Daily Picture 9-Sep-09: Bucharest representative La Belle Epoque building

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.

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The old Foreign Ministry building, Bucharest (old postcard Valentin Mandache collection)

The old Foreign Ministry building, Bucharest: a meeting place of 19th c. La Belle Epoque styles and colorful decorations, representative of Romania's capital "Little Paris" archtiecture (old postcard, Valentin Mandache collection)

The above old postcard shows the late 19th c. building, a former princely palace, that hosted the headquarters of Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs until mid 1930s. The cramming together of a myriad of decorative elements from Second Empire styles to Art Nouveau motifs, painted in strident colours (according to the travel guides of the period) and the obvious lack of proportions are representative of the somehow provincial aspiring European architectural tastes prevalent among the local fin de siècle aristocrats and moneyed people. Nevertheless the period produced a picturesque La Belle Epoque architecture, which still imprints many of Bucharest’s old quarters with their typical “Little Paris” aspect. As architectural tastes developed, the building was demolished in mid 1930s, amid notable well founded protests from historians and local citizens, to make space for a well proportioned modernist building, which today hosts Romania’s Government headquarters.

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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.