Sunday 24 August: Architectural walking tour in Calea Calarasi historic area

Dear readers,

This is an invitation to an architectural walking tour in Calea Calarasi historic area of Bucharest: open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog, this Sunday 24 August ’14, for two hours, between 14.00h – 16.00h.

I will be your guide through this quaint Bucharest quarter, reminiscent of its heydays as the Little Paris of the Balkans, but also containing a multitude of fine Neo-Romanian, Art Deco and vernacular style architectures. Apart from those types, there are also a few old houses from the Ottoman era displaying forms and motifs encountered from the Balkans to Anatolia. Calea Calarasi area is located in the centre-east of the old city, which took off as a commercial quarter in the first part of the c19th, when Bucharest was still firmly within the orbit of the Ottoman Empire’s economy and the city was expanding along the road that went toward the then Turkish ports of the maritime Danube and the Black Sea. There are many hidden architectural gems that speak of the social history and tastes of those bygone ages. Most of the edifices are domestic buildings, a fact which adds to the discreet charm of their design. Among the few commercial edifices is the “Trajan” market hall, a jewel of Victorian cast iron structural engineering, built in 1896 after a design by the Italian architect Giulio Magni, one of the then city hall chief architects. Calea Calarasi used to be a very cosmopolitan place, with a large Jewish population and other ethnic communities, an open encyclopaedia of Bucharest’s social and architectural history in its most intimate setting, that of the old families that can trace their roots to the small traders of the Ottoman era. All of that enchanting architecture is waiting for you to be discovered and photographed! :)

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)

Historic Houses of Romania walking tour: the architecture of Calea Calarasi area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Historic Houses of Romania tour: Calea Calarasi area map

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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.

Architectural tour in Dacia – Eminescu – Polona historic area – Saturday 23 August

Dear readers

This is an invitation to an architectural history walking tour in the area centred on Dacia – Eminescu and Polona streets of Bucharest, endowed with some of the best quality historic architecture of Romania’s capital, open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog on Saturday 23 August 2014, for two hours, between 10.30h – 12.30h.

I will be your expert guide in this distinguished Bucharest quarter, packed with high impressive building designs, especially Neo-Romanian, belonging to its mature (such as the image on the left) and late flamboyant phases, along with Art Deco or Modernist designs. Dacia also encompasses Little Paris and a multitude of mixed style buildings of a powerful personality. The architects of many of these structures were from among the golden inter-war generation of such highly regarded professionals of Romania, among them Jean Monda or Jean Burcus. The zone is in large part residential, with a number of foreign embassies in its midst, and also because of the good state of its period edifices and agreeable urban planning dating from the first decades of the c20th, is also considered one of the prestigious districts of Bucharest. All of that delightful landmark architecture is waiting for you to be discovered and examined!

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)

Historic Houses of Romania architectural tour in Dacia area, Bucharest

Historic Houses of Romania architectural tour in Dacia area, Bucharest

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Architectural tour after working hours: Art Deco and Modernist Bucharest – Thursday 21 August

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you this Thursday 21 August ’14, to a thematic walking tour, scheduled to take place after the working hours, between 18.00h – 20.00h, on the subject of the Art Deco and inter-war Modernist architectural designs of Bucharest. The tour may be of interest to any of you visiting the city as a tourist or on business looking to find out more about its fascinating historic architecture and identity.

The Art Deco style, peculiar to the “roaring ’20s” and the 1930s was the first truly global architecture, embraced with gusto by the Bucharest people and the rest of Romania. The city became in those years a veritable Art Deco architectural regional “power“, embellished with high quality edifices in this style, many of which are still around, for us to admire and investigate, despite the terrible historical upheavals of the last eight decades in this part of Europe. A favorite Art Deco theme in Bucharest was that of the ocean liner, reflecting the longing of inter-war locals to travel to exotic places in the southern seas, far away from the local Siberia-like winters. The inter-war Modernist style and syntheses between Art Deco and Modernism are also well represented in Bucharest, with creations signed by talented architects such as Horia Creanga or Duiliu Marcu. That great multitude of buildings were developed on a solid economic background when Romania was one of the main oil exporters of the world and also an important agricultural producer. The present tour endeavours to locate and explain some of the representative edifices in the Art Deco style  in central Bucharest and give you a well referenced overall image about how these designs impacted the identity of this city and Romania in general.

