European heritage and financial experts visited endangered Neptune Baths and met stakeholders in Bucharest
In the framework of the implementation of the 7 Most Endangered Programme, run by Europa Nostra in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute, a team of experts met representatives of relevant Romanian national institutions in Bucharest with the aim to offer expert assistance with the recovery of the endangered Neptune Baths building in the thermal town of Băile Herculane, one of the oldest spa resorts in Europe. The expert mission was led by Constantin Christofidis from the European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute and Mario Crecente, President of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) Scientific Committee, and took place from 31 January to 2 February 2023.
The delegation included Laurent Levi-Strauss, Board member of Europa Nostra, who for personal emergencies had to cancel his trip to Romania at the very last moment but contributed online to the mission. In Romania, the delegation had the support of Oana Chirila, President of Locus Association, which nominated the Neptune Baths to the 7 Most Endangered programme 2022.
On 31 January, the expert team met with Oana Zaharia, General Manager of the National Institute of Heritage and her team; EIB Jaspers Programme managers at the European Investment Bank office in Bucharest; Csilla Hegedus, Secretary of State and representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Investments and European Projects.
On 1 February, the delegation visited the Neptune Baths to examine first-hand the state of the building and its surroundings and to evaluate the risks that affect it. On 2 February, the delegation had talks with Dan Buru, Cultural Inspector and other representatives of the Municipality of Băile Herculane, and Luminita Munteanu, Chief Architect, Caraş Severin County.
The need for urgent action to save it justifies the decision by Europa Nostra, with the support of EHTTA, to put this historic thermal site on the list of the 7 Most Endangered monuments and heritage sites in Europe for 2022. By saving the Neptune Baths, which form the central piece of the thermal urban ensemble of the historical town of Baile Herculane, this Romanian city will recuperate its past splendour and ensure its prosperous future through the use of its cultural heritage as a source of sustainable social and economic development.
The recent approval of Baile Herculane as EHTTA member, which will be confirmed at the next General Assembly of this European network in May 2023 in Baden bei Wien (Austria), will help to further enhance the importance of this site, among others through its participation in the European Cultural Route, and through EHTTA role as Affiliate Member of the UNWTO.
The delegation is preparing the mission report which will be submitted to the nominator and all relevant national, regional and local authorities in Romania.