Architectural walking tour in Gara de Nord area on Saturday 8 November

Dear readers

This is an invitation to an architectural history tour in Gara de Nord area of Bucharest, open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog, this coming Saturday 8 November ’14, for two hours, between 11.30h – 13.30h!

I will be your expert guide through this architecturally diverse area surrounding Bucharest’s communication hub with the rest of Romania, the grandiose Northern Train Station (Gara de Nord), an edifice combining stern classical outlines with vitalist Art Deco details. The local built landscape is characterised by interesting old hotels and guest houses, former entrainment places, the famous Roads and Bridges School, which is hosted in a remarkable Fin de Siècle university building, a traditional produce market and  a multitude of dwellings built by the railway workers an other highly skilled professionals in styles ranging from picturesque Little Paris, flamboyant Neo-Romanian to fine Art Deco and Modernist. All of these noteworthy architectural sights from one of the most dynamic and ever changing areas of historic Bucharest are waiting to be discovered and photographed by you! :)

Book by emailing v.mandache@gmail.com or using the comments section of this post. You will be informed of meeting place on booking.

I look forward to seeing you at the tour,

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses (tel: 0040 (0)728323272)

The historic architecture of Gara de Nord area of Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Historic Houses of Romania architectural tour in Gara de Nord area of Bucharest

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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.

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

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.

Architectural tour chronicle (28.08.11): Calea Calarasi area, Bucharest

Architectural history tour chronicle: Calea Calarasi area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The last Sunday’s architectural and photography waking tour took place in Calea Calarasi area of Bucharest, an off the beaten track part of the old city. The light was brilliantly clear, although quite intense, typical for end of summer conditions at this latitude, favourable for observing the otherwise hardly visible small architectural details embellishing the many picturesque houses encountered at every step. The participants had the opportunity to closely examine a balanced mix of Little Paris style houses, craftsman Neo-Romanian buildings and small, but svelte Art Deco dwellings. Apart from those types, we were also able to view two old houses from the Ottoman era displaying forms and motifs encountered from the Balkans to Anatolia. The tour had two highlights: the “discovery” of the magnificent Art Deco edifice of the “Ludovic” shoe factory (one of its superb decorative panels being presented in the photomontage and slideshow here) and the viewing of “Hala Traian” (the “Trajan” Market Hall). I could not find any information about the “Ludovic” factory, which seems to have been a well provided industrial establishment of the inter-war period. Its building is still quite well preserved and a restoration can easily bring the construction to its former architectural Art Deco glory. The “Trajan” market hall is a jewel of Victorian structural engineering, built in 1896 after a design by the Italian architect Giulio Magni, one of the then city hall chief architects. We were able to go inside, which is now occupied by a supermarket, and admire the outstandingly beautiful slender cast iron columns and the impressive ironwork ceiling. The tour ended back at the Ionic order Greek church building, where the congregation invited us to sample same tasty cakes brought for a special religious celebration. I trust that the participants had thus a wonderful cultural Sunday out! :)

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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.

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

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.

Historic Houses of Romania – marking the first 10 Sunday architectural tours

I would like to share with you, dear readers, my joy of concluding last week end of the first 10 Sunday architectural history and photography tours/ walks in diverse areas of old Bucharest. I started running this type of cultural excursion on 5 June ’11 and have been very pleased since to welcome so many participants with diverse backgrounds, ages, natives or from all corners of the world. I trust that my explanations were well received and the tours were a good educational endeavour in matters of Romanian architectural history seen not as an isolated phenomenon, but in a wider international and multidisciplinary context. That type of approach is badly needed in Bucharest and Romania in general, where is an acute deficiency of quality publications and properly qualified professionals in the field of period architecture treated in its complex multifaceted aspects. I hope that in time these tours, together with my blog articles and other projects that I have in store, would bear fruit through an increased public awareness about the beauty of Bucharest’s and Romania’s architectural heritage, its huge importance for the identity of the local communities, conservation and quality tourism.

Bellow are a series of photo-collages amassing together the images published in the blog articles that chronicled each of the tours (a complete list and links to those articles in mentioned under the first photomontage).

Photographs taken during each of the first 10 architectural tours - Historic Houses of Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

List of blog articles chronicling the first 10 Historic Houses of Romania architectural history and photography Sunday tours:

  1. From yesterday’s architectural photography tour of Cotroceni historic quarter, Bucharest
  2. Images from last Sunday’s architectural photo-tour in Mantuleasa historic quarter, Bucharest
  3. Images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photography tour in Carol Park area
  4. Images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photography tour: Cismigiu area
  5. Fire Watchtower area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  6. Kiseleff area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  7. Patriarchy Hill area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  8. Gara de Nord area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  9. Dorobanti area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour
  10. Mosilor area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Generic images: The first 10 architectural tours - Historic Houses of Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

The photomontage above is composed from generic images, representative of each area visited during the tours, which initiated each tour announcement article on the blog.

