This is the last article from the wonderful series dedicated to Bucharest, by Adrian Yekkes, a travel writer from London. I had the pleasure to show Adrian and his friend, in the course of three days at the end of August, representative samples of the architectural heritage of Romania’s capital. In this article he again makes references to architect and artist Marcel Iancu about whom he wrote extensively in a precedent post, bookshops, the old church architecture of this city and of course about its “furiously” emerging cafe and restaurant culture, after the dark decades of communist dictatorship.
For those of you who speak or read Romanian, bellow is a letter send to Diana and a few close friends, detailing the deep impressions left by my first trip to Venice more than a decade ago. The Italian maritime republics, Venice and Genoa, are essential in understanding the history of the Romanian lands, deeply influencing their early medieval history and economy. The principalities of Wallachia and Moldova emerged in large part as an economic consequence of the long distance commerce carried out by Venice and Genoa between north-west Europe and Russia on the one hand and the Byzantine Empire and the rest of the Mediterranean world on the other. Venetian architects, scholars or soldiers were also often employed at the court of the medieval Romanian princes. The Brancovan architectural style, which emerged in the c17th and c18th was in part influenced by Venetian architecture. The Neo-Romanian style, developed in the national-romantic era of the late c19th and the first part of c20th, also found some of its inspiration in Venetian arts and architecture. That is why I recommend in depth cultural trips to Venice and also Genoa to anyone seriously interested in understanding the early medieval Romanian history and the evolution of the the architectural phenomenon in the region nowadays encompassed by Romania.
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.
For those of you who speak or read Romanian: I would like to present here one my older cultural travel writing pieces. It can be read bellow on the scribd.com platform and is a description of a memorable visit, undertaken about eight years ago, to Naples and the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum buried by the catastrophic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE (in the times of emperor Titus, just three decades before Trajan conquered Dacia that set into motion the formation of the Romanian ethnic group). For me it was an important formative intellectual experience, which influenced my way of looking at facts on the ground, such as I do now in my architectural history investigations, and the way to communicate them in writing. I had also included a few photographs taken during that visit to the fantastic ruins of those venerable lost cities and places. Enjoy the lecture!
Pompei, a mosaic fragment of a private house altar (Lalarium), photo Valentin Mandache
Pompei, street adjacent to the city's main forum, view towards Salerno, photo Valentin Mandache
The undersigned on one of Pompeii's streets paved with hard Vesuvian basalt, next to a former bakery; 2002, photo Valentin Mandache
The city of Naples and Golfo din Napoli, together with Vesuvius seen from Vomero hill. The sketch indicates the relative size of the old Vesuvius volcano before the cataclysmic eruption of 79 CE; photo Valentin Mandache
Alexander the Great; fragment from the famous mosaic representation of the battle between the Macedonians and the Persians at Issus in 333 BCE, found in Casa del Fauno in Pompeii and kept at the National Museum of Archaeology of Naples; photo Valentin Mandache.
Bronze statues of ancient athletes, Roman copies of Greek originals, kept at the National Museum of Archaeology of Naples; photo Valentin Mandache.