A GENERAL PRESENTATION OF THE CENTRE
Standing sharp against the sky, the unusual silhouette that resembles the tower of a medieval castle – adorned with nobility coats of arms carved in stone – appears to the visitor that happens to come to the centre of Viseu de Sus and see it – as it is surrounded by the small houses of the provincial bourgeoisie – as the most unexpected “museum”, a unique building in Romania (and maybe even in Europe). To get here, the visitor can come from the west, from Baia Mare on DN 18 – which is almost completely re-built – or from the east, from Vatra Dornei. The “museum” is entitled “The Docummentary-Exhibition Centre of the Maramureş Nobility of a Romanian Origin”, and it is the creation of the “Ion and Livia Piso Foundation”, which inaugurated it in 2014, in the presence and under the auspices of the Royal House of Romania.
When going inside, the visitor finds himself in a generous space, as the Aula Magna is larger than 100 square meters; it has the shape of an ellipsis, almost identical with the plan of the amphitheatre of Sarmisegetuza (the fortified capital of the ancient Dacia), or that of the Coliseum in Rome.
On the wall of the rotund, right in front of the visitor who enters the “Centre”, there is an immense map of the Historical Maramureş, accompanied to the left and to the right by two frescoes, which take almost half of the rotund at the ground floor of Aula Magna. The frescoes represent two episodes that are relevant for the history of Maramureş: the battle of Dragos-Voda with the Tartars followed by the chasing of the latter out of Moldavia; and the final moments of the battle of Baia, in Moldavia, in which Matthew Corvine’s personal guards, formed by Romanian noblemen of Maramureş, defend the King from Stephen the Great’s army. Both frescoes are realized after Livia Piso’s sketches. At the ground floor of Aula Magna, as well as in the Library, there are other several genealogical trees on display; they are presented at macro-dimensions, some bigger than 10 square meters – especially those of the most important and largest noble Romanian families in Maramureş. These genealogical trees show the ascendants of these families up to the 1300s.
The colonnade at the first floor exhibits a few maps, each taking a surface of several square meters, that prove – based on Royal diplomas, or on documents issued by the Court’s Chancery – the fact that the possessions of some of the Romanian noble families of Maramureş stretched further north, and especially west-wards on an area several times bigger than the Maramureş of today. Besides these, Royal diplomas in facsimile are displayed, which refer to the rights and privileges of Romanian local noblemen; these are translated both in Romanian and in English.
The genealogical trees, as well as the maps and the diplomas, offer clear and suggestive images to the visitor, who can easily form a clear representation of the life of the glorious past of the medieval Maramureş.
THE BIRTH OF THE IDEA OF THE CENTRE
The crisis of our contemporary society is far from being only of an economical nature; on the contrary, it is a complex one, and it cannot be overcome without the intervention of intellectual elite, which should be mainly characterized by ethical, moral, and even spiritual responsibility.
The historical research of Professor Al. Filipaşcu, a Marmureş representative of the great noble family of Dolha and Petrova – a research that he had to pay for with his life at the Danube Channel, a communist working camp prison, in 1952, just before he turned 50 – proves that the glorious past of the people of Maramureş is mainly owed to the elite of these people, that is, to the nobility of a Romanian origin; their heroic deeds – which are nothing but the effect of their power of self-sacrifice and selflessness, the opposite of mindless egotism – contributed to the preservation of these people’s proverbial energy and vital capacity, which are un-altered to this day.
This is why we considered that a presentation of the medieval epoch on these territories to the great public is a worthwhile undertaking, an even necessary one, especially as the few facts known by the public have been nothing but gross misrepresentations.
Consequently, the Ion and Livia Piso Foundation decided to build in Viseu de Sus a Centre, which could provide the frame for scientific research and symposia, based exclusively on primary sources, on documents that are connected with the history of this ‘country’ of Maramureş. In 2015, besides others, three members of the Romanian Academy were present with papers at the colloquium that was held under the aegis of the Romanian Academy: Alexandru Surdu, the Vicepresident of the Romanian Academy, Emil Burzo, President of the Cluj Branch of the Romanian Academy, and Ioan-Aurel Pop, the Rector of the “Babeş-Bolyai” University in Cluj-Napoca.
Today, “The Documentary-Exhibition Centre of the Maramureş Nobility of a Romanian Origin” presents to the visitor the following:
– A series of Royal Diplomas in facsimile, which were received even since the 14th century (the 1300s) by Romanian noblemen of Maramureş from the Apostolic Kings (Carol-Robert d’Anjou, his son, Ludovic, as well as Sigismund of Luxembourg). The Library of the Centre contains besides the almost 100 original documents of the epoch, the Mihaly from Apşa collection, which contains almost over 600 diplomas; most of these were received by these Romanian Maramureş noblemen to reward them for their heroic battles with Tartar invaders, or in their attempt to prevent the expansion of the Muslim empire, etc.
– Several Genealogic Trees, which prove the descendence of the Maramureş nobility of today from the Vojvodes and the Knez of the Romanians in this region;
-A number of historical maps showing – based on the Royal Diplomas – that the possessions of the Maramureş noblemen went to the north and, especially, west-wards so far that the area they comprised was several times larger than the Maramureş of today.
-All these exhibits show the visitor – who is willing to know the truth – the reality and the picturesque nature of the history of this region in the north of Romania.