”Roșia Montană: A family. A century. A story – from the Bocaniciu Family photographic archive” – the Album.
The collection of photographs taken by Silviu Bocaniciu Sr. and preserved by his son in the family archive is an important source of information for the modern and contemporary history of Roșia Montană. They witness a time when its inhabitants’ life still followed its historical rhythm, in line with the traditional millennial mining activity. It was a time when mining was carried out with simple tools, horses, as well as wooden machinery powered by water. They document a site protected by mountains, carrying the remnants of historical mining works from Roman, medieval or modern eras. A traditional small mining town dotted by urban features – casinos, banks, insurance companies or stores with Western merchandise – with a central square animated by fairs, marching bands or famous artists.
Although it was built as a family archive, comprising a rich inventory of images of family members, the photographs are framed by amateur photographer Silviu Bocaniciu Sr. in the lively setting of the historical town. The artificial lake installations, the stamp mills, the facades of historical buildings, the ancient mining works, they are all a constant appearance in Silviu Bocaniciu’s photographs.
When the subjects of the photographs are the very buildings, mining works or the town’s built landscape, Silviu Bocaniciu Sr. focuses on the significant details, as only a knowledgeable local can. We can thus better understand the local specificities, from the dominant white of the facades, the scale-shaped shingles of the imposing baroque roofs, the church towers, the urban ornaments of the facades in the town centre, the traditional industrial areas at the periphery, the artificial lakes’ control towers or the gold extraction areas.
The photographer’s systematic recording of the essential details of the mining and built landscapes allows us today to grasp some of the elements destroyed during the communist period: the Ajtay Palace, demolished and replaced by a building of flats; the mining sites of Cetate Massif, dating from antiquity, medieval or modern times, which were blown up with dynamite; or the series of stamp mills which were closed starting with the nationalization in 1948, to name some of the most striking.
The documentary value of the photographs is enhanced by the author’s son, Silviu Bocaniciu Jr. who complements them with stories about the community’s life – its beliefs, legends, daily life or important community events. Last but not least, a foreword to the album belongs to Silviu Bocaniciu Jr., entrusting to its readers to preserve Roșia Montană as it was inherited.
The Bocaniciu’s family archive was discovered by chance in 2013 by Laura Turdean, who then collected the photographs and carried out the interviews with Silviu Bocaniciu Jr. ARA Association showcased them the same year at Roșia Montană, prompting the family’s return to its native village. The photographs were subsequently exhibited in February 2019 at the National Peasant Museum in Bucharest, part of the series of events dedicated to Roșia Montană Day. The album was released in Rosia Montană in august 2019, as part of the Heritage Days events organised here every year by the ARA Association.
We would like to thank the Bocaniciu family for their support and especially Mr. Silviu Bocaniciu Jr. for his openness, participation and the stories he brings to light.
ARA Publishing 2019
Editors: Claudia Apostol, Virgil Apostol
Documentation: Laura Turdean
Translation: Gabriela Tîrlie, Cristina Lazăr
Graphic Design and DTP: Ioana Suceava, Carmen-Ligia Poară
Printed by: Pro Editură și Tipografie, București
Price 50 lei + shipping price
All profit from selling this album will be redirected to support the ARA Association conservation activities in Rosia Montana, through the Adopt a House programme.
Published with support from the
Romanian Order of Architects