Fund-raising for historic building restoration in the 1920s

1920s postcard sold to raise funds for the restoration of the "New St George's Chruch in Bucharest (private collection)

This is an interesting piece of fund-raising history for the restoration of ancient buildings, dating from the 1920s. It shows how the then Bucharest people were probably much more preoccupied with saving the city’s architectural heritage than their actual counterparts; a measure of the how gravely the identity of the locals has been eroded during the communist regime and the last two decades of chaotic transition to a market economy. The text on the postcard translates as follows: “Save the New St George’s church historical monument from becoming a ruin, there where the great Prince Constantin Brancoveanu lies”. The proceeds from the print sale were intended for the structural consolidation and restoration works of the New St George’s Church in central Bucharest, one of the most important basilicas of the city, where it is said that the headless body of the Prince Constantin Brancoveanu rests. The prince was beheaded in 1714 by the Ottoman overlords in Istanbul on treason charges (suspected of covertly joining Russia’s Tsar Peter the Great in his 1711 unsuccessful offensive in Moldova). Prince Brancoveanu is a pivotal figure in Romanian history, being known as an able administrator of Wallachia and a fabulously wealthy aristocrat (the Ottoman overlords even nicknamed him “Altin Bas”/ the “Golden Prince”) and builder of fine palaces and churches. The architectural style that emerged in the late c17th and early c18th as the result of Brancoveanu’s building programme is called “Brancovenesc” or sometime “Romanian Renaissance” style, a fascinating synthesis between the Byzantine, Ottoman, Renaissance and Baroque architecture that precedes and inspires the modern Neo-Romanian architectural style.

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

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing 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.