20 November 2016

PALTIN BIG HOUSE, Vrancea County, the XVIIIth Century

Singularly, it’s regarded as a household annex building – the big house from Paltin village was conveyed to the outdoor Village Museum expo in 1956 and dates back to the end of XVIIIth century. The village of Paltin, founded following the year 1840, is situated on Zăbala River valley, on the sub-Carpathic plain of Vrancea. It was established as the result of the migration of people from Nereju village looking for new fertile land near which to build a household, also make a living. The mountain area and the depression form the basin of upper Putna. The region covers waters and pastures, the valley ways connected villages to mountain grasslands.

Breeding livestock (sheep, mostly), lumberjacking and wood processing, together with minor agriculture were the main occupations that engaged the locals. The building itself, known as a Big House (Romanian: „căsoaie”), was frequently encountered in Vrancea settlements, typically considered to house a living room, vernaculary known as – the Big House’s Small House (Romanian: „căsuţa căsoaiei”). The unit featured in the Museum was only used as a storage house, for food and miscelanneous items, with a porch to service household activities during summer.

Built on a rough stone foundation (mountain and river stone), using round fir wood beams, covered with a thin layer of clay, the Big House stands upon a semi-dug cellar with walls made from rocks with no binding, it features an ample porch overneath the cellar entrance constructed on a platform made from thick oak tree beams to form a shelter. Space insde the Big House is not illuminated, yet it leads to the attic. The roof framework is fixated with yew tree wood nails.

Similar to other household annexes pertaining to Romanian architecture, this house also features decorative elements such as fretted geometric patterns on the boarded veranda and engravings on the back of wood rafters. Ethnographic areas such as Hunedoara or Apuseni Mountains also present granges that separate the living house from the pantry into independent constructions.