Filaret – the first train station of Bucharest

Yesterday I organised another architectural history and photography tour, the third one so far, which took place in Carol Park area. One of the landmarks viewed was Filaret train station, the first such public transport facility of Bucharest, a terminus of the first railway on the territory of the then Romania, inaugurated in 1869, linking the capital with the Danube port of Giurgiu. This railway line was vitally important for Bucharest, a city on the threshold of an explosive development after it recently became the capital of the newly established state of Romania, one of the fortuitous geopolitical consequences of the Crimean war, among multiple other factors, of that period. The then Prince Carol I, the future monarch of the country, a meticulous military man, well trained in the management methods typical of the industrial revolution in his native Germany, was personally involved in this essential project for Bucharest’s infrastructure. The locals were thus able to travel and do business much faster, by quickly going to the Danube and embark on steamboats that went all the way to the Black Sea and Istanbul or to Vienna and from there by train to Paris. Also the railway was a lifeline for the city, which was now able to easily bring or send goods to and from most of Europe and the Mediterranean. The flamboyant Little Paris architecture (what I call the French c19th historicist styles provincially interpreted in Romania) emerged in a fulminant manner after the railway came into use. The station functioned until 1960 when it was transformed in a coach station and its rails dismantled. Today is still functioning as a coach station and the building with much of its old early Victorian infrastructure deteriorated and much abused. There are discussions to transform it in a railway museum, but as most such type of public projects in Romania, it will probably take another one or even two decades until something will emerge from that proposal. Until then, Filaret train station, an important industrial architecture identity marker of Bucharest, will continue to face indifference from both public and authorities, abuse and decay. Bellow are some image of how the building looks nowadays, covered with modern paint and plaster and a myriad of billboards and other injuries brought about by the Romanian wild capitalism of the post-communist era.

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, front façade (©Valentin Mandache)

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, unkempt commemorative plaque mentioning its inauguration year (©Valentin Mandache)

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, the station's hall, with its glazed roof missing and interior left open to the elements (©Valentin Mandache)

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, front façade, ornate cast iron corbels dating from the mid c19th (©Valentin Mandache)

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, the front end of the former waiting platforms (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic 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 or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

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