The 10 most popular Historic Houses of Romania articles in November 2012

  1. The NEO-ROMANIAN ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: a brief guide on its origins and features
  2. Earthquake Events in Bucharest and Their Effect on Historic Houses
  3. ART DECO Bucharest building damaged through ignorance and avarice
  4. Bucharest mid-1930s Art Deco Style House
  5. CASOTA CONAC: a magnificent Romanian period property with a great potential
  6. Art Deco Style Greek God Bass-Reliefs: Photomontage & Slide Show
  7. Art Deco doorways
  8. Cheerful Art Deco panel
  9. The FOUR BUILDING BOOMS of BUCHAREST
  10. Bucharest Neo-Romanian style windows

The author of Historic Houses of Romania blog at the launch of the Liberal Publishing House

I had the honour to be invited, yesterday 21 Nov. ’12, at the launch of the Liberal Publishing House, in the great company of Mr. Radu Campeanu, a veteran of the National Liberal Party of Romania, who spent many years in the Stalinist prisons and in exile (he is among the main re-founders of the party after the fall of Ceausescu’s dictatorship), and Mr. Varujan Vosganian, a leading member of that National Liberals. I spoke about the Neo-Romanian architectural style and how the building hosting the event, Ionel IC Bratianu House, by architect Petre Antonescu – 1908, is one of the archetypes of this design peculiar to this country. I trust that the speech was received with interest, judging from the images and video-recoding presented bellow. VM

The author of Historic Houses of Romania blog at the launch of the Liberal Publishing House. Venue: Ionel IC Bratianu House, Bucharest, 21 Nov. 2011

The author of Historic Houses of Romania blog at the launch of the Liberal Publishing House. Venue: Ionel IC Bratianu House, Bucharest, 21 Nov. 2011

November sunlight and Little Paris architecture in Bucharest

November light and Little Paris architecture in Bucharest, house dating from the 1880s, Patriarchy Hill area. (Valentin Mandache)

We had a wonderful sunlight this autumn, beginning roundabout the equinox in late September until the time I write, in the second week of November. This season at 45 degree north latitude in continental Europe, where Bucharest is located, seems to be exceedingly propitious for architectural photography, with its clear, crisp atmosphere and intense colours. The images in this post are of a house in the Little Paris style (a term which I use to describe the late c19th architecture of Romania of that period, inspired mainly from French historicist styles, rendered in a provincial manner in this corner of South East Europe), a manner of architectural design that imprinted the identity of Romania’s capital ever since its day of vogue in the La Belle Époque period. The photograph was taken on 8 November at midday. It is a pity that the house and the entire surrounding garden is left derelict and damaged through being exposed to the elements or theft. These houses can be relatively easily and cheaply restored, but the actual citizens of Bucharest seem to not understand yet the fatal loss of their identity and heritage though that kind of damaging communist and post-communist attitude.

November light and Little Paris architecture in Bucharest, house dating from the 1880s, Patriarchy Hill area. (Valentin Mandache)

The 10 most popular Historic Houses of Romania articles in October 2012

  1. Art Deco Building Interior Elements
  2. The NEO-ROMANIAN ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: a brief guide on its origins and features
  3. Bucharest mid-1930s Art Deco Style House
  4. Travel writing: trip to Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum
  5. Church royal chair featuring King Ferdinand’s cypher
  6. ART DECO Bucharest building damaged through ignorance and avarice
  7. Art Deco Style Greek God Bass-Reliefs: Photomontage & Slide Show
  8. CASOTA CONAC: a magnificent Romanian period property with a great potential
  9. The DOORWAYS of Bucharest – Part 1 (the Little Paris type)
  10. The FOUR BUILDING BOOMS of BUCHAREST

Autumnal sky and clouds rushing over Antim Monastery, Bucharest

This is a small sample from Bucharest’s environmental identity: one of the city’s old churches, Antim Monastery, with its majestic cupola towers set against the beautiful autumnal blue sky, peppered with fast moving patches of clouds, so peculiar to this latitude, mid-way between the North Pole and the Equator, in continental Europe.

Short visit to Antim Monastery, Bucharest

The main church of Antim Monastery (1710s), Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I just had a short visit to the beautiful Antim Monastery in the very centre of Bucharest. It is a superb building gathering many motifs and styles from the Ottoman world of the c17th and c18th that I need to thoroughly investigate, analyse and meditate upon.

