Chidea - a Village Carved in Stone Cover Image

Kide, a kőből épült település
Chidea - a Village Carved in Stone

Author(s): Enikő Bitay, László Márton, Tibor Sándor Nagy, János Talpas
Contributor(s): Enikő Bitay (Editor)
Subject(s): Architecture, Local History / Microhistory, Scientific Life
ISSN: 2068-3103
Published by: Erdélyi Múzeum-Egyesület
Keywords: technical history; local history; Transylvania; bells; horologe; church; Chidea
Summary/Abstract: The present book is a result of intensive research conducted by the members of the section of technical sciences of the Transylvanian Museum Society. It is the 8th volume of a series, which focuses on the technical history of a small settlement, Chidea.With a history of more than 800 years, Chidea is one of the places where the number of inhabitants is continuously decreasing. The number of people living there used to be close to 800, nowadays there are not more than 140 inhabitants who have permanent residence in the village.Chidea is located in Cluj county, in the valley of the Chidea creek, one of the branches of the Borsa stream. The origin of the name of the village is unknown, it might come from one of the noble men once ruling in the Dabaca region. The first written document mentioning the name of the village, spelled Kyde dates back to 1332, it is a certificate that proves ownership.In the 13th century, the years of the tartar invasion, the fortress of Dabaca and the settlement of Chidea were partially destroyed and the population that couldn't take refuge, was killed.After the withdrawal of the tartars, life went on its course, and the village was trying to recover. To overcome the severe lack of population following the tartars' atrocities, a few dozens of families were brought to the village from the Eastern Region of Transylvania (Hungarian people called Székely) and they took over the defence of the fortress of Dabaca.In Chidea and in its region people have developed a specific craft of shaping the local volcanic (tuff) rock. This rock is relatively easy to work with, and it can be used as building material. Almost everything in Chidea - houses, side buildings (barns, store rooms, warehouses, stables) and even fences have been built of this carved stone.The diverse usage of the stone brought a good name to the local builders and masons who were esteemed even outside the borders of the settlement, throughout Transylvania.Education in the village dates back to the 18th century. Schools were run and supervised either by the state or by the church. Today, after more than 200 years of continuous activity, there isn't any school in the village, owing to the lack of children. The state owned school building was gradually deteriorating, which led to its demolition in the end.In terms of religion, the people from Chidea belong to five denominations. The majority of the population are Reformed, followed by Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Unitarians and Neo-protestants. There are very few parishioners, however each denomination has its own church, or a house of worship. The oldest is the Reformed church, first used by Catholics, then in the 16th century, the period of Reformation - by different protestant denominations. The church was built by the Roman Catholics, as it used to be the religion of the inhabitants in the period.The church was built after 1241, the first tartar invasion, when the previous building was destroyed. The first church of the village was supposedly built about a century before the tartars came.Throughout the years, the church was renovated, repaired and extended several times; the present steeple was raised in the 19th century. Due to some architectural components it is categorized as a medieval church, built in late Gothic style with some Romanesque elements. It is the oldest church in the area.The Orthodox, former Greek Catholic church is built of wood and could be seen as a gem of popular architecture. The church was initially built in a different location, and was pulled on sled to its present place. The church was built at the end of the 18th century.The Unitarian church was built in the 18th century, and the Roman Catholic in the 19th century.The four churches have two bells each, located in the steeples. The oldest of the eight bells is the one in the Reformed church, the so-called Polish bell. According to its inscription, this bell was cast in a town in Poland in 1560 and it was brought (for reasons unknown) to Chidea by Polish refugees, probably after Poland was divided in the 18th and 19th centuries.In the steeple of the Reformed church one can also see a clock, built in 1896 by Szabó József, the mechanic of the Baron Bánffy Ernő from Borsa. The clocks in Borsa and Cristorel - in the valley of Borsa - are also his works. Each clock was engraved with his name and the year of manufacturing. Out of these three, only the one in Chidea is still functional.The mechanic, who made these clocks used innovational techniques in the procedure. Thus he used a pinwheel escapement instead of the Clements regulator, which has a series of advantages in the assembly process. Another peculiarity of the clock is that it uses a snail wheel in the kinematic chain of the clock in order to reduce the number of the cylindrical gearwheels.Another name, the name of the stone carving master Sipos Dávid should also be mentioned. He worked here in Chidea, thus contributing to the fame of the village.He was a true artist with a peculiar choice of ornamental elements, unique in the art of stone carving in Transylvania. Even if his works are singular, they belong to the late Transylvanian Renaissance.His works are found in two of the churches in Chidea, namely a stone carved pulpit in the Roman Catholic church, and a liturgical table in the Orthodox church.There are also stone pulpits presumably from his workshop or disciples in the Unitarian and Reformed churches. This master has carved more than 20 pulpits throughout Transylvania, and also noble coats of arms, emblems, tombstones, door and window arch-ornaments in Cluj, Gherla, etc.In the present book one can read a description of the mill that probably belonged to the writer Nyírő József, a Catholic priest, who - assigned to Chidea - suspended his ministry and worked as the miller of the community for a short while. In the same chapter, one can also read about the manual grounding machines used by the locals for grinding the grains for their animals. It is an important detail that these grinders are handcrafted here in the village, from a rougher type of the same tuff stone, found also nearby.According to its subject the present book could be classified as a work of technical history. In result of the research conducted in the field, the exploration of archive material, and the study of the specific literature we have a more complex image of the village than historians, archaeologists, art historians have formed so far. One could get a full picture of the culture and civilisation of the region only by analysing its diverse complexity.

  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-606-739-020-9
  • Page Count: 106
  • Publication Year: 2015
  • Language: Hungarian