Neo-Romanian style elevator

Neo-Romanian style elevator, 1926 apartment bloc designed by architect Arghir Culina, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The Neo-Romanian style was intended since its inception as a “total” national style, covering domains such as civil, industrial and military architecture, interior design, visual arts or even book design. A less known direction of application was that of the machinery associated with big edifices built in the Neo-Romanian style, such as the elevators. There are some interesting examples around of lifts, which show attempts to ornate or imprint on those machines a Neo-Romanian outlook. An telling example is the elevator doorway and stairs rail that coils around the lift shaft, presented in the photograph above, which I recently found in the main hallway of one of the largest apartment blocks ever built in the Neo-Romanian style. The structure is located on Hristo Botev boulevard in Bucharest, designed by architect Arghir Culina, dating from 1926, during what I call the mature phase of the Neo-Romanian style.

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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 Contact page of this weblog.

Filaret – the first train station of Bucharest

Yesterday I organised another architectural history and photography tour, the third one so far, which took place in Carol Park area. One of the landmarks viewed was Filaret train station, the first such public transport facility of Bucharest, a terminus of the first railway on the territory of the then Romania, inaugurated in 1869, linking the capital with the Danube port of Giurgiu. This railway line was vitally important for Bucharest, a city on the threshold of an explosive development after it recently became the capital of the newly established state of Romania, one of the fortuitous geopolitical consequences of the Crimean war, among multiple other factors, of that period. The then Prince Carol I, the future monarch of the country, a meticulous military man, well trained in the management methods typical of the industrial revolution in his native Germany, was personally involved in this essential project for Bucharest’s infrastructure. The locals were thus able to travel and do business much faster, by quickly going to the Danube and embark on steamboats that went all the way to the Black Sea and Istanbul or to Vienna and from there by train to Paris. Also the railway was a lifeline for the city, which was now able to easily bring or send goods to and from most of Europe and the Mediterranean. The flamboyant Little Paris architecture (what I call the French c19th historicist styles provincially interpreted in Romania) emerged in a fulminant manner after the railway came into use. The station functioned until 1960 when it was transformed in a coach station and its rails dismantled. Today is still functioning as a coach station and the building with much of its old early Victorian infrastructure deteriorated and much abused. There are discussions to transform it in a railway museum, but as most such type of public projects in Romania, it will probably take another one or even two decades until something will emerge from that proposal. Until then, Filaret train station, an important industrial architecture identity marker of Bucharest, will continue to face indifference from both public and authorities, abuse and decay. Bellow are some image of how the building looks nowadays, covered with modern paint and plaster and a myriad of billboards and other injuries brought about by the Romanian wild capitalism of the post-communist era.

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, front façade (©Valentin Mandache)

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, unkempt commemorative plaque mentioning its inauguration year (©Valentin Mandache)

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, the station's hall, with its glazed roof missing and interior left open to the elements (©Valentin Mandache)

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, front façade, ornate cast iron corbels dating from the mid c19th (©Valentin Mandache)

Filaret - the first train station of Bucharest, the front end of the former waiting platforms (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

Unusual conical structure

Strange conical structure dating probably from the WWII period, Campina (©Valentin Mandache)

I encountered the unusual structure in the photograph above during my trip to Campina last autumn. It reminded me like a flashback from my childhood of similar structures which I seen in my very early years in some Romanian train stations: steep conical or ogee profile concrete roofs, a quite terrifying sight for a child, usually sitting next to the trains station main building. Most of them were demolished in the last two or three decades and probably only a handful still exists now. From what I remember, the locals there said that these unusual constructions were bomb shelters designed in such a way to repel the deadly blows and shrapnel of airplane launched bombs. Many Romanian cities, especially the oil towns such as Campina, have seen a great deal of bombing from the Allies as well as from the Luftwaffe during the Second World War and was not a real surprise the building of bomb shelters to alleviate somehow that menace. I am however not entirely convinced of their role as bomb-shelter, especially if you notice the large windows from the base of the example presented above. They look strangely similar with the overnight prisons, the “lock ups“, built in c18th and early c19th in small English towns before the establishment of the state police force. Could this structure from Romania have had the same role during the war time or the early Stalinist period? Perhaps some of my readers have more precise information about the role of that type of highly unusual structure!

