Tour: the architecture of west Cotroceni – around the presidential palace. 26.06

Cotroceni west-004
Medical Sciences University, west Cotroceni

Dear readers,

I would like to propose you a new architectural history tour, in the western part of the picturesque Cotroceni quarter, which contains the grandiose edifices of the Medical Sciences University and the Palace of the President of Romania. The tour completes my series of distinct walks (east, central and west) covering this architecturally valuable area of Bucharest.

The event is scheduled to take place this Sunday 26 June 2016, between 10.30h – 11.30h. This cultural excursion could be of interest to any of you visiting Romania’s capital as a tourist or on business, looking to understand the character of this metropolis through discovering its peculiar and fascinating old architecture.

The most beautiful baroque revival style palace of Bucharest is the Medical Sciences University, the best such school in southeast Europe, designed by the Swiss architect Louis Blanc, and built in 1902, which is at the centre of west Cotroceni. Its aesthetics is auspiciously put into light by the the surrounding elegant built environment, one of the finest in the capital. You are thus going to sample, under my guidance, many of those examples, displaying a dazzling array of symbolism and messages, typical of the Neoromanian, the national architecture of this country, or the international Art DecoModernist and Mediterranean styles. The creators of many of those buildings were part of the golden generations of Romanian architects, people active mostly in the interwar period, when this part of Cotroceni was endowed with the bulk of its houses. Some of them are still being mentioned in name tablets on the walls of the residential edifices they designed, akin to the signature of a painter on canvass, people like I. Sillion, Petre Boico or Jean Burcus. Sometimes we will also encounter name tablets of inter-war building companies, such as I. Moscovici, one of the builders for the elites of the 1920s and the 1930s. That architecture is gracefully put into context by the gardens adorning many of those houses, enclosed by beautiful wrought iron fences and gates, complemented in the case of Neoromanian residences, by wooden ethnographic verandas inspired from those of the Romanian countryside. We will also catch a glimpse, as walls and gates allow, of the first-class garden refinement of Bucharest, the park of Cotroceni Palace, landscaped by Friedrich Rebhun, the designer of Cismigiu Park, and other gardeners, among them Alice Martineau, a highly qualified English gardner brought over by Queen Marie in the 1920s. The palace, designed in stages, in historicist Venetian villa rustica style, by arch. Paul Gottereau in the 1880s, and continued at the turn between the 19th and the 20th centuries by Grigore Cerkez in Neoromanian, is a famous former royal residence, now the headquarters of the presidency, constituting the other architectural focus point of west Cotroceni. All of that alluring collection of quality Bucharest architectural heritage is awaiting for you to discover as part of this Historic Houses of Romania cultural experience.

The tour costs Lei 60 (Romanian currency) per person, book by emailing v.mandache@gmail.com or using the comments section of this post. You will be informed of meeting place on booking.

I look forward to seeing you at the tour,

Valentin Mandache/ Historic Houses of Romania – Case de Epoca (tel: 0040 (0)728323272)

If you would like to read more about the palace in Cotroceni during the royal period, there is an excellent book (album) published last year, “Cotroceniul Regal”, written by Diana Mandache, Curtea Veche Publishing. Details on Royal Romania blog.

cw tour collage to use
Period houses and old architecture details from west Cotroceni, Bucharest. ©Valentin Mandache
Cotroceni West - map
Historic Houses of Romania walking tour in west Cotroceni

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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 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 advise you in sourcing and marketing the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Tour: Kiseleff area & the late Neoromanian style. 25.06

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a thematic walking tour this Saturday 25 June 2016, on the subject of the late phase of the Neo-Romanian architectural style, which unfurled mainly in the fourth and the fifth decades of the c20th, a period when this order peculiar to Romania reached a crisis in terms of expression, mitigated by a fascinating synthesis with the Art Deco, Mediterranean and Modernist styles. The tour takes two hours, between 10.30h – 12.30h, and it may be of interest to those of you visiting the city as a tourist or on business, looking to find out more about its enchanting historic architecture and identity.

The modern construction technologies that emerged in the roaring twenties affording the development of light, airy structures expressed in the Art Deco and Modernist architecture, were quite antithetical to the traditionally ornate, heavy-built Neo-Romanian style edifices, as typical to its early and mature phases. That led to a crisis within this indigenous architectural order, threatened also by the high popularity among the public of the international modern styles or other fashionable building types, such as the Mediterranean inspired designs, which were all the rage in Bucharest during the 1930s. The Neo-Romanian style managed to survive and even thrive, until the watershed of the Second World War, through fascinating syntheses especially with the Art Deco, Mediterranean and to a lesser extent with the Modernist designs. That evolution encompasses what I term as the late phase of Romania’s national architecture, its expression in the global building fashions of the 1930s and ’40s. The tour aims to present a number of telling examples from that phase of stylistic development, found in Kiseleff area of north-central Bucharest, which has the highest density of such edifices in town, and thus chart a captivating chapter of Romania’s national style’s development and of Bucharest’s historic architecture.

