Recommend Historic Houses of Romania blog to friends and strangers

Historic Houses of Romania blog author at the Central School, designed by arch. Ion Mincu in 1890 in the Neo-Romanian style, Bucharest (photo: arch. Daniela Puia)

Dear readers,

I hope you like the Historic Houses of Romania blog articles about the rich, diverse and highly particular architectural heritage of this region of South East Europe. If that is the case, then why not recommend it to friends, acquaintances or even strangers that might cross your way, or spread the word about the site on your social media or website of choice: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SumbleUpon and whatever else is under the Sun :)

I trust that you will continue to find interesting the new articles which I am constantly preparing, supplemented since last year by the architectural history walking tours in Bucharest and other locations in Romania!

Yours,

Valentin Mandache

Expert in Romania’s historic houses

(Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/casedeepoca Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/casedeepoca)

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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.

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

Kiseleff area, Bucharest: images from last Sunday’s (10 July '11) architectural history & photo tour (©Valentin Mandache)

The photomontage presented here is just a minuscule sample from the extraordinary richness and diversity of historic architecture encompassed within Bucharest’s Kiseleff area, the jewel in the crown for Romania’s capital’s iconic architecture. The tour was well attended by passionate and informed participants and I was only pleased to be their guide! We viewed and photographed a wide range of public and private buildings, from arch. Victor Stefanescu’s “Geological Museum” (1906-’08), a huge and unusual Neo-Romanian style edifice that is like a zoomed in picture of a normal size mansion in that style, or Ion Mincu’s Causeway Buffet (1889-’92), one of the earliest Neo-Romanian style buildings, considered as his most beautiful and accomplished creations, to a multitude of elegant houses in Art Deco, International Modernist, Neo-Romanian of all species and synthetic styles typical of Bucharest’s inter-war period. The tour has thus been a good comprehensive review of what Bucharest had best to offer in terms of historic architecture and I trust that the participants enjoyed this intellectuality loaded day out! :)

Kiseleff area, Bucharest - last Sunday’s (10 July '11) architectural history & photo tour (photo: Romulus Bena, Prietenii Scolii Centrale)

The above photograph presents tour participants listening to yours truly, in front of the Museum of Romanian Peasant, a magnificent palatial Neo-Romanian style building, displaying motifs and symbols from throughout all of Romania’s historic provinces, with references to the Byzantine, Gothic and also Islamic Ottoman models, an architectural message about the geopolitical position of the Romanian lands throughout their history at the junction point of the Christian (both Eastern and Western) and Islamic civilisations. The edifice was designed by arch. Ghica Budesti in 1912 and completed in 1940.

Kiseleff area, Bucharest - last Sunday’s (10 July '11) architectural history & photo tour (photo: Idei Cusute)

Tour participants in front of the Causeway Buffet. The edifice is considered today as one of the most important and seminal Neo-Romanian style structures ever built.

Kiseleff area, Bucharest - last Sunday’s (10 July '11) architectural history & photo tour (photo: Idei Cusute)

Participants at the tour and guide taking a break in a piazzetta off Kisseleff Boulevard, admiring the multitude of grand and flamboyant Neo-Romanian style edifices surrounding them on all sides.

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

!!! The next Sunday (17 July ’11, 9am-12.00) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Patriarchy Hill historic quarter, south-central Bucharest (see a map at this link); meeting point: Piata Unirii tube station (in front of the exit on Boulevard Dimitrie Cantemir, next to Horoscop Restaurant. I look forward to seeing you there !!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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.

Wallachian Art Nouveau

The city of Targoviste, 80 km north-west of Bucharest and a former capital of the old principality of Wallachia, has managed to preserve an important proportion of its architectural heritage during the last seven decades of communist misrule and post-communist wild transition to a market economy in Romania. It has also weathered quite well the calamitous property boom of 2000 -’08, which saw destruction of historic public and private buildings on a larger scale than throughout the entire communist period. One of those interesting historic architecture examples preserved in Targoviste is the house presented in the photographs bellow, displaying Neo-Romanian elements in an Art Nouveau guise. It dates probably from the 1900s and shows signs of extensive subsequent alterations. The edifice is located at one end of city’s old commercial street, near the beautiful Beaux Arts style Targoviste town hall, about which I wrote an article at this link. The Neo-Romanian style has evolved in large part, during its initial stages, within the Art Nouveau current and this building is an interesting product of that period. I apologise for the differences in shade and colour intensity between photographs, due to the various hours and light conditions in which they were shot and subsequently processed.