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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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Drobeta Turnu Severin: Fin de Siècle architecture and Roman heritage in south western Romania

The Danube’s Iron Gate gorge system separates the Carpathian and the Balkan mountain ranges, controlling the main waterway, and thus one of the important trade routes, between Central Europe and the Balkan peninsula. The city of Drobeta Turnu Severin sits immediately downstream from the Iron Gate and thus is excellently positioned to benefit from the traffic passing on the great river. Its history can be traced down to the period when the area was inhabited by Celtic and Dacian tribes, the place name “Drobeta” being probably, in my opinion, a Celtic origin toponym having similar roots with that of Drogheda in Ireland, which means “bridge of the ford”. In fact one of the most audacious civil engineering and architectural master-works of the Roman Empire, the Emperor Trajan’s bridge over the Danube (inaugurated in 105 CE), immortalised on the Trajan’s Column in Rome, both built by the architect Apollodorus of Damascus, stood in the vicinity of the city at a place where the river has one of the lowest depths in the area, which tallies with the meaning of the word mentioned for the Irish case. The “Turnu Severin” part of the city’s name came into use during medieval times and it means a northern (“Severin”) located tower (“Turnu”) provided fortification, originating probably in the old-Romanian language of early Middle Ages. An abstract depiction of the ancient Trajan’s bridge is presented bellow on the reverse of a bronze Roman coin, sestertius (RIC 569-C), issued by the emperor to commemorate its inauguration.

Roman coin issued in 105 - 108 CE depicting the Trajan's bridge over the Danube, close to Drobeta Turnu Severin (Valentin Mandache collection).

After the fall of the Roman imperial rule in the region, Drobeta flourished again economically and as an urban centre comparable with the Roman times, only eighteen centuries later, in the reign of Prince, later King, Carol I of Romania (1866 -1914). That was the result of freeing the Danube navigation in the second part of the c19th both physically by the blowing up of the dangerous underwater rocks from the Danube’s cataracts at Cazane, upstream Turnu Severin, and politically by wars against a dying out Ottoman empire, the erstwhile overlord of the region, and subsequent international treaties. Those circumstances allowed the navigation of large modern vessels on the river course, which allowed goods to easily travel from Vienna as far as the Aegean Sea or grains from the Wallachian plains to reach markets in the heartland of Europe.

Old warehouses (1890s - 1900s) that once stored goods from the Danube river trade, Drobeta Turnu Severin, south western Romania.

Drobeta Turnu Severin greatly profited from the important trading opportunities generated by its favourable geographical location and those auspicious political circumstances prevalent at the Fin de Siècle. A remnant of those glorious times is the large warehouse pictured in the photograph above, today left neglected as the region is currently adversely affected by the actual recession and government maladministration. The city was also endowed in that period with beautiful buildings, a very small sample being presented in the images bellow.

Little Paris style house, late 1890s, Drobeta Turnu Severin, south western Romania.

The usual architecture of those houses is the Little Paris style, which represents French c19th historicist styles, interpreted in a picturesque provincial manner in Romania from the “La Belle Époque” period.

Little Paris style house, dating from the late 1890s, Drobeta Turnu Severin, south western Romania

The edifices presented here are quite large by any standard and richly ornamented, more than positively comparable with the best houses in this style of the late 1890s Bucharest.

Neo-Gothic - early Renaissance style house dating from the late 1890s, Drobeta Turnu Severin, south western Romania.

There were also buildings in other styles as the one shown in the image above testifies, due to a diversity of increasingly sophisticated tastes among a very cosmopolite population that numbered Romanians, Germans, Serbians, Jews, Hungarians, Greeks, Italians and many other ethnicities.

Little Paris style house, late 189s, Drobeta Turnu Severin, south western Romania.

Turnu Severin, in 1906, together with the rest of Romania celebrated King Carol I‘s forty years of glorious and prosperous reign and eighteen centuries since the Roman conquest of Dacia (in 106 CE), a historical watershed moment that set into motion the formation of the Romanian people.

The bust statue of the Roman emperor Trajan, inaugurated in 1906; the cental park of Drobeta Turnu Severin.

As part of those celebrations, a bust of the emperor Trajan was inaugurated in the central park of the city, whose history and identity is so much linked to the events at the start of the second century of the Christian era.

The column shaft of the bust statue represnting the Roman emperor Trajan, inaugurated in 1906; the cental park of Drobeta Turnu Severin.