Tour participants and guide: the first 10 architectural tours - Historic Houses of Romania (photos by Romulus Bena, Dana Cernat, arch. Daniela Puia, Ioana Novac and Valentin Mandache)

The above montage of photographs is composed from snaps taken in the course of the architectural tours depicting participants and guide in diverse locations throughout old Bucharest, which I believe reflects the ethos of those excursions, their intellectual purpose, value and general nice atmosphere.

Map of Bucharest: location of the first 10 architectural tours - Historic Houses of Romania

The map shows the areas covered by the first 10 Sunday architectural tours. There are envisaged another 10 such destinations throughout the old Bucharest (tomorrow is scheduled the 11th such tour, for details, click here), repeats of the popular ones and also tours in relevant locations outside Bucharest! You are of course invited to participate! :)

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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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.

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

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.

Mosilor area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Mosilor area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history and photography tour (©Valentin Mandache)

The tour which I organised last Sunday, 7 August ’11, the tenth such end of the week cultural excursion :), in Mosilor area of Bucharest has been very popular, attended by professionals and students alike, in majority Romanians, as well as people from Ireland or the US, settled or working here. Mosilor is one of the most picturesque and evocative quarters of old Bucharest, being a mostly residential district with a strong identity expressed in its people’s sense of community and delightful historic architecture. The quarter grew around the famous Mosilor fair, which since the c18th, when was first mentioned in documents, took place outside the walls of the old city, on the road that went to Moldova, also known as “Drumul Mare” (the Highway). The fair and quarter around it grew spectacularly once the principalities of Wallachia and Moldova got united, forming Romania, in the aftermath of the Crimea War. Mosilor area, as a consequence, has a relatively high density of exquisite late c19th houses rendered in the “Little Paris style” architecture, what I name the French and other western historicist styles of that period interpreted in a provincial manner in Romania. Another well represented architectural style is the Neo-Romanian, ranging from early examples dating from the last years of the c19th, to hybrids with the Art Deco, erected in the 1930s. There is also a multitude of other styles from different periods- from a late c18th Balkan Ottoman dwelling, to Beaux Arts, Art Deco and Modernist edifices dotting the quaint and leafy streets of Mosilor. I thus trust that the participants enjoyed a good cultural Sunday morning out, full of discoveries and revelations about one of the most loved and enchanting quarters of old Bucharest. :)

Mosilor area: participants and guide during the last Sunday’s architectural history and photography tour (photo: Ioana Novac)

Mosilor area: participants and guide during the last Sunday’s architectural history and photography tour (photo: Ioana Novac)

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!!! The next Sunday (14 August ’11, 9am-12.00) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Domenii hisoric quarter - Casa Scanteii building, north-west-central Bucharest (see a map at this link); meeting point: in the Arch of Triumph square at the Herastrau park entrance in front of the big black public clock. I look forward to seeing you there !!!

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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

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.

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

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.

Gara de Nord area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Gara de Nord area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour (©Valentin Mandache)

Gara de Nord area of old Bucharest is one of the most interesting and architecturally diverse parts of the whole city, but almost always ignored by the tourist books and photo albums now flooding the market or tour companies catering for indigenous and foreign visitors. Therefore last Sunday’s tour was for me something of a mission to put Gara de Nord back on its rightful place on the architectural map of Romania’s capital! I was fortunate to have enthusiastic and highly intelligent participants, who stimulated me even more in that endeavour. We were particularly impressed with the classical majesty, Doric like, of the main portal of Gara de Nord and also its massive Art Deco ornaments depicting winged train wheels crowned by grapevine leaves, symbolising the country (a motif also encountered in Neo-Romanian architecture). Absolutely striking were the decorative panels of the old Dacia Cinema depicting scenes from the silent film era. The stripped-down neo-Renaissance style of the old Polytechnic University edifice, dating from 1886, was again something of a treat. The residential blocks were also teeming with architectural delights, from delicate mascarons and fine wrought iron gates typical of the Little Paris style of the La Belle Époque period, flamboyant Neo-Romanian buildings with impressive roof finials and monumental doorways, to flowery Art Deco ornaments and stern International Modernist style dwellings. I thus trust that the participants enjoyed this rich in architectural history sights tour and will spread the word about Gara de Nord’s architectural nuggets :).

Gara de Nord area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour- guide with tour participants in front of a magnificent wrought iron gate dating from the 1900s (photo: Valentin Mandache)

!!! The next Sunday (31 July ’11, 9am-12.00) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Dorobanti historic quarter, north-central Bucharest (see a map at this link); meeting point: Victoriei tube station (on the Aviatorior Boulevard, the one from where you can see the Air Forces monument). I look forward to seeing you there !!!

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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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.

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

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.