The tour costs Lei 60 (Romanian currency) per person, book by emailing v.mandache@gmail.com or using the comments section of this post. You will be informed of meeting place on booking.

I look forward to seeing you at the tour,

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses (tel: 0040 (0)728323272)

Historic Houses of Romania thematic tour: The Late Neo-Romanian Style
Historic Houses of Romania walking tour in Kiseleff area
Historic Houses of Romania walking tour in Kiseleff area

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and its wider region in the south east Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of architectural history and heritage.

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If you would like to find out about the architectural style and history of a period house in Romania, which you intend to acquire, sell, renovate in its historic spirit or restore, I would be delighted to offer you professional consultancy in that direction. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Tour: Bucharest as the Little Paris of the Balkans

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a thematic walking tour, to take place this Sunday 19 June 2016, between the hours 10.30h – 12.30h, on the subject of the late c19th – early c20th French and western historicist inspired architecture of Bucharest, which made the city known to the rest of world as the “Little Paris of the Balkans”, a phenomenon that imprinted the personality of Romania’s capital ever since. The tour may be of interest to any of you visiting the city as a tourist or on business, looking to find out more about its fascinating historic architecture and character.

The first building boom of modern era Bucharest happened during the period aptly named La Belle Époque, which corresponds with the late Victorian and early Edwardian epochs for the English speaking world (or Gilded Age in the US). It was characterised by a charming architecture inspired especially from the flamboyant neo-baroque, neo-rococo and also neo-gothic forms fashionable in France, a country seen by the Romanians of that time as a beacon of culture worthy to emulate, and from other west European states held in high regard by the then young Balkan nation. The local architecture thus acquired a personality of its own, combining the new forms with the indigenous and Ottoman traditional motifs and construction methods, resulting in what I call, as an umbrella term, the “Little Paris style”. This is a type of architecture peculiar to the Continue reading Tour: Bucharest as the Little Paris of the Balkans

Tour: the early Neoromanian style

Early Neo-Romanian Bucharest architectural tourThe early Neoromanian architecture as seen in Gradina Icoanei area of Bucharest.

 Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a walking architectural tour on Saturday 18 June 2016, between the hours 10.30h – 12.30h, in Gradina Icoanei area, on the theme of the exceedingly important for this country’s heritage Neo-Romanian architectural style, in its early phase, how this design peculiar to Romania has been initiated and defined, a period of cultural upheavals and economic prosperity from the 1880s until the mid 1900s. This cultural excursion may be of interest to any of you visiting the town as a tourist or on business looking to find out more about its fascinating historic architecture and identity.

The Neoromanian architectural style is the most visible and amplest body of heritage that this country has bestowed on the world’s culture. Gradina Icoanei area of Bucharest has the highest concentration of buildings featuring this architectural design in its ianugural stages, what I term as the early phase of Romania’s national architecture. The style was initiated by the architect Ion Mincu in 1886 with the Lahovary House, an edifice viewed at  this tour, continued with a series of iconic edifices, such as the Central School for Girls, another objective of the tour, or the Causeway Buffet. The then new national architecture quickly gained popularity and featured in the works of other known architects of that Continue reading Tour: the early Neoromanian style

Tour in Berthelot area. Sunday 12 June

Historic Houses of Romania tour in Berthelot areaDear readers,

I would like to invite you to a Historic Houses of Romania walking tour, in the area centered on Mathias Berthelot Street, just north of Cismigiu Park, which is a repository of some of the most representative period architecture imprinting the personality of Romania’s capital, akin to an open air museum of its built heritage.

The tour is scheduled to take place this Sunday 12 June 2016, between the hours 11.30h – 13.30h. This cultural excursion could be of interest to any of you visiting Romania’s capital as a tourist or on business, looking to understand the character of this metropolis through discovering its peculiar and fascinating old architecture.