Trajan is also considered in the Romanian nationalist discourse and imagination as the founding father of the nation, a role shared with the Dacian king Decebalus whom he vanquished in two devastating wars. Those conflagrations represented the largest scale military engagements in Europe until the advent of the Great War, as stated by the historian Julian Bennett in his seminal biography of Trajan.

1906 Royal Jubilee Exhibition - "Expozitia Generala Romana" postcard decorated with Neo-Romanian motifs expressed in an Art Nouveau manner. (old postcard, Valentin Mandache collection)

The 1906 celebrations culminated with a great exhibition, “Expozitia Generala Romana”, in Bucharest, where the country’s achievements in arts, science and industry were presented to the wider public. The Neo-Romanian style, the new national architectural order has also been one of the main themes of that exhibition, seen in the graphic motifs of the postcard presented above, circulated with that occasion. The two personages whose deeds the country, including the people of Drobeta Turnu Severin, were then enthusiastically celebrating, the Emperor Trajan of the two millennia ago (on the left hand side) and King Carol I, were facing each other across an altar with the Roman She Wolf emblem inscribed on it, blessed by a woman figure personifying Romania, a veritable effusion of national identity symbolism, giving an idea about the ebullient atmosphere and pride felt by the people of that era.

The photographs containing examples of period architecture from Drobeta Turnu Severin were provided by Irina Magdalena Bivolaru, a native of the city and a keen reader of this blog.

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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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Communities, political traditions and architectural heritage: Floreasca bus garage

The Floreasca quarter from north-east Bucharest is a somehow newer area of the city, properly developed starting with the inter-war period, settled in important proportion by skilled workers employed in Romania’s capital industries and services. Starting with the mid-1930s, the quarter also attracted intellectuals and successful small business owners who built their dwellings there. The skilled workers of Bucharest and Romania in general form a critical social segment with a very interesting identity, social and political history, which has barely been studied by the specialist academics or other type of writers. These people were educated in the inter-war period in good technical schools, which also provided them with well structured lessons of national history and literature. They were also politically active in the social democratic and Marxist inkling movements of their period, still nowadays maintaining that tradition and political affiliation in communities with established identities such as is the case with the Floreasca quarter of Bucharest. I found, during my study trips in the area, that the local bus garage, seen in the photograph bellow, epitomises within its architecture and symbols, the political traditions and identity of that community.

Floreasca bus garage, late 1930s, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The architecture of this structure is typical of the late 1930s industrial architecture, with Modernist overtones, similar with examples from that period from western Europe, inspired from the models of airplane hangars of that time. A reader, who is the author of the blog Simply Bucharest, indicated on the Romanian version of this blog a newsletter published by the Bucharest Public Transport Enterprise- “Muncitorul ITB”, which indicates the 1949 – ’50 as the construction date of this edifice. It was designed by architect N. Nicolescu, who obviously followed a manner of design typical of the late 1930s – early 1940s, free of Soviet design influences, which started to be heavily promoted at that time in Romania.

Floreasca bus garage, painted sign of the communist era slogan "Proletarians of all countries, unite!", Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

During the communist period, between 1948 – 1989, the garage, as all public institutions in the country, were decorated with communist slogans, such as is the one still surviving on one of its gable rims, seen above, reading “Proletarians of all countries unite!” The fact that the painted sign still survives after the bloody Romanian anti-communist revolution of December 1989, more than two decades ago, is a telling testimony of the deep social democratic and Marxist traditions of the local community.

Floreasca bus garage, gable composed from glass bricks, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I very much like the sleek architecture of the garage, which must have looked during its heydays as a thoroughly high tech edifice. The building, if properly restored to its former glory, would be an excellent architectural focus point for the Floreasca quarter and Bucharest. In the photograph above is a fragment of one of the the glass brick gables. Its damages stem from water infiltrations throughout the years, which expanded and cracked the glass during the winter freeze.

Floreasca bus garage, the back wall, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

A most interesting occurrence are the appalling Nazi (swastikas) and football hooligan graffiti covering the back wall of the garage, which is a diagnostic sign of the actual state of the local community, namely of its younger members. If the older and established workers, benefited from a good education and have now secure jobs, continuing to cherish the left wing traditions of their community, their offspring on the other hand went mainly through the low quality education system of post-communist Romania and many are now jobless, developing in turn extreme right wing, nationalistic neo-Nazi views, a situation not entirely dissimilar with what is happening with the working class youths in the former East Germany or Russia. The battered old bus garage with its architecture, painted signs and graffiti is thus like a crystal ball in which we can read the shifting identities, evolution and travails of that community.