Patriarchy Hill area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Patriarchy Hill area: architectural history & photo tour, 17 July '11 (©Valentin Mandache)

The tour benefited from an unexpectedly breezy weather for this period of the year, which energized even more the enthusiasm of the participants in discovering the architectural intricacies of the edifices that make up the “Acropolis” of Bucharest and its surrounding maize of streets. The Patriarchy Hill contains the oldest buildings in use of Romania’s capital, with fragments datable from the c16th, making up the religious centre and administrative complex of the Romanian Orthodox Church Patriarchate, the institution that heads the main faith of this country. The small private residences sprinkled around the hill are in general in the Little Paris style, popular in the second half of the c19th, when the area was the very heart of the city and of entire Romania, hosting its secular (the Parliament) and temporal centres. The high prestige associated with the buildings in and around the Patriarchy Hill made them architectural models followed by craftsmen and architects in designs implemented in other quarters of Bucharest. We thus had an excellent opportunity to do some interesting “architectural archaeology” reviewing many of the surviving remains of this once illustrious part of the city, now in noticeable decline as in the last one hundred years, Bucharest’s economic, political and cultural centre has slowly moved toward the north. I trust that the participants enjoyed this nostalgic and also intellectual encounter with buildings that in many aspects comprise the essence of what once named the Little Paris of the Balkans! :)

Patriarchy Hill area: architectural history & photo tour, 17 July '11 (photo: Ioana Novac)

Tour participants and guide admiring and photographing some of the exquisite Barncovan style architectural details, some dating from the mid-c17th, used as archetype by the modern era Neo-Romanian style  designers, which embellish the Patriarch’s Palace.

Patriarchy Hill area: architectural history & photo tour, 17 July '11 (photo: Romulus Andrei Bena, http://www.prieteniiscoliicentrale.wordpress.com)

The undersigned giving explanations to tour participants about the picturesque Little Paris style dwellings located on United Principalities street, one of the former high prestige address areas of Bucharest in the c19th, before the centre of government and industry shifted to the north outskirts once the city developed strong trade links with Central and Western Europe, diminishing those with the former Ottoman world to the south.

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

!!! The next Sunday (24 July ’11, 9am-12.00) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Gara de Nord historic quarter, north-west-central Bucharest (see a map at this link); meeting point: Gara de Nord tube station (in front of the exit that faces, is closest to, the Railway Workers Monument). I look forward to seeing you there !!!

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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.

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

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.

Images from the Cismigiu architectural history & photography tour

Architectural history and photography tour in Cismigiu area, 26 June '11, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

We had a very dense architectural tour last Sunday in the Cismigiu area of Bucharest, with the above photomontage probably conveying something from that reality on the ground. This quarter of Romania’s capital is packed with the remarkable creations of some of the most famous native and foreign born architects, active on the local market starting with the last decades of the c19th; personalities such as Giulio Magni, Horia and Ion Creanga, Ion and Tiberiu Niga, Nicolae Cucu, Gheorghe Simotta, Petre Antonescu or Emil Günes, to cite just some of them. Among the many edifices viewed, I also had the opportunity to show and describe to the participants about the less known or even enigmatic details of this brimful with architectural marvels area. One of them is seen at the centre of the photomontage, the bas-relief, adorning a grand Neo-Romanian style building, depicting King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Romania in the ceremonial robes from the Alba Iulia coronation that took place in 1922. The panel is very difficult to notice from the street level and probably that is why it escaped the communist era frenzy of destruction of monuments and buildings connected with the royal past. The tour participants were very international, coming from places like Thailand, France and of course this country. I was honoured to see such a high level of interest in this aspect of Bucharest’s identity and heritage. I trust that the participants had thus a nice and productive intellectual day out!

The next Sunday (3 July ’11, 9am-12.00) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Foisorul de Foc (Fire Watchtower) quarter, east-central Bucharest (see a map at this link); meeting point: in front of the Greek Church (the one like an ancient Greek temple from Pache Protopopescu square). I look forward to seeing you there!

Architectural history and photography tour in Cismigiu area, Bucharest (photo: arch. Daniela Puia)

With the participants at the tour, detailing the intricacies of the early Neo-Romanian style of the Ministry of Education building.

Architectural history and photography tour in Cismigiu area, Bucharest (photo: Dana Cernat)

The tour participants walking within the the round of the classics of the Romanian literature in Cismigiu Park, a landscape architecture design, created to lift the morale at the height of the Second World War when the country was losing hundred of thousands soldiers in the senseless alliance with Nazi Germany at the battle of Stalingrad.

Architectural history and photography tour in Cismigiu area, Bucharest (photo: arch. Daniela Puia)

Tour participants together, admiring the majestic outlines of the Cretzulescu Palace (beginning of c20th), a French Renaissance revival style edifice, one of the early creations of the great architect Petre Antonescu.

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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.

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

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.