Winter and history in Bucharest’s Cismigiu Park

The classics of Romanian literature bust statues located in the Writers' Circle area (landscaped in 1943) in Cismigiu Park, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I could not resist the temptation to post some images reflecting the heavy snowfall affecting Bucharest this winter. Cismigiu Park is Bucharest’ oldest city centre park, laid out in its present state in 1910 by the Austrian landscape architect Friedrich Rebhun, famous as the designer of many public and private gardens in Romania of that period. Then, the park had two main design themes: a formal French inspired garden and a ‘natural state’ English garden style sector. Subsequently, the park had acquired a series of smaller sections in a diversity of styles. The snowy bust statues from the collage I made above were put in place in 1943 and represent the classics of Romanian literature (Duiliu Zamfirescu, Alexandru Vlahuţă, Ion Creangă, Ştefan Octavian Iosif, Ion Luca Caragiale, Titu Maiorescu, Alexandru Odobescu, Mihai Eminescu, Vasile Alecsandri, Nicolae Bălcescu, Bogdan Petriceicu Haşdeu and George Coşbuc). They are made from Carrara marble, a gift from Italy, a wartime Axis ally of Romania. In 1943 the war was still quite far away from the country, in the steppes of Russia, but the change of fortunes for Romania as a Nazi ally was already felt in the air, especially after the Stalingrad disaster where the country lost probably over 150,000 (!) soldiers. The statues are an expression of the nationalism of the period and part of the effort of the authorities to stir up patriotism among the locals. The statues are quite run of the mill type, nothing approaching sculptural master-works, in a style combining some vague Art Deco elements and stern Italian Mussolinian lines. They are very picturesque nowadays, arranged in a park circle, surrounded by rich vegetation, a real delight for contemporary Bucharest people, who are mostly oblivious about the quite dramatic history of these statures.

***********************************************

I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.