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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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian style truck garage

New-Romanian style truck garage dating from mid-1930s, Targoviste, southern Romania. (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a quite rare example of Neo-Romanian style industrial architecture, which I found in the city of Targoviste in the south of the country. A few months ago I documented another very interesting and also rare Neo-Romanian style garage in Bucharest that probably functioned as a fire station, hosting fire engines, in the inter-war period: click here to access that post. In this instance the building is less ornate, of a functional design, where the Neo-Romanian style elements consist in the pediment ornament present above each doorway, mimicking the crenelation of medieval fortresses and the imposing side tower containing the offices, modelled after the fortified houses from the Oltenia region named cula, an important diagnostic aspect for the Neo-Romania architectural style. I like the fact that the garage is still functional and quite well preserved despite the many economic vicissitudes that had to endure over the communist and post-communist decades.

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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.

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

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 Deco Garage Sign

Art Deco garage sign dating from the 1930s, Victoriei area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I found this Art Deco sign on a taxi garage building in the area around the central government headquarters in Bucharest. While the sign frame is the 1930s original, I am not so certain about its glass panes, although they look quite in tone with the whole assembly.

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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.

1900s Corner Shop in Provincial Romania

1900s corner shop house, today functioning as a dwelling, Targoviste, southern Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

The above image shows a quaint and relatively well preserved former corner-shop building, which also doubled as a local pub, dating from the turn between the c19th and the c20th, in Targoviste, southern Romania. It is a structure once ubiquitous in provincial towns, villages or the outlying quarters of Bucharest, but a rarity nowadays. The building represents an excellent historic commercial architecture witness for this area of Europe and would constitute a cheap and easy potential restoration – renovation project for anyone willing to undertake such an endeavour. I like in this particular example how the original window shutters are secured with impressive transversal iron bars, exactly as in the old days. I do wonder if the interior of the house still preserves something from the old shop layout or furniture.

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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 Deco Shapes in 1914 Industrial Architecture

Bucharest waterworks 1911 - '14, commemorative plate- face and back views. (Private collection)

Bucharest waterworks 1911 - '14, commemorative plate (detail) - private collection

This is a commemorative silver plated bronze plate made to celebrate the finishing of the great civil engineering works programme in Bucharest, completed just before the start of the Great War in Europe (Romania officially entered the war only in 1916), which brought fresh and clean water to large areas of the city and also put in place a modern sewerage system. Prior to those works, most of Bucharest had a medieval like water and sewerage infrastructure, with the human and animal waste drained directly into the Dambovita, the river that crossed the city, and its small tributaries. Also the city was located among foul smell and unhealthy swamps produced by the numerous meanders of this river. The new waterworks were the very last word in terms of construction technology and an impressive example of industrial architecture, seen especially in examples of water tower and water purification station buildings. The plate presented here contains a prominently displayed water tower (see also the detailed image on the left), with an wonderful base structure composed from gradually sunken polygonal arches, made from reinforced concrete, sustaining the immense water tank chamber. The sunken arches point out to the Art Deco shapes and motifs developed in architecture more than a decade later. The same impression is given by the vertical rectangular windows surrounding the water tank chamber or the ventilation windows on top of the structure. The whole architecture wonderfully prefigures the Art Deco style, re-confirming its roots in the late Victorian machine era and industrial architecture and also in that brought about by the Great War industrial production needs.

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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 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 Contactpage of this weblog.

Neo-Romanian Style Garage

Late 1920s Neo-Romanian style garage - fire station, Victoriei area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

During its heydays in the inter-war period, the Neo-Romanian architectural style has been applied to most types of buildings from domestic, commercial, civic to industrial and military. The image above shows an imposing garage, a rare category of Neo-Romanian industrial architecture, which I located last winter in the Victoriei area of Bucharest. The design is characteristic of the late 1920s Neo-Romanian style types. That was a period when more modern and slender design patterns started to be employed by the local architects, as a consequence of the wider availability after the Great War of modern construction materials and techniques, such as steel, reinforced concrete or sizeable glass surfaces. I like the citadel aspect of the building, a hallmark of the Neo-Romanian style and its division into a ground-floor garage/ workshop area, offices on the first floor and probably living quarters on the second floor. The presence of probable living quarters makes me consider that the building initial destination might have been that of a fire station and only later turned into a standard garage. The edifice today is the property of the Romanian National TV, a state company, as seen from the logo painted on the main doors, a fact which probably saved it from the hands of the rapacious property developers that have ravaged the historic architecture of the surrounding area during the boom of the last decade, with the complicit approval of the usually corrupt city authorities.

