The unexpected rebirth of a Saxon village in Romania

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VISCRI, Romania (AFP) – It could have been the end of the centuries-old village of Viscri in the hills of Transylvania when almost all its inhabitants, Saxons of German origin, left in 1989 at the collapse of communism.

After all, how could such a small village survive in the poor and remote Romanian countryside?

But Romanians -- Roma Gypsies as well as non Roma -- have breathed new life into the picturesque village.

They moved into the abandoned houses and worked with the remaining Saxons to forge a new future based on cultural tourism, sustainable agriculture and a revival of ancient craftsmanship.

Last year more than 11,000 tourists from around the world came to see Viscri's pastel-coloured houses and its fortified church, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Even Britain's Prince Charles has bought a house there.

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