Bocșa old tower to be saved!

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Cold, rain, fog and absence of sun – surprisingly, none of those prevented us from going to Bocșa. I mean, cold aspect can be quite a red flag for me and stop me from doing anything, even though with my roots I should be completely resistant to this… Still, it was a good trip since I’ve got to discover something new…

Bocșa is a small town which is 21 kilometers away from Reșița where you can get either by taking the Reșița-Timișoara train or using a car. The town includes such neighbourhoods as Bocșa Montană, Bocșa Română and Vasiova. As per 2011 population census, about 15842 inhabitants live there. Starting from 1718, under Augsburg ruling, it was one of the places where families of smelters and miners lived. Later on, it was discovered that only in Bocșa district, with the identified ores, 10 blast furnaces could operate. Apparently, one of such blast furnaces – the former Bocșa Blast Furnace and Feed Tower is still standing there, however its condition is very upsetting and is close to decay and collapse.

Nevertheless, it is a blessing when people that care about preservation of the immovable heritage objects of the country exist and take proper action for safeguarding such important history buildings. For example, in Romania it is Ambulanța pentru Monumente – a national project initiated in 2016 by the Asociația Monumentum, including independent organisations in country’s several regions, just like Ambulanța pentru Monumente Banat Team under Asociația PRIN BANAT. The project’s aim is to rescue the historical monuments around Romania before it is too late – which makes it over 600 objects.

Ambulanța pentru Monumente Banat team were aware of the existence and the current devastating situation of the Blast Furnace Plant and Feed Tower. As organizer, Dragoș Mihai Nuță mentioned, this Blast Tower was selected for this year intervention “due to it spoor state of conservation and its incredible value as one of the few 18thcentury industrial monuments remaining in the region and as the beginning of steel working industry on Romanian territory.”

This year the conservation work consisted from general cleaning campaign, which included clearing rubble, invasive vegetation and trash in the entire building, emergency interventions on structural members such as roof beams or trusses, which are now temporarily supported, the clearing and remaking of damaged masonry on basement tunnel vaults, wall tops and structural cracks, and especially, the construction and partial assembly of the tower’s timber roof structure. The 20 meter’s tall tower’s roof is made up of 8 timber trusses which were cut and tested on the ground and were then lifted to their final position, with the beams already in place and rafters awaiting installation.

Dragoș stresses the need to finish the tower’s roof and to continue repairing the rest of the building’s four roofs, all of which are in various states of conservation, in the upcoming years.

Along with all of these, the entire intervention is meant to be a learning experience for the volunteers involved, most of whom are architecture students, who learn on site the history, characteristics and needs of a historical building, as well as learning practical skills such as masonry, carpentry and general construction, aiming to educate better professionals in the field of historical conservation.

Autor: Anastasia Zhmankova