May 1, 2014

​Bucharest Hosts the Biblical Village

A record number of visitors and national media coverage, the
construction of a Biblical village has boosted church life in Romania’s
capital, Bucharest. Pastors and youth have worked together for the success of
this major project.

In the first three days, more than 10,000 people visited the
Biblical Village, set in one of the largest parks in Bucharest. Most visitors
were not Adventist and many of them came from as far as Bulgaria to the

The project was also included as part of official activities
approved by Bucharest Board of Education. The Biblical Village coincided with a
city-wide project called “School in a Different Manner: To Know More, to be
Better" which provided a week of alternative activities to ordinary

bucharestweb"We are overwhelmed by the interest, especially by children
and their parents. Each day has been a challenge for us. More than 500
volunteers kept the visitors connected to a 2,000-year-old culture,” said
Pastor Mihai Brasov who initiated the project. “Many of those who read the
Bible wonder and imagine how things looked in the time of Jesus. Now they have
an excellent opportunity to see and experience all this!"

Through the project, developed on an area of 3.000 m²,
visitors can observe the lifestyle of ancient characters and learn skills
of the people of those times.

Built as a genuine biblical village, organizers collaborated
with Ambientfilm, the first independent Romanian company to create settings,
set-dressing and scenography. The project included traditional houses,
workshops, and inhabitants wearing traditional clothing. Each garment was
handmade and specifically tailored for the children, women, and men, who wore them.

Each activity was led by specialists in biblical history, Jewish
culture, or crafts. Among the most attractive places were the blacksmith shop,
where visitors could make coins; the weaving mill, with broadlooms, distaffs,
and wool (unknown to many visitors); the carpenter shop, where visitors could
carve wooden spoons and household items; the fishery, where visitors learned
how to do fishing knots; and the Hebrew calligraphy courses, where they had the
opportunity of writing in Hebrew on a parchment with a sharp reed.

Another point of interest was the museum that included exhibits displaying
a menorah, shofar, parchment, papyrus, and ancient writing tools. The museum
was organized with the help of the Federation of Hebrew Communities in Romania.

The petting zoo also offered horse rides while story tellers
recounted parables from ancient times.

Set in a tent, an inn offered cuisine from ancient times, including
unleavened bread, unfermented grape wine, vegetables, and exotic fruits, for
hungry travelers to sample. In addition, each visitor received a recipe and
they could also register for a healthy eating cooking class.

In the Biblical Village organizers prepared activities and
projects that showcased certain aspects of the biblical culture. The list of
events included Christian music concerts, historical debates, seminars, and
intercultural biblical archeology.

During the Sabbath hours the activities focused around the
synagogue and religious issues. “It was more beautiful than we expected and we
could talk about the meaning of the day of rest, dedicated to God, when people
went to the synagogue, read, studied the Scripture scrolls, sang hymns, and
prayed," said Brasov.

Encouraged by the success of this pilot project, organizers want
to extend the Biblical Village to other Romanian cities.

With logistic and financial support coming from the Adventist
Church, the project was organized by the AMiCUS Student Association and
“Pathfinders for the Future," with the support of the Federation of Hebrew
Communities in Romania, the Romanian Archery Federation, ADRA Romania, and the
"Mihai Ionescu" High-school in Bucharest.