HM King Michael of Romania – 91st birthday, 25 October 2012

Today is the 91st birthday of HM King Michael of Romania!

Bellow is the article in the British monthly magazine “Majesty” published last year, authored by Diana and the undersigned celebrating His Majesty’s life and achievements:

HM King Michael of Romania: 91st Birthday Anniversary

Originally posted on Diana Mandache's Weblog:

HM King Michael of Romania & HM Queen-Mother Helen of Romania , photographed in 1948 in New York (from my collection)

I would like, together with my husband, to wish from the depth of our hearts A Very Happy Birthday to His Majesty King Michael of Romania!

25 October 2012

HM King Michael of Romania: “I have served the Romanian nation throughout a life that has been long and full of events, some of them happy, many of them unhappy.(…) After freedom and democracy, the most important things to be gained are identity and dignity. Here a major responsibility rests upon the Romanian elite.” (discourse in the Parliament of Romania with the occasion of the 90th birthday celebration, 25 Oct. 2011)

***

Majesty magazine, October 2011, “The History Maker” by Valentin Mandache & Diana Mandache

View original

Street lamps and full moon in Bucharest’s old centre

Street lamps and full moon in Bucharest’s old centre (©Valentin Mandache)

Last week there was a full moon at this latitude and we also had an unusual Indian summer weather for the month of October. I took the photograph above in the evening while walking by Bratianu Boulevard, watching toward one of the side streets around New Saint George’s church, which is a more run down area of Lipscani, the old commercial quarter of Bucharest. In my opinion it conveys something from the peculiar half-Oriental – half-European identity of this city on the eastern edge of the European Union. The ramshackle Little Paris style buildings, small shops and people going about in the warmth of the night, in the clear-obscure generated by the the moonlight in competition with the makeshift street lamps are evocative for that type of character of which Bucharest abounds.

Article in Business Review about the Historic Houses of Romania tours

Article in Business Review (Romania), 1-7 October ’12 issue, about the Historic Houses of Romania tours

The main English language periodical in this country dedicated to the expatriate business community has recently published an auspicious article about the Historic Houses of Romania architectural tours and activity. The piece is written by Anca Ionita, the publisher of this magazine, and can be read at this link: “Bucharest houses with a history”. I was also pleasantly surprised to see an inset with my image and a short description of what I am doing in the field of historic architecture at the top of Business Review’s front page. The expatriate business community is one of my main target audiences, and thus hope that this article would make better known Historic Houses of Romania – Case de Epoca among this highly educated public.

Bucharest ant superhighway

This is a sample of Bucharest’s environmental identity, a metropolis in south east Europe located midway between the North Pole and the Equator, with a temperate continental climate. We had quite an Indian Summer this October 2012 in Romania’s capital, with some apple or chestnut trees flowering again, or ant colonies, such as is the case here, being highly energized to look for food or change the place of their colony, when they should normally prepare for hibernation. Is this another proof that there is a climate change process going on?

Church royal chair featuring King Ferdinand’s cypher

Church royal chair with King Ferdinand’s cypher, Mantuleasa church, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

A number of Romanian orthodox rite historic churches in Bucharest and other places of importance throughout Romania contain ceremonial chairs, named “thrones”, dating mostly from the period of the Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen dynasty (1866-1947) destined for the use of the metropolitan/ patriarch and of the chief of state who at one time or another visited, consecrated or re-consecrated that building. The chair destined for the sovereign (there were two chairs if he was accompanied by his spouse) usually displays the cypher of the crowned head who first visited the building, assisted or gave his blessing to those important ceremonies, sometimes also containing other hallmarks of Romanian royalty, such as the crown or coat of arms. A royal or princely cypher is a monogram of the reigning ruler, formally approved and used on official documents or displayed on public buildings and other objects of public use or owned by the state, such as postal boxes or military vehicles, etc.

