“The Crown of Romania”, a documentary film produced by Sahia Studios

This is a trailer from the documentary film entitled “Coroana Romaniei” (“The Crown of Romania”), directed by Marian Baciu from Sahia Studios in Bucharest, produced in 2010. The author of this blog  presents within the section dedicated to His Majesty King Michael, together with the historian Diana Mandache who also details the reigns of King Carol I and Carol II. King Ferdinand and his achievements are likewise surveyed.

Art Deco style street lamppost

The Art Deco street lampposts are a very rare occurrence in Bucharest. The doorway lamps in this style are, on the contrary, encountered in a great multitude of interesting designs, as I documented some month ago in this photomontage. I have been quite lucky to spot the wonderful street lamppost shown in the photographs bellow, as it is most of the year obscured by the foliage of the trees from a small park that once, decades ago, it used to illuminate. Its shape is very similar with another lamppost which I found in the Spain Square of Bucharest last year, but has ampler dimensions and with some added features. I like especially the three stepped (in tone with Art Deco’s rule of three) cap that crowns the lamp. Sadly the lamppost is now out of use, but can probably be easily put back in working order if there is enough will in that regard from the city’s authorities.

1930s Bucharest Art Deco style street lamppost, Jules Michelet area.(©Valentin Mandache)

1930s Bucharest Art Deco style street lamppost, Jules Michelet area. (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour 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 Contact page of this weblog.

“Historic Houses of Romania” mentioned on EU’s Reseau Art Nouveau Network site

Dear readers,

I am delighted to tell you that the “Historic Houses of Romania“ blogsite is mentioned on one of the leading internet resources dedicated to the Art Nouveau style, the website Reseau Art Nouveau Network. This is a site developed under the EU’s auspices by institutions from a number of countries with a rich Art Nouveau heritage. Romania has only two mentions there, one of them being this blog, which can be found at the Links section scrolling down the list of countries to the entry for Romania.

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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I endeavour 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 Contact page of this weblog.

Vestiges of a round Art Nouveau doorway window

Art Nouveau style round doorway window vestiges, 1900s house, Louis Berthelot area, Bucharest (©Valenitn Mandache)

This is a bit of urban archaeology: I found hidden behind dense bush and tree branches the vestiges of a quite rare for Bucharest Art Nouveau style round doorway window that has seen better days many decades ago, during the period of La Belle Époque. It adorns a house built in the early 1900, now heavily altered and left neglected by its occupants. The property was confiscated by the communist regime from its rightful owners probably in the early 1950s and is inhabited ever since by poorly educated state tenants.

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I endeavour 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.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Vestiges of a round Art Nouveau doorway window

Art Nouveau style round doorway window vestiges, 1900s house, Louis Berthelot area, Bucharest (©Valenitn Mandache)

This is a bit of urban archaeology: I found hidden behind dense bush and tree branches the vestiges of a quite rare for Bucharest Art Nouveau style round doorway window that has seen better days many decades ago, during the period of La Belle Époque. It adorns a house built in the early 1900, now heavily altered and left neglected by its occupants. The property was confiscated by the communist regime from its rightful owners probably in the early 1950s and is inhabited ever since by poorly educated state tenants.

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I endeavour 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.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Art Deco jays

Art Deco style architectural panel with jay motifs, house from the early 1930s, Academia Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I very much like the Art Deco style bird theme composition from the above panel. It contains two well rendered jays surrounded by what looks like pearl or other sort of bead strings, suggesting the well known habit of these birds to steal and hoard such objects in their nest. Perhaps the symbolism of this panel refers to the character and peculiarities of the first owner-builder of this house- a person who amassed his/ her wealth constituted from precious objects (perhaps a jeweller) as the good old jays do.

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I endeavour 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.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Art Deco jays

Art Deco style architectural panel with jay motifs, house from the early 1930s, Academia Romana area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I very much like the Art Deco style bird theme composition from the above panel. It contains two well rendered jays surrounded by what looks like pearl or other sort of bead strings, suggesting the well known habit of these birds to steal and hoard such objects in their nest. Perhaps the symbolism of this panel refers to the character and peculiarities of the first owner-builder of this house- a person who amassed his/ her wealth constituted from precious objects (perhaps a jeweller) as the good old jays do.

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I endeavour 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.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

The symbols of “Romania’s Economy” within the architectural panoply from the Ministry of Agriculture building in Bucharest

This is a video-description of one of the amplest and best designed architectural panoplies symbolising the economy Romania during the Fin de Siècle period, inspired from the Greek – Roman mythology, hosted on the building of the Ministry of Agriculture in Bucharest, designed in 1895 by the French architect Louis Blanc.

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I endeavour 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 Contact page of this weblog.

King Michael of Romania’s radio message broadcast on 24 February 1997 (via Diana Mandache’s Weblog)

I would like to invite you to listen to HM King Michael of Romania’s radio message to the nation, broadcast 14 years ago by Radio Free Europe, shortly before he was allowed to return to Romania by officially regaining the country’s citizenship, abusively withdrawn by the communist regime nearly five decades before, on 2 February 1948. It is a highly emotional instance to listen to such a remarkable personality that has suffered with such a high d … Read More

via Diana Mandache’s Weblog

Veranda ethnographic wooden poles

I found quite interesting the way how the ethnographic wooden poles presented in the photographs bellow are placed in groups of three at the corner of these verandas belonging to Neo-Romanian style houses. That peculiarity could on the one hand be the result of structural requirements, to reinforce the corner of the veranda structure, or on the other hand be a Christian reference to the symbol of Trinity, often encountered in the Romanian ethnography and peasant art.

