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.

Daily Picture 19-Feb-10: Alpine Chalet in the Carpathian Mountains in the 1910s

Villa Cantacuzio in Calimanesti spa town, an Alpine type chalet very popular in pre-Great War Romania among wealthy Bucharest families. (old postcard, Valentin Mandache collection)

The Victorian era and the period until the Great War has seen the development of numerous spa towns in the Carpathian Mountains, the Alpine geology chain that straddles Romania on a length of over 1,000 km. I wrote a blogpost last week about the Sarata Monteoru spa town detailing this developmental process. The old post card above, dating from 1910s, shows a newly finished grand chalet, of an architectural type similar with contemporary examples form Switzeland or Southern Germany, located in Calimanesti spa town in the Transylvanian Alps (the southern section of the Carpathian Mountains). The house servants, local peasants among them, together with some of the owner’s family, the Romanian branch of the Byzantine imperial family of the Cantacuzene dinasty, pose for the photographer in front of the building. The villa is still standing nowadays, as many such buildings throughout Romania, but in a very precarious state because of the last two decades’ lack of maintenance, ownership disputes or affected by the usual unprofessional renovations, which are unfortunately the trademark of a majority of Romania’s post-communist historic house owners.

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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.