Wallachian Art Nouveau, house dating from the 1900s, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

I like the Romanian ethnographic motifs giving personality to this house such as the wood carved poles embellishing the oriel balcony or the frieze modelling a peasant embroidery that decorates its street façade.

Targoviste Art Nouveau house displaying Neo-Romanian motifs, house dating from the 1900s (©Valentin Mandache)

The main widow is also a Neo-Romanian type, making references to a church triptych, rendered in an Art Nouveau manner. The geometrical pattern of the wall frieze, easily discernible in this photograph, is inspired from peasant embroideries found in this area of Wallachia.

Neo-Romanian triptych type window in an Art Nouveau guise, 1900s house, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

Wallachian Art Nouveau, house dating from the 1900s, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

The above image shows the oriel balcony adorned with wooden poles carved in a similar manner with those encountered in Wallachian peasant houses.

Wallachian Art Nouveau, detail of the oriel balcony, house dating from the 1900s, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

The main Art Nouveau trait in the design of the balcony is the circle arch, spanning the wooden poles, a reference to the Islamic inspired medieval and early modern architecture of the Ottoman Balkans, a region that also encompassed the former principality of Wallachia.

Wallachian Art Nouveau, the carved wooden poles of the oriel balcony, house dating from the 1900s, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

Wallachian Art Nouveau, side entrance and widows, house dating from the 1900s, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

Other Art Nouveau elements, which are not related to Neo-Romanians motifs, are the two simple doorways embellishing the side of the house, the more remarkable of them looking inspired from the design of a Rennie Mackintosh Argyle chair.

Wallachian Art Nouveau, side doorway (Argyle chair motif), house dating from the 1900s, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

Wallachian Art Nouveau,side doorway, house dating from the 1900s, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

There is another similar design building in Targoviste, about 0.5km away toward the old princely courts, presumably the work of the same architect(s), about whom I hope to find out details in my future fieldtrips to this wonderful southern Romanian city.

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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.

Istrita stone stairs

This is a pleading to those undertaking restoration and renovation works of Romania’s historic buildings to start using again the wonderful Istrtita stone, a local building material that was quarried for centuries by peasants from the villages dotting the the Istrita Hill in Buzau county, eastern Wallachia. It is a greyish brown limestone, resulted over the geological ages from cemented together fossil shells. The stone is found in the structure and decorative elements of many peasant and period town houses or historic public edifices from the region of Buzau, as are the picturesque stairs presented in the photographs bellow that embellish a late 1890s Little Paris style house in Buzau city centre. The Istrita stone was also extensively used in farther away places from Bucharest, Braila or Ploiesti. Its most interesting use is, in my opinion, as material for making traditional peasant crosses, which embellish old village cemeteries in south-eastern Romania. The Istrita stone is now practically forgotten, despite its high significance for the local architectural identity and excellent potential as building material. It has fallen out of grace once the industrially produced concrete became widely available in the 1960s and also because in the last two decades the market has been flooded with cheap imported construction materials, a large proportion of which comes from as far away as China or India.

Istrita stone stairs, Buzau; house from the 1890s (©Valentin Mandache)

Istrita stone stairs, Buzau (©Valentin Mandache)

Istrita Hill, Buzau county, Romania (Google Earth)

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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.

Recommend Historic Houses of Romania blog to friends and strangers

Historic Houses of Romania blog author at the Central School, designed by arch. Ion Mincu in 1890 in the Neo-Romanian style, Bucharest, June ’11 (photo: arch. Daniela Puia)

Dear readers,

This message is just a gentle, loving reminder from the author of this blog that if you like what you see on the Historic Houses of Romania site, why not, then, recommend its articles to friends, acquaintances or even strangers that might cross your way and be interested in the fascinant, but less known architectural heritage found in this corner of South East Europe, or spread the word on your social media or website of choice: Facebook, Twitter, SumbleUpon and whatever else is under the Sun :)

Yours,

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.

