion is part of the Neamţu Manor Complex comprising a mansion building, grain storage, an ice cellar, a communist canteen, partial traces of the former stables and annexes. The Neamţu Manor, a representative example of civil architecture in Oltenia (historical reference from 1841, probably before 1800), now has an architectural configuration dating back to 1920-1935, conceived by the architect Constantin Iotzu, a follower of Ion Mincu and an important representative of the neo-Romanian style in architecture (the regional form of the Art Nouveau international style). The architect’s interventions took place around a central body, with volumes specific to buildings known as the cule (residence or fortified manor specific to the area of the south Carpathians) and adding gazebo-like elements (volumes specific to vernacular architecture with influences from traditional religious architecture).
The mansion is a landmark in the cultural landscape of the village and area. The history of the generations of owners goes up to: the Pârşcoveanu family; the Zissu / Zissi family, whose descendant, Elena, married Cornetti, finances and establishes the Elefterie and Elena Cornetti Music School in Craiova in 1911; the Neamţu family, who also gives the name of the manor, after C.C. Neamţu (1879-1948), the last owner of the manor, died during the house nationalization in June 1948.
In 2019, the works at the Neamțu Manor in Olari village were supported for the third consecutive year by the company Leroy Merlin România. We welcome the support received from Mr. Mihai Sora and individual donors from the business community members of the MVP Factory.
During 2021 we will start “The Experimental Center for Studies and Education at the Neamţu Manor in Olari” under the umbrella of which we will organize non-formal education workshops for children in Olari, resume the manor’s restoration site interrupted in 2020 due to the pandemic and we will do experimental plantings with historical seeds on the rounded agricultural land.