Little Paris Style Building in a Romanian Danube Port City

Early 1900s postcard showing a bank building in a beautiful Little Paris architectural style from Turnu Magurele, a Danube port and grain export outlet in southern Romania. (Old postcard: Valentin Mandache collection)

In the late c19th Romania became an important grain exporter, where the plains of the Lower Danube prairie constituted the most important cereal producing areas. The grain exports were conducted in large part through ports dotting the Romanian bank of the great river. One of those ports was the city of Turnu Magurele, which greatly benefited from that trade, a fact seen in the many beautiful Little Paris style architecture (what I call the Romanian provincially interpreted French c19th architectural styles raging from neo-rococo, historicist and even Art Nouveau) buildings constructed in the city in that period. The old postcard above shows one of those superb edifices in Turnu Magurele that hosted a local bank. I very much like the hand coloured tones of the photograph and how they convey, together with the large ground floor window awnings, the near tropical summer climate of that prairie town. The style of the building is a picturesque mixture of rococo and Art Nouveau rendered on a tall symmetrical façade.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Art Nouveau Beer Restaurant in Provincial Romania

Art Nouveau style beer restaurant, Alexandria, Southern Romania (1900s postcard, Valentin Mandache collection)

The boom years of late 1890s until the great recession of 1907, have been very beneficial for Romania, which profited from its large grain exports to the industrial countries of Western Europe. The old small markets towns throughout the country, especially those from the wheat and maize producing areas where expanding at a fast rate and numerous new flamboyant private and public buildings in the then fashionable French c19th and also Art Nouveau styles were being erected. The town of Alexandria was one of those prosperous cities, located in the fertile plains of the Teleorman county, close to Bucharest and to the Danube ports that greatly facilitated the grain exports of the surrounding region. The bold Art Nouveau style beer restaurant from Alexandria’s public gardens, depicted in the old postcard above, is a reflection in architecture of that new found confidence and economic well being in fin de siècle Romania. The edifice is quite remarkable with its entrance modelled as a grandiose round window and audacious flowery roof eave edge ornaments. It would have been an imposing and unmissable presence in that provincial town and region of Ottoman Balkan tradition, the herald of the globalisation taking place in the Victorian era through commerce, industry and also architecture, where the Art Nouveau style was the last word in terms of modernity.

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

I endeavor through this daily series of images and small 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.