Tour: the architecture of the Athenaeum area. Sunday 31.07

Historic Houses of Romania tour in central BucharestDear readers,

I would like to invite you to an architectural history tour to take place in central Bucharest, in the area around the former Royal Palace, which contains the Romanian Athenaeum, the symbol of this town and many other landmark buildings that imprint its personality. The tour is scheduled on Sunday 31 July 2016, for two hours, between 10.30h – 12.30h. This cultural excursion 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 identity.

Bucharest has had a number of central areas as it evolved from a medieval market town in what is now the Lipscani quarter, within a bend of the Dambovita river, afterward periodically shifting its location, following directions toward the main regional trading partners: to the south and east during the centuries of Ottoman domination, or to the north once the European powers had the upper hand in the region. What we call today the centre of Romania’s capital, the objective of our tour, emerged less than one and a half centuries ago, encompassing some of its most iconic historic architecture, from the Athenaeum, a magnificent concert hall in the Beaux Arts style, built in a first phase in 1888, designed by the French architect Albert Galleron, to the neoclassical outlines of the former Royal Palace (arch. N. Nenciulescu, 1937) that today hosts the National Art Museum, or the futuristic glass structure that crowns the neo-Renaissance building of the former Habsburg Empire’s Embassy gutted by fire in the anticommunist revolution of 1989. We will also examine the Athenee Palace hotel, the famous spynest where British, US and German spies tried to outwit each other in the years and months right before the Second World War, or the  despised former Communist Party’s Central Committee headquarters, where the dictator Ceausescu and his wife had to leave in haste to meet their fate, pursued by the revolted people of Bucharest, marking the end on one of the harshest dictatorships in Europe. The area is also still bearing bullet marks from the anticommunist revolution or even older traces left by the German air raid of August 1944. We will also visit and examine the site of the former National Theatre, the equivalent of England’s the Globe for Romania, and Cretzulescu Church, a masterwork of the Barncovan style peculiar to the province of Wallachia, among many other objectives. The tour will end with a optional visit of Theodor Aman Museum (entrance fee Lei 5), a charming edifice embodying the quality domestic architecture of the La Belle Époque period Bucharest. All of those exquisite sights, concentrated in a quite small perimeter, enclosing some of the most important architectural landmarks of this town are awaiting to be discovered and photographed by you!

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

Historic Houses of Romania tour in central Bucharest
Historic Houses of Romania tour in central Bucharest
Historic Houses of Romania architectural tour in central Bucharest
Historic Houses of Romania architectural tour in central Bucharest

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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.

Tour in east Cotroceni. Saturday 30.07

Cotroceni East-13-3
Costache Negri fountain, east Cotroceni

Dear Readers,

I would like to invite you to an architecture history walk in one of the prestigious quarters of Bucharest, Cotroceni, its eastern, older, part, centred on the area between Dr. Nicolae Staicovici Street and Dr. Joseph Lister Street. This cultural excursion is open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of Historic Houses of Romania blog, for two hours, between 10.30h – 12.30h, on Saturday 30 July 2016.

I will be your guide through one of the best quality historic architecture areas of Romania’s capital, constituted from an array of exquisite Little Paris, Neoromanian, and Art Deco and Modernist style houses, intercalated with some alluring examples of Art Nouveau and Mediterranean. The eastern part of Cotroceni is also its oldest, containing one of the best preserved laid out property developments from the Fin de Siècle years. These edifices were built mainly by people belonging to the professional classes of Romania, especially medical doctors and army high echelon officers, of the La Belle Époque and interwar periods. They constructed their residences close by the former Royal Palace of Cotroceni, where the crown couple lived, today used as the Presidential Palace, and the Medical Sciences University, the most prestigious such institution in the south east of Europe, making the area one of the high status quarters of the capital. We will examine and admire the message and symbolism encompassed within designs created by a number of well known architects, like Jean Burcus or Peter Boico, and unearth layers of social and economic history underpinning the development of architecture of this quarter. I will show you how periods such as the prosperous years of the late 19th century or the oil export boom of the 1930s have left their imprint in the magnificence of the ornaments and details, but also how the Peasant Uprising of 1907, or the 1929-1933 Depression, have stunted the development of the area and diminished the aspirations of local patrons and their architects. Cotroceni is also populated by diverse species of  trees, which will give us an image of how a beautiful Bucharest quarter of yester-decades used to look, a sample of its environmental identity, a city renowned by its gardens and tree lined streets, before the urban agglomeration and decay of the communist and post-communist eras altered that charming character. All of this richness of detail is waiting to be discovered by you under my guidance as part of this cultural trail.

