ROMANIA - Satu MareDedicated service
"As a schoolteacher in a small community Paraschiva Kovacs has dedicated over 40 years of her life to the inventory and preservation of the artifacts of the past, as symbols of living heritage for a community. Thanks to her personal investment, pedagogic talent, professional skills, convincing power and contagious enthusiasm, she created for several generations a different attitude and behaviour towards local history and heritage preservation.
She is an extraordinary example for those modest, dedicated people all over Europe who without many resources succeed in raising awareness on the importance of the preservation of the past for the benefit of the future."
In the past decades the image of the towns in Transylvania has changed, to the point that the image of the traditional Szekler village has not only transformed but even disappeared. Thus the 100-150 year old carved wooden gates are in danger. Paraschiva Kovacs has researched and documented the Szekler gates, their patterns and ornaments and the wood-carver dynasties in more than 100 localities, elaborating a cadastre map of these gates in the Odorhei region. Once aware of all the dangers threatening the destiny of the old gates, she decided to initiate a programme for the safeguarding of these masterpieces of folk art. She managed to persuade the authorities to allocate money from the local budget in order to rehabilitate old gates whose owners are in most cases elderly people. Her dedication has allowed Satu Mare (Máréfalva) to keep its original settlement aspect with its large-sized, beautifully carved wooden gates.