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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 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 25-Feb-10: County Hospital Building in Art Nouveau style

The once magnificent Art Nouveau and c19th rococo style Buzau county hospital building (named "I.C. Bratianu" after the prime-minister of that period ) in Eastern Romania, inaugurated in 1896. (©Valentin Mandache)

The beautiful edifice in the photograph above lays now empty in an extremely deteriorated state, with a near collapsing structure. Although the building it is still impressing and is also an essential part of Buzau city and county heritage, it is just ignored by the  public and authorities alike, which seem more interested in putting in place characterless and badly designed modern constructions, perceived as more prestigious. Perhaps that is the reason why the old hospital is left to fall apart, as the only legal means to secure a demolition permit for listed buildings…

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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.

Daily Picture 18-feb-10: The Restored Gothic Interior of Iasi Railway Station

The freshly restored Gothic interior of Iasi railway station photographed in the summer of 2009. (©Valentin Mandache)

The city of Iasi is the beautiful historical capital of the principality of Moldavia, which through its union with Wallachia in 1859, in the favourable international circumstances following the Crimean War, formed the core of modern Romania. The city has been a bitter rival of Bucharest ever since, very much hampered in its development because of more difficult communication lines with the rest of the country. The railway came to the town in 1869 and alleviated in part that situation. The Iasi people had until that date to take uncomfortable horse drawn coaches in order to travel to Bucharest, through a very difficult 250 miles dirt road. The wealthier Iasi citizens even preferred to travel to Bucharest via Vienna, a huge detour, but a much more comfortable trip through Cernowitz in Bucovina, to the Austrian capital and from there to embark on a steam boat all the way down on the Danube to Giurgiu, nearby Bucharest. Consequently the train has a great importance for the Iasi people and the grandiose architecture of the local railway station, perhaps the most beautiful such building in Romania, reflects that sentiment. Its Venetian Gothic inspired architecture is very monumental and also well proportioned. Recently the station has been professionally restored with stunning results. I was amazed to admire its numerous ogee windows and arcades and the fresh majesty of its lines and airy interior; even the ticket counters are provided with ogee windows. I took the photograph above in the summer of last year, when the restoration work was on course, and I hope that it conveys at least in part my favourable impressions.

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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.

Daily Picture 18-Jan-10: Neo-Romanian Shops and Flats Building

A harmonious, reduced to essence design of a late 1920s Neo-Romanian style building, purpose built for use as shops on the ground level and residential apartments on the upper floor. The central gateway gives access to a small interior courtyard. Natiunile Unite area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

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

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.

Daily Picture 22-Dec-09: Early 20th Century Bucharest Industrial Architecture

A quaint early 20th century piece of industrial heritage architecture of French design inspiration; a potential restoration/ renovation project. The Match Factory area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

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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.

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

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.

Daily Picture 3-Dec-09: Spa Town Music Kiosk

Art Nouveau style music kiosk in Slanic Moldova, a spa town in the Oriental Carpathian mountains, north-east Romania (1910s postcard, Valentin Mandache collection)

The Victorians from England to India had a penchant for spa towns. Romania, with its Carpathian mountains, a chain of over 1,000 km in length on its Romanian sector, one of the longest such landscape formations in Europe, is especially propitious for development of spa towns around the innumerable thermal or curative mineral water springs located within that Alpine environment. The development of the country on modern European lines under the efficient rule of the German origin King Carol I in the second part of the c19th saw the emergence of numerous spa towns in the Carpathians. The architecture was similar and typical of the age with examples from Central Europe or France and Belgium. Many of these buildings and facilities still survive today, albeit in a very run down state or on the verge of demolition, eyed by rapacious property developers. The image above shows the music kiosk from Slanic Moldova in the Oriental Carpathian mountains, displaying a serene atmosphere just before the Great War, a time of prosperity and well being in this country at the dusk of the Victorian epoch.

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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.

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

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.