Mathias Berthelot, whose name is given to the main street in the area, was a French general of the Great War era, who in 1916 became the commander of the Allied mission tasked with reorganising and equipping Romania’s Royal Army, thus enabling it to effectively oppose the Central Powers and hinder their plans to occupy the country. For his achievements he was made a honorary citizen of Romania and is considered a hero of both countries. The French influence is also prevalent in the architecture of Berthelot urban space, seen in an array containing quaint Little Paris style residences, displaying Art Nouveau decorations besides, palazzos, and the best of them all, the French Renaissance inspired Kretzulescu Palace, one of the town’s iconic buildings, erected in the early 1900, designed by arch. Petre Antonescu. The Radio Broadcasting House is another important edifice, built at the height of the Stalinist era, but designed during the previous, fascist, dictatorship, in Mussolinian style, by arch. Tiberiu Ricci. A local focal point is Luigi Cazzavillan Park, a picturesque green corner, landscaped in the manner of French and Italian parks of the La Belle Époque period, commemorating the Italian origin journalist with that name, who founded the first mass-circulation newspaper of Romania, Universul. Another focus is the building of the Ministry of Education, an early Neoromanian style edifice, erected at the turn between the 19th and the 20th centuries, celebrating the school reformer Spiru Haret, the initiator of the modern state sponsored education system in this Balkan country, and the only Romanian having his name given to a crater on the Moon. The area is also known for the the main worshiping place of the Catholics of Bucharest, the St Joseph Cathedral, built in the 1880s, in a historicist style inspired from the early north Italian Renaissance, by the Austrian architects Friederich Schmidt and Carol Benesch. An architect associated with the Catholic community, Carol Cortobius, has designed a remarkable Art Nouveau house, not far from the church, inspired from the Secession movement, which we are going to examine and admire as part of this tour. The architecture of Berthelot area also encompasses magnificent examples of residential buildings in Neoromanian, Art Deco and also inter-war Modernist styles, the later epitomised by a remarkable apartment block from the late 1930s, by Ion and Tiberiu Niga architectural bureau, who were among the creators of Bucharest’s interwar skyline. By now, from the above descriptions, you can probably sense that this relatively small urban territory, is abundantly endowed with quality historic architecture, from public to domestic edifices, awaiting to be discovered and examined by you, under my guidance, as part of this Historic Houses of Romania cultural walk.

Book by emailing v.mandache@gmail.com or using the comments section of this post. You will be informed of the meeting place on booking.

I look forward to seeing you at the tour,

Valentin Mandache/ Historic Houses of Romania – Case de Epoca (tel: 0040 (0)728323272)

Historic Houses of Romania walking tour in Berthelot area of Bucharest
Historic Houses of Romania walking tour in Berthelot area of Bucharest
Historic Houses of Romania walking tour in Berthelot area
Historic Houses of Romania walking tour in Berthelot area

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

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.

Brancovan vs. Neoromanian

There is a great confusion between two of the main architectural styles peculiar to the territory of Romania, Brancovan and Neoromanian. This video brings the necessary basic tools to equip you into making an informed distinction between the two, using historic and architectural aesthetics elements characterising these architecture designs and artistic currents imprinting the identity of the built landscape of this country in Southeastern Europe.

Tour in Cismigiu area

Dear Readers,

I would like to invite you, in my quality as the author of Historic Houses or Romania – Case de Epoca blog, to an architectural history tour in Cismigiu area of Bucharest. This cultural excursion, open to all interested in Romania’s capital history and identity, is scheduled to take place this Sunday 5 June 2016, for two hours, between 11.30h – 13.30h.

I will be your guide throughout this beautiful expanse of Bucharest, which borders and includes the Cismigiu Gardens, the “Central Park” of this town, which is also its oldest surviving landscaped garden. The quarter boasts a balanced mix of architectures ranging from Little Paris, Art Nouveau, Neoromanian to Art Deco and Continue reading Tour in Cismigiu area

Tour in Mantuleasa

Dear Readers,

This is an invitation to an architectural history tour in Mantuleasa quarter of Bucharest, open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog, this Saturday 4 June 2016, between 11.30h – 13.30h.

I will be your guide in this fabled part of the old city, much talked about in the novels of Mircea Eliade, one of the brightest writers and historians ever produced by Romania, who spent there his childhood and early formative years. The quarter used to be one of the most ethnically mixed areas of Bucharest, endowed with a very diverse and exuberant period architecture ranging from beautiful Brancovan style churches, some dating from the late c17th, picturesque French c19th historicist and Art Nouveau architecture to flamboyant inter-war Neo-Romanian and Continue reading Tour in Mantuleasa

Brancovan vs Moldavian: basics

The video is a basic guide of how to make the difference between the two architectural styles peculiar to Romania, the Brancovan or Muntenian in the south, in the principality of Wallachia, and the Moldavian in the east, in the principality of Moldavia.

Tour in Mosilor area

Dear readers,

This is an invitation to an architectural walking tour in Mosilor area of Bucharest, open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog, Sunday 29 May 2016, for two hours, between 11.30h – 13.30h.

I will be your guide through one of the most picturesque areas of historic Bucharest, that has known a spectacular development after the unification of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia in the aftermath of the Crimean War. It is located on the road stemming from the old city toward Moldavia, known in the olden times as “The Highway” (“Drumul Mare”). Its name comes from that of the famous Mosilor fair, held outside Bucharest’s walls, where traders and peasants from Moldavia and north-eastern Wallachia came with their goods and products. Among of the most active and successful traders were the Armenians, who Continue reading Tour in Mosilor area

Reports and research by Valentin Mandache

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