The 10 most popular Historic Houses of Romania articles in June 2011

  1. Art Deco Building Interior Elements
  2. Bucharest mid-1930s Art Deco Style House
  3. Bucharest’s Art Deco glass canopies
  4. Psychedelic-like Design Art Deco Doorway
  5. The DOORWAYS of Bucharest – Part 1 (the Little Paris type)
  6. The NEO-ROMANIAN ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: a brief guide on its origins and features
  7. Images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photography tour in Carol Park area
  8. Travel writing: trip to Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum
  9. Imposing Neo-Romanian Style House
  10. The FINIALS of Neo-Romanian style 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.

The 10 most popular Historic Houses of Romania articles in March 2011

  1. Bucharest Art Nouveau style building under arson attack
  2. Art Deco – Modernist street corner house
  3. Neo-Romanian roof finials shaped as steam train smoke stacks
  4. Earthquake Events in Bucharest and Their Effect on Historic Houses
  5. Architectural 1910s letter rendering example from Bucharest
  6. Art Deco Building Interior Elements
  7. Psychedelic-like Design Art Deco Doorway
  8. Neo-Romanian style doorway and gas pipe
  9. Delicate Art Deco wrought iron patterns doorway
  10. The NEO-ROMANIAN ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: a brief guide on its origins and features

The global distribution of the Historic Houses of Romania blog readers on 31 March 2011

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I endeavour through this daily series of 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 Contact page of this weblog.

Solar symbol in local stone

Ethnographic solar symbol (about 70 cm diameter) in lumachel limestone, Buzau (©Valentin Mandache)

The above ethnographic solar symbol adorns the doorway of the remarkable Palace of Justice in Buzau, south east Romania, a building designed by the great architect Petre Antonescu in the Neo-Romanian style with interesting Art Nouveau overtones; edifice completed in 1912. The solar motif features prominently in the Romanian peasant art and is found represented in contexts ranging from sewing patterns to wood and stone carvings. What I like in this particular representation is the fact that is carved in the local lumachel stone (greyish brown limestone, made from cemented together fossil shells). The stone comes from quarries located on the Istrita hill in the Carpathian piedmont (aka the Subcarpathians), not far from the city of Buzau. The stone, known locally as the “Istrita stone” is found in the structure and decoration of many peasant houses or public edifices from that region. It also used to be the main material for making peasant crosses, which imprinted the old local village cemeteries with an extremely picturesque, stone forest like character. The Istrita stone has seen a fatal decline in its use as building material ever since the industrially produced concrete became cheap and widely available in the 1960s, a fact that contributed to the loss of an essential component of the architectural identity and character of the Buzau county.

Above is a Google sattelite map of the Istrita hill

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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.

Article about the the “Historic Houses of Romania” blog in the publication “Romanian Diaspora”

The Romanian language online magazine “Romanian Diaspora” (“Diaspora Romaneasca”) from Italy has published a laudative article about the blog “Historic Houses of Romania” (its Romanian language version: “Case de Epoca”) and its contribution to the dissemination of information and news about the Romanian architectural heritage. I would like here to express, as the author of this blog, my thanks to the editors of “Romanian Diaspora” for the article and their nice words! It is a feeling of great professional satisfaction when my writings and research are thus found interesting and appreciated by people from among the large Romanian expatriate communities from Italy and elsewhere searching for references about their cultural identity.

Articol despre blogul Case de Epoca in publicatia Diaspora Romaneasca Ziarul online “Diaspora Romaneasca” din Italia a publicat pe data de 10 August 2010 un elogios articol despre blogul Case de Epoca, click aici pentru acces la articol. Mentionez mai jos cateva dintre frumoasele si incurajatoarele cuvinte ale redactorilor la adresa scrierilor mele pe tema patrimoniului arhitectural romanesc, pentru care le multumesc: “Oameni ca Valentin Mandache sunt o comoară pentru orice urbe care mai are o fărâmă de istorie, tr … Read More

via Case de Epoca