Art Nouveau pavilion in Ocna Sibiului spa town

Ocna Sibiului (German: Salzburg; Hungarian: Vizakna) is a small spa town in historic Saxon Transylvania developed especially during the Victorian era, when the region was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Many of its hotels, restaurants and baths were designed in the Art Nouveau style, as is shown in the old postcard bellow (published in the early 1910s). I have not visited yet the place, but I understand that a number of those wonderful Art Nouveau edifices and decorations are still around and even “restored”, which in the context of today Romania should in fact mean aggressive restoration. I like the sight of the Saxon church bell-tower, pictured in the background of the postcard, rising over the old village and spa pavilion.

Art Nouveau style pavilion in Ocna Sibiului (old postcard, Valentin Mandache collection)

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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.

“Historic Houses of Romania” mentioned on EU’s Reseau Art Nouveau Network site

Dear readers,

I am delighted to tell you that the “Historic Houses of Romania“ blogsite is mentioned on one of the leading internet resources dedicated to the Art Nouveau style, the website Reseau Art Nouveau Network. This is a site developed under the EU’s auspices by institutions from a number of countries with a rich Art Nouveau heritage. Romania has only two mentions there, one of them being this blog, which can be found at the Links section scrolling down the list of countries to the entry for Romania.

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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I endeavour 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.

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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.

The “classical” Art Nouveau doorway of a 1920s Neo-Romanian style building

The Art Nouveau style doorway of a 1920s Neo-Romanian style house, Cotroceni area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I found the above doorway that displays some “classical” Art Nouveau patterns, especially the oval motif around the door window, in the quite unusual setting of a 1920s Neo-Romanian style house located in the Cotroceni area of Bucharest. My view is that this design contrasting quite markedly with the rest of the building, was not the whim of the initial owner or the architect of the house, but that the door comes from an older building which might have been there before the Neo-Romanian style one took its place or has been the doorway of the owner’s former home from some other part of Bucharest or even another town within or without Romania. That is quite plausible as in the aftermath of the Great War and the break up of the Habsburg, Russian and Ottoman empires, there were many population movements and refugees criss-crossing this part of Europe, many of them bearing with them relics of their former dear homes (lamps, chairs, trunks, etc.), and this doorway might have been one such a treasured memento, used as part of a new home in a new country.

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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.

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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.

Art Nouveau round doorway

Art Nouveau style round frame doorway, 1900s house in Victoria area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a quaint example of Bucharest Art Nouveau style round doorway embellishing a house now heavily altered through a series of renovations undertaken during the last century since the edifice was built. The doorway itself keeps only a fraction from the original ornaments and motifs, such as the Romanian ethnographic woodcarvings of the door poles and the awning inspired from that of the doorways peculiar to the Neo-Romanian architectural style, a national-romantic order initially developed, like other European national styles, as an offshoot of the Art Nouveau current. The glass panes and the gridirons protecting them are 1930s 0r ’40s replacements of the original artefacts. Despite all of these serious interventions, the doorway is still conveying the Art Nouveau ethos of innovative and surprising shapes and design.

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I endeavor through this 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.

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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.

Art Nouveau Mascaron: The Head of A Victorian Lady

Art Nouveau style mascaron adorning a 1890s house in the ASE area of Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The above female head representation among flower garlands is a predilect theme in the late Victorian decorative arts, including the Art Nouveau current, that have so many references to fairies and paradisiac gardens full of flowers. It was best personified by the actress Sarah Bernhardt, posing in flower adorned costumes and décor, immortalised by the painter Alphonse Mucha. From here the motif was adopted and adapted to many instances and circumstances, such as this Bucharest mascaron, which probably depicts a local Fin de Siècle beauty.

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I endeavor through this 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.

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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.

Daily Picture 1-Feb-10: Ottoman Arches in a Romanian Art Nouveau Guise

A sector of the Art Nouveau - Ottoman arch motif colonnade that wraps around the ground level of Buzau Commune Palace (Buzau town hall), Eastern Romania. (©Valentin Mandache)

The colonnade above embellishes the Buzau Commune Palace/ Town Hall in Eastern Romania, the province of Wallachia. The paint and decoration exude an air of bright sun-drenched Mediterranean architecture, despite the local temperate latitude and the fact that I took the photograph on a rainy and at times foggy winter day. The palace is probably the largest Art Nouveau – Neo-Romanian fusion style building in Romania, the master-work of architect Alexandru Savulescu, completed in 1903. The colonnade uses an Ottoman Balkan arch type encountered at church and mosque buildings in the region, making a superb “Cordoba cathedral”-like colonnade impression. The column capital is formed from a composition of vine leaves, an alusion to the wine production, one of the main industries of Buzau county. Ottoman arches combined with a local industry symbol represent a subtle and well crafted local identity message, which highlights the talent of the architect and the vision of his patrons in the then fin de siècle Romania.

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating 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.