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)

Art Deco Bucharest – architectural tour

Historic Houses of Romania architectural tour: Art Deco Bucharest

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

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.

Balchik, a resort with Romanian royal connections on the shore of the Black Sea

Today most of the Romanian Black Sea shore is, with the exception of the Danube Delta area, a mostly uninteresting flat plain, dotted with large industrial facilities and grey communist era hotel and residential developments. However, the country had between 1913 – 1916 and 1918 – 1940 a southern rocky seaboard with spectacular vistas, which is now part of Bulgaria. In the inter-war period Queen Marie of Romania built there, in the port city of Balchik (the ancient Greek colony of Dionysopolis, founded in c7th BCE), her most remarkable holiday palace, endowed with a magnificent garden and a multitude of guest houses, over a period stretching a decade, from 1927 to 1936. Some of the best Romanian architects of the time contributed with their creations, such as Emil Gunes or Henriette Delavrancea Gibory. Taking the queen’s example, many well to do Romanians also erected summer residences of a superb architectural quality that are still in large part in place and well looked after. The coast around Balchik faces the south and is protected behind by a series of rocky hills and cliffs from the cold winds and winter weather that come over the open Pontic steppe from as far as Siberia and menaces most of the rest of the country.

The inter-war period has thus been a glorious time for Balchik, which saw the wealthy spending summers in the luxury of their seashore villas, and the emergence of a remarkable painters’ and writers’ colony that took advantage of the glorious southern sunlight, appealing coastal landscape and enjoying the picturesque and welcome of the local community that was in important part Turkish, Tatar and Bulgarian.

Balcic - villa Tenha Yuvah - Diana Mandache collection

Balchik – villa Tenha Yuvah (Turkish for “Quiet Nest”) within the Royal Palace grounds – Diana Mandache collection

Queen Marie and her family spent many a great summer holiday at her palace and gardens in Balchik, taking pleasure fast boat rides along the shore. Everything exuded the happiness and well-being peculiar of that period of history, much the same as other European aristocrats, wealthy individuals or famous artists enjoyed places in the Mediterranean or the Gulf of Mexico.

Romanian Royals enjoying a boat ride, Balcic - Diana Mandache collection

Romanian Royals enjoying a boat ride, Balchik – Diana Mandache collection

Remarkable for Balchik and the times when Marie put it on the holiday map as an idyllic place, was the worlds apart contrast of life and aspirations with the Soviet Union’s Black Sea shore communities, over the not far away border. Balchik’s flourishing years as a royal resort overlap with Stalin’s party purges, the killing and sending to prison of countless wretched souls. Romania in less than a decade after Marie built her seaside palace became one of its first victims.

This post was initially published on Diana Mandache’s weblog under our joint authorship.

Images from the “Neo-Romanian style at its apogee” architectural tour on 6 September

The Neo-Romanian style at its apogee – Historic Houses of Romania architectural tour

The mature phase of the Neo-Romanian style unfurled over a period that started with the Great Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1906 in Bucharest when this order was presented to the wider public, until the end of the third decade of the c20th, when it reached a certain impasse under the impact of international artistic and architectural currents and adaptation to new building technologies, which later gave way to fascinating hybridisations with the Art Deco and Modernist styles. The illustrates of this post present some of the representative edifices in this highly particular design from the centre of Bucharest.

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Photos from the architectural walking tour in Piata Victoriei area on 1 September ’12

Historic Houses of Romania walking architectural tour in Piata Victoriei area, Bucharest

The character of Piata Victoriei historic area of central Bucharest has been in large part determined by the architecture embellishing two important boulevards that cross the quarter: Calea Victoriei, the oldest thoroughfare of Romania’s capital, and Lascar Catargiu, an artery opened in the late c19th as a show-piece of the then modern urban planning and architecture, roads that meet in the great square Piata Victoriei that hosts Romania’s government’s headquarters. This blog post shows a sample of the designs viewed at the recent Historic Houses of Romania in the area.