Veranda ethnographic wooden poles, early 1930s Neo-Romanian style house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)


Veranda ethnographic wooden poles, late 1920s Neo-Romanian style house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)


Veranda ethnographic wooden poles, late 1920s Neo-Romanian style house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour 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.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Mid-1930s Bucharest Art Deco doorways

Art Deco style doorway, mid-1930s block of flats, Opera area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The doorway above is designed around what it seems to be a flamboyant 1930s car radiator or power transformer theme, which is extremely evocative of the dynamism that characterised the inter-war machine era from which the Art Deco style draws a great deal of its inspiration.

Art Deco style doorway, mid-1930s apartment house, Regina Maria area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This example is tamer from the point of view of decorative motifs and design, being quite a “classical” looking Art Deco style doorway, of nice, harmonious proportions. Its most remarkable elements are, in my opinion, the two curved profile lateral lamps, which in the 1930s, in the days when the doorway came into existence, imprinted a conspicuous air of modernity to the whole building architecture.

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I endeavour 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 Contact page of this weblog.

The former Lloyd shipping company’s offices from the 1900s Bucharest

A while ago, while walking in central Bucharest, I discovered what  I believe are the former Norddeutschcer Lloyd shipping company’s offices that were active in the pre-World War One city. Norddeutscher Lloyd has been one of the major shipping companies of the world, which in 1970 merged with Hamburg America Line (HAPAG) to form the contemporary transport giant HAPAG Lloyd. The bygone bureau is located in a quite non-descript Fin de Siècle building on the Brezoianu Street, close to the intersection with Boulevard Elisabeta. It is remarkable that the inscription mentioning the company name has survived in the last century of vicissitudes and tragedies that have nearly permanently threatened the architectural fabric of Romania’s capital. The inscription is in German: “Rumänischer Lloyd” (The Romanian Lloyd) and indicates the fact that the local bureau has probably been a branch of the company functioning in the then Wilhelminain/ Victorian Germany. The building is now inhabited by a number of families and is in a quite bad state of repair. The old Little Paris style doorway that adorned the entrance, has been replaced a few years ago by a modern metallic contraption of which probably the ignorant proprietors dwelling in this edifice are probably very proud.

1900s Lloyd offices, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

1900s Lloyd offices, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

1900s Lloyd offices, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

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

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.

Unusual conical structure

Strange conical structure dating probably from the WWII period, Campina (©Valentin Mandache)

I encountered the unusual structure in the photograph above during my trip to Campina last autumn. It reminded me like a flashback from my childhood of similar structures which I seen in my very early years in some Romanian train stations: steep conical or ogee profile concrete roofs, a quite terrifying sight for a child, usually sitting next to the trains station main building. Most of them were demolished in the last two or three decades and probably only a handful still exists now. From what I remember, the locals there said that these unusual constructions were bomb shelters designed in such a way to repel the deadly blows and shrapnel of airplane launched bombs. Many Romanian cities, especially the oil towns such as Campina, have seen a great deal of bombing from the Allies as well as from the Luftwaffe during the Second World War and was not a real surprise the building of bomb shelters to alleviate somehow that menace. I am however not entirely convinced of their role as bomb-shelter, especially if you notice the large windows from the base of the example presented above. They look strangely similar with the overnight prisons, the “lock ups“, built in c18th and early c19th in small English towns before the establishment of the state police force. Could this structure from Romania have had the same role during the war time or the early Stalinist period? Perhaps some of my readers have more precise information about the role of that type of highly unusual structure!

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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.

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

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.

Communist era “votive” panels

Communist era “votive” panels, Unirii Square area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I found the two bas-relief like panels presented above, hanging on the wall of a ground floor veranda of an apartment block in the Unirii Square area of Bucharest. They date from the height of the communist era in the 1970s and, looking at their typology, seem inspired from the paintings and creations of Sabin Balasa, a famous Romanian abstract painter active throughout the communist period and after. The panel from the upper half signifies the progress of society through modern industry, depicting a forward leaning worker, backed by a turbine generator and holding his hands on something that look as the elements of a power grid. The lower half panel symbolises education represented by a woman holding a torch that enlightens the masses, seconded by a flag signifying the communist party spirit, battling strong headwinds (a personification of the opposition put by the class enemies, perhaps). The whole assembly is reminiscent of a deeply troubling era for Romania and the outlines of the two panels bring to the fore striking similarities with the visual arts of the Third Reich or the Soviet Union in the 1930s, giving a hint of the strange roots of those dictatorial art trends in the Art Deco era in Europe.

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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.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian style ethnographic roof finials

Neo-Romanian style ethnographic roof finials, late 1920s house house, Mantuleasa area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

There is high diversity of Neo-Romanian style roof finials ranging from simple round shapes to those encompassing Byzantine and Ottoman motifs or highly abstract appearances, or even, in some cases, suggesting fearsome medieval weaponry (spiky maces). The ones inspired from ethnographic motifs and artefacts are represented in a quite small proportion among that multitude; the photographs above presents two such rarer interesting examples. They resemble the carved wooden poles (the upper half image is an abstraction of a haystack or wheatsheaf formed around a carved wooden pole), an element very peculiar to the Romanian peasant art and other ancestral communities from the Carpathian Mountains region.

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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.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.