Astra Village Museum
ASTRA National Museum Complex is situated in Sibiu and gathers under the same authority four museums in the city, a series of laboratories for conservation and research and a documentation centre. It is the successor of Astra museum that existed in the town since 1905. Its modern life started with the opening of The Museum of Folk Technology, in 1963.
The Romanian cultural association ASTRA decided in 1897 to establish a museum of Romanian civilization. The museum was opened in 1905, in a building that is today the ASTRA Palace in Sibiu, built through a public subscription with the specific purpose to create a museum. In 1929, in Cluj, an open air Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania was created and in 1932 the Village Museum was opened in Bucharest.
In 1940, a plan was proposed to establish a new ethnographic museum in Sibiu to replace the one in Cluj. Due to WWII and the new regime, the plan was delayed by 20 years, in which period the old museum was closed due to ideological reasons. It new one was opened to the public in 1967. Until 1990 the museum worked as a branch of Brukenthal Museum, and the number of houses and buildings increased.
The museum is located 3 km south-west of Sibiu, covering an area of almost 1 square km, being the largest open air museum in Romania and one of the largest in Eastern Europe. It contains houses and workshops of the traditional Romanian folk culture from the pre-industrial era. Over 300 houses and other buildings are situated in the forest around two artificial lakes linked by 10 km of walkways.
The exhibits are organized into six thematic groups: food production and animal shelters, production of raw materials, means of transportation, manufacture of household objects, public buildings and an exposition of monumental sculpture.
A series of festivals and fairs take place in the museum annually, the most popular one being The Folk Craftsmen’s Fair which takes place each summer around the in the middle of August. Also, permanent and temporary exhibitions can be seen in a special pavilion inside the museum.