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Photographs form “Bucharest as the Little Paris of the Balkans” tour on 30 August ’12

Bucharest as the Little Paris of the Balkans – Historic Houses of Romania tour

The Little Paris style is an umbrella term which I use to define the architecture inspired especially from French c19th styles, rendered in a provincial manner that acquired a personality of its own in Fin de Siècle Romania and also to a lesser extent to the rest of the Balkans, reflecting the modernisation of the society and fusion in architecture of the western fashions together with local forms. Bucharest is the best place in the entire region to view and study that peculiar type of architecture that emerged in this part of Europe, which because of its high concentration and relatively good state of preservation, is still an important component of the local built landscape. The photographs presented here were shot during the Historic Houses of Romania tour of a few days ago, representing a small sample from the great multitude of such picturesque houses of Bucharest.

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Images from the “Late phase of the Neo-Romanian style” architectural tour on 25 August ’12

Historic Houses of Romania – Case de Epoca tour, 25 August ’12: the late phase of the Neo-Romanian architectural style

I would like to share with you a small sample from the magnificent multitude of Neo-Romanian style houses that belong to the late phase of the development of this design peculiar to Romania, which were viewed and examined during the 25 August ’12 tour guided by the author of this blog. In basic terms it represents a synthesis between the Neo-Romanian and mainly Art Deco, or said differently- the national architecture of Romania expressed in the Art Deco coordinates of the period between the late 1920s and the mid-1940s. The modern construction technologies that emerged in the roaring twenties affording the development of light, airy structures expressed in the Art Deco and Modernist architecture, were quite antithetical to the traditionally heavy, built in brick and masonry, Neo-Romanian style edifices, as typical to its early and mature phases of the previous four decades. That led to a crisis within this indigenous architectural order, threatened by the high popularity among the public of the international modern styles, which were all the rage in Bucharest during the 1930s. The Neo-Romanian style managed to survive and even thrive, until the watershed of the Second World War, through fascinating syntheses especially with the Art Deco designs.

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Architectural tour in central Bucharest for the President of Croatia

His Excellency Mr. Ivo Josipović, the President of Croatia, and Valentin Mandache, the author of Historic Houses of Romania – Case de Epoca blog, 1 July ’12, Bucharest

I had the great honour today to show and talk about the historic architecture of central Bucharest to the President of Croatia, His Excellency Mr. Ivo Josipović. There is a year since I started architectural tours of the capital and other Romanian cities and I hope that my explanations gave to the high guest a good round up image about the history of this metropolis’ built landscape in its multifaceted aspects, from social, economic, to the geopolitical one. Mr. President is a high calibre intellectual, a lawyer by training and noted composer of classical music, which made my task to communicate the knowledge a real pleasure, and at the same time challenging through the multitude of punctual and contextual details which I had to provide.

Images from today’s architectural history tour in Matei Basarab area of Bucharest

Historic Houses of Romania: Sunday 22 April '12 architectural tour in Matei Basarab area of Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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Video-invitation to architectrual tour in Matei Basarab area of Bucharest, Sunday 22 April

 

Details at http://wp.me/pFpRa-3Gt

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)

Images from today’s tour about the early phase of the Neo-Romanian architectural style

Historic Houses of Romania walking tour, Satuday 14 April '12: the early phase of the Neo-Romanian architectural style (©Valentin Mandache)

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Video-invitation to Historic Houses of Romania architectrual tours: Staurday 14 and Monday 16 April ’12

Details at http://wp.me/pFpRa-3F5 and http://wp.me/pFpRa-3Fj

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)

Images from the Art Deco style walking tour on Saturday 7 April ’12

Images from last Saturday, 7 April '12, Historic Houses of Romania walking tour: Bucharest's Art Deco architectural style (©Valentin Mandache)

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iPhone photos from the Sunday 1 April ’12 tour in Cismigiu historic area of Bucharest

Bellow are two iPhone photos, which I took during the architectural history tour in Cismigiu area of of Bucharest. The architecture viewed and examined together with the participants was very diverse, from late c19th Little Paris style to species of Neo-Romanian, Art Deco and wonderful modernism. The iPhone images are telling samples of small period details, which are in a way the salt and pepper of such tours. The first photograph presents a very well preserved Little Paris style doorhandle assembly, dating from the La Belle Époque period, while the second photo shows the name plate of a 1930s window blinds manufacturer, whose products, imported from Munich, still cover the windows of an Art Deco apartment block in the Cismigiu area.

Historic Houses of Romania: Cismigiu architectural tour, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Historic Houses of Romania: Cismigiu architectural tour, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)