The image above shows an interesting example of a royal chair from Mantuleasa church in Bucharest (a beautiful Brancovan style monument, restored in 1924 – ’30, in the reign of King Ferdinand and his descendant, King Carol II), photographed during a recent Historic Houses of Romania tour in that area. The chair displays Ferdinand’s cypher, a stylised back-to-back double “F”, as he was the monarch who officially inaugurated the restoration works. On top of chair’s back there is also an interesting representation of Romania’s state crown, the famous steel crown made from the melted metal of a canon captured in the 1877 Independence War. The whole assembly is rendered in the mature phase Neo-Romanian style, with ethnographic solar discs and acanthus/ vine leave carvings, constituting an interesting ceremonial furniture example expressed in the national design style. King Ferdinand’s cypher is a rare sight nowadays, the chair presented here bringing back memories of this remarkable sovereign, who strove all his life to keep a reserved and dignified public profile.

Church royal chair featuring King Ferdinand’s cypher

Church royal chair with King Ferdinand’s cypher, Mantuleasa church, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

A number of Romanian orthodox rite historic churches in Bucharest and other places of importance throughout Romania contain ceremonial chairs, named “thrones”, dating mostly from the period of the Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen dynasty (1866-1947) destined for the use of the metropolitan/ patriarch and of the chief of state who at one time or another visited, consecrated or re-consecrated that building. The chair destined for the sovereign (there were two chairs if he was accompanied by his spouse) usually displays the cypher of the crowned head who first visited the building, assisted or gave his blessing to those important ceremonies, sometimes also containing other hallmarks of Romanian royalty, such as the crown or coat of arms. A royal or princely cypher is a monogram of the reigning ruler, formally approved and used on official documents or displayed on public buildings and other objects of public use or owned by the state, such as postal boxes or military vehicles, etc.

The image above shows an interesting example of a royal chair from Mantuleasa church in Bucharest (a beautiful Brancovan style monument, restored in 1924 – ’30, in the reign of King Ferdinand and his descendant, King Carol II), photographed during a recent Historic Houses of Romania tour in that area. The chair displays Ferdinand’s cypher, a stylised back-to-back double “F”, as he was the monarch who officially inaugurated the restoration works. On top of chair’s back there is also an interesting representation of Romania’s state crown, the famous steel crown made from the melted metal of a canon captured in the 1877 Independence War. The whole assembly is rendered in the mature phase Neo-Romanian style, with ethnographic solar discs and acanthus/ vine leave carvings, constituting an interesting ceremonial furniture example expressed in the national design style. King Ferdinand’s cypher is a rare sight nowadays, the chair presented here bringing back memories of this remarkable sovereign, who strove all his life to keep a reserved and dignified public profile.

The 10 most popular Historic Houses of Romania articles in September 2012

  1. The NEO-ROMANIAN ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: a brief guide on its origins and features
  2. Bucharest mid-1930s Art Deco Style House
  3. Travel writing: trip to Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum
  4. Art Deco Style Greek God Bass-Reliefs: Photomontage & Slide Show
  5. CASOTA CONAC: a magnificent Romanian period property with a great potential
  6. Princess’ Nest: a royal tree house in the Transylvanian Alps
  7. Photographs form “Bucharest as the Little Paris of the Balkans” tour on 30 August ’12
  8. Revolving Art Deco Stairs
  9. Masonic Symbol on a Neo-Romanian Style Panel
  10. Early Neo-Romanian style house in Campina

Clamshell doorway awnings from the La Belle Époque period in Ploiesti

Bellow are two wonderful clamshell house entrance awnings that I photographed in Ploiesti, the oil town 60km north of Bucharest. They date from the La Belle Époque period (late Victorian and Edwardian periods) and belong as an architectural “species” to the Art Nouveau current, constituting a part of what I call the Little Parish style built landscape of the urban areas of that period in Romania. The clamshell awnings are widespread in Bucharest, which make me consider them as one of the main architectural symbols of Romania’s capital, but also popular throughout the country before the Great War (which was then formed by the provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia, without Transylvania). Ploiesti was developing spectacularly in that era on the proceeds of the newly emerging oil economy and as an important regional market town. The clamshell awnings are a superb reminder of those times of economic boom and architectural finery.

Clamshell doorway awning from the La Belle Époque period in Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)

Clamshell doorway awning from the La Belle Époque period in Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)

Clamshell doorway awning from the La Belle Époque period in Ploiesti (©Valentin Mandache)