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

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Historic houses and old architectural details in east Cotroceni, Bucharest. ©Valentin Mandache
Cotroceni East - map-002
Historic Houses of Romania walking tour in east Cotroceni

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Tour: Bucharest’s great allegorical panoplies. 28.07

Historic Houses of Romania - Case de Epoca architectural tourDear readers,

I am organising an after working hours thematic architectural tour on Thursday 28 July 2016, between 18.30h – 20.00h, on the subject of the great architectural allegorical panoplies adorning some of the most prominent buildings in the centre of Bucharest. This cultural excursion may be of interest to any of you visiting the city as a tourist or on business, to discover the hidden messages and identities displayed by the beautiful, but often neglected richly decorated panels that contain human figures, ancient gods or legendary personages embellishing the pediment of the grand buildings constituting some of Romania’s capital architectural landmarks. They are in many aspects the architectural emblems of this town, today virtually unknown as regards their original message, a voice that still speaks from bygone epochs when they were created.

The tour costs Lei 50 (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)

The panoplies of Bucharest tour (©Valentin Mandache)

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

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.

Tour: Art Nouveau Bucharest

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a thematic architectural tour, this Sunday 24 July 2016, between the hours 11.00h – 13.00h, on the subject of the exceedingly interesting, but often elusive Art Nouveau architecture of Bucharest. The proposed 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 innovative and flamboyant Art Nouveau current that emerged at the end of c19th, as a reaction to the rigidity of the historicist styles, had also an important impact in Fin de Siècle Romania. One of its notable influences was the articulation within its coordinates of the local national style, known today as Neoromanian, in a similar manner with how other emerging national styles in the rest of Eastern Europe expressed themselves in Art Nouveau fashions. There are just a handful of buildings in town expounding the international Art Nouveau design as a whole, a number of them examined and Continue reading Tour: Art Nouveau Bucharest

Tour: Art Deco and Modernist Bucharest

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you this Saturday 23 July 2016, to a thematic walking tour, scheduled to take place between 11.00h – 13.00h, on the subject of the Art Deco and inter-war Modernist buildings of Bucharest. 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 identity.

The Art Deco style, which emerged during the “roaring ’20s” and became a global phenomenon in the 1930s was the first truly international architecture, embraced with gusto by the Bucharest people and the rest of urban Romania. The city became in those years a veritable Art Deco architectural regional “power“, embellished with high quality edifices in this style, many of which are still around, for us to admire and examine, despite the terrible historical upheavals of the last eight decades in this part of Europe. A favorite Art Deco theme in Bucharest was that of the ocean liner, reflecting the longing of the inter-war locals to Continue reading Tour: Art Deco and Modernist Bucharest

Neo-Romanian style bird feeder

The source of inspiration for this garden furniture artifact in Romania’s national architecture is the Byzantine church baptismal font.

Tour: Patriarchal See Hill area

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you, as the author of Historic Houses of Romania – Case de Epoca blog, to an architectural history tour in Patriarchal See Hill area of Bucharest, scheduled to take place this Sunday 17 July 2016, for two hours, between 11.00h and 13.00h. This cultural excursion is open to all of you who are looking to find out more about the history and identity of Romania’s capital seen through its architectural heritage.

We will explore the urban expanse surrounding what is considered the “Acropolis” of Bucharest, the hill that dominates the old town and is the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the main faith of this country, containing the patriarchal cathedral together with its administrative quarters, reworked in the interwar period by the architect Gheorghe Simotta in neo-Brancovan and Neoromanian styles. The Patriarchal See Hill also contains the Continue reading Tour: Patriarchal See Hill area

Tour in Batistei area

Walking tour in Batistei area of BucharestBatistei area – a fragment of the old Little Paris

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to an architectural tour focused on Batistei area, one of the most charming old corners of central Bucharest, with many of its buildings dating from from the La Belle Époque period, in a wonderful Little Paris architecture, which is still imprinting this town’s identity, a place where one can also admire other brilliant designs such as Neoromanian, Art Deco and inter-war Modernism. The walk is scheduled to take place this Saturday 16 July 2016, between 11.00h – 13.00h. 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 Batistei area stretchesi east from the National Theatre neighbourhood to the confines of the Mosilor, constituting an important part of histric Bucharest. Its name comes from that of the church around which the parish has crystalised in medieval times, which in its turn is a place name meaning in old Romanian language a “swampy lake,” a testimony of the former local natural environment that has been taken over by Continue reading Tour in Batistei area

Tour: the architecture of west Cotroceni

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 Continue reading Tour: the architecture of west Cotroceni

Tour: Kiseleff area & the late Neoromanian style

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 Continue reading Tour: Kiseleff area & the late Neoromanian style

Reports and research by Valentin Mandache

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