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New World (Lumea Nouă)

A few kilometres from the urban centre, Alba Iulia possessed a special space dedicated to leisure, similarly to other important towns in the Habsburg Empire. In a lavish landscape, the city dwellers could enjoy the beautiful lakes and the rich forest nearby.

In medieval times, the Lumea Nouă/Neue Welt/Ujvilág (New World) neighbourhood belonged to the Roman Catholic Bishopric in Alba Iulia. In the eighteenth century, the Habsburgs gave it back to its pre-Reformation owners. According to the first military map of Transylvania (1769-1773) conducted in the reign of Joseph II (Josephinische Landesaufnahme) the area located about two kilometres north of Alba Carolina fortress was named Mayer Hoff. On the second (1806-1869) and third (1869-1887) Austrian military maps, an enclosed property called Neue Welt (New World) appears in the middle of the episcopal land, bordered on the north by the Upper Courtyard of the Bishop (Obere Bischofs M[ayer] and on the south by the Lower Courtyard of the Bishop (Untere Bischofs M[ayer]. It is possible the place was refurbished in order to become a summer residence of the bishop. Near this space, along the former riverbed of the Ampoi towards Bărăbanț, was an area called Prater (from Latin pratum, pasture). This was the marshy pasture of the city, which also served as a hunting park (for hares, pheasants and roe deer) and forest for the leisure of the contemporary aristocracy. Next to it, on the bishop’s terrain, a terrace and a park were built.

During World War One, Hungary’s Ministry of Internal Affairs needed a facility where pneumonia patients could recover. With the assistance of Dr Miklós Roska, the mayor of Alba Iulia obtained an agreement from the Roman Catholic bishop, Gusztáv Majláth, to lease this space in order to build a sanatorium. The bishop kept the right to supervise the location but handed over the space to support the recovery of incapacitated soldiers and those afflicted by tuberculosis.

As photos from the Bach collections show, in the interwar period the place became a recreational area. In 1937 it was a nicely arranged place for spending leisure time. City dwellers could enjoy the quiet space with old trees, three four-meter deep lakes, a park maintained by the Society of Hunters, a summer garden where musicians performed, a fishpond and a wharf for boats. This area was popular for relaxing, promenading, boating and having picnic.

In 1941, even though it was a marshy area, the property offered locals (soldiers, priests and civilians) various possibilities for enjoying their free time. They could delight in the quiet landscape, a bridge leading to the middle of the large pond, a pavilion, two buildings and two annexes. In the southern part of the property was a tennis field, a trout pond and a pheasant farm.

Unfortunately, with the arrival of the Communist regime, the place fell into disuse and decayed. In 1963, at the request of mayor, the Roman Catholic Bishopric relocated its farm outside the city (from Dobrogeanu Gherea Street-Blvd 8 Martie) to Lumea Nouă/Ujvilág. Next to the new farm a stable was built, and from 1965, Lumea Nouă (New World) became the agricultural and livestock farm of the Roman Catholic Bishopric. (L.S.)