Gad is not the easiest place to find inside the Timiş county (you can find a complete route here), especially because the last 10-15 km are to be traveled on a narrow stone way, through a field. We went there last fall. After several kilometers of traveling through wilderness, we were getting sceptic about finding an old noble residence out there. When we were almost deciding to call it quits and return to Timişoara, we noticed a hill in our path. From there we were able to see the houses and the church tower. Five minutes later, we were stopping in front of the Gudenus Mansion of Gad.
Village named after the Voivode Glad
The legend says that the name of the village Gad was chosen in the honor of the Romanian voivode Glad. Before the year 1000, in these parts, a grand battle with the Hungarian troops took place. The village was first documented in 1333. Today, Gad appears to be a village hidden from sight, located on the bank of the Timiş River, in a valley surrounded by hills. Around 1720, the village was mentioned as being of Romanian origin. The colonizations of German families would have taken place a short time after. In 1900, the locals of Gad were about 35% Serbian, fact sustained by the existence of the Serbian Church here.
Today, there are only 190 souls in the village. The houses look just like they did a few tens or hundreds of years ago, from where the feeling of turning back in time. Others are abandoned, destroyed. Only a few of them have made it, the ones who probably have wealthier owners, being painted in lively colors (pink, raw green, light blue) on the front – contrasting with the Gudenus Mansion, that waits patiently to bloom again.
Gad, the Fodor family estate
Too many things about the Gudenus Mansion are not known. It is suspected that, after Banat’s liberation from under the Turkish domination and its passing under the Austrian administration, the entire village would have been bought by the Fodor noble family. They are believed to also be the ones that built the actual mansion, at the beginning of the 19th century. Since then and until the interbelic period, the noble residence has changed several owners. The last family remembered is Hugo and Bela Gudenus, from whom the name also remained.
The Gudenus Mansion has served for several years as a location for the village school, after which it was left to the will of faith. Today it is the property of the Ghilad City Hall. A local told us that, 30 years ago, a Hungarian baron would have owned this place. Someone from the baron’s family came around, from Budapest, and when they noticed in what state it was, they gave it up as an inheritance. […] No one came by since then, not even the CAP. It was just abandoned. The word that travels is that they plan to restore it, but beats me… They searched, some people came and measured from one side to the other, to the church. They even checked the foundation to make sure if it was good. They said that it was good and it was worth restoring it. Unless they’re lying, they said that starting in spring they would repair it and restore it to how it once was. We shall see what happens!
The missing castle from Fodorhausen
In the year 1939, the Fodorhausen village is dissolved, being attached to the Gad village (reason for which the village also bears this second name). Even though it is considered that Fodorhausen is at a small distance away from Gad, on some maps of Banat, the old village is almost 2 km away (an example on Mapire and an article, in German, which makes a reference to this subject). It is supposed that Fodorhausen (or Fodorháza = Fodor’s House) was the first residence of the noble family, and that a castle would have existed. It is considered to have disappeared before the village was dissolved but it is sometimes remembered by the Gad locals. Still, in Gad there was another mansion, from which today only ruins remain.
Regarding the Gudenus Mansion, a description of its current degradation state would be superfluous, as a proof being the following photographs. According to the Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony, the Gudenus Mansion from Gad was declared a historical monument (under the code TM-II-m-B-20180). We can only hope that the local with whom we have talked last year was right and the building will regain its original beauty.
Written by Alexandra Palconi. Translated by Doiniţa Spuză.
Photo credit: Flavius Neamciuc