Fin de Siècle house in Targoviste

A beautiful Fin de Siècle house in Targoviste, southern Romania photographed in a late July 2010 afternoon against a stormy sky. (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this series of daily 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 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.

Balkan Monarchs, September 2010 (via Diana Mandache’s Weblog)

This is a post first published on Diana’s blog on royal history. The first photo shows the actual four Balkan monarchs together at a royal event in Serbia this month. The photograph is evocative of the better times of stability enjoyed by this region during the reign of their predecessors, in contrast with the endemic volatility of the last seven decades of republican rule. For Romania, the monarchy has been the most beneficial form of government in this land’s history, a period of organic modernisation and integration with the advanced economies and cultures of Europe. Most of the historic architecture of the region has been developed during the reign of the Balkan monarchs. There is a second photograph in this post taken one century ago, showing the ancestors of the present kings, also gathered together, thus emphasizing even more the continuity, consistency and relevance of the royal era for this region of Europe.

Balkan Monarchs, September 2010 This a rare historical image, the most recent gathering of the Balkan Monarchs, photograph taken on the occasion of the silver wedding anniversary of Crown Prince of Serbia. In the image l to r: King Simeon of Bulgaria, Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia, King Michael of Romani … Read More

via Diana Mandache’s Weblog

Art Deco Floral Motifs for Birthday Celebration

Art Deco floral panels, 1930s Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

My wife, Diana, celebrates today her birthday! To mark this beautiful event, I composed a photomontage and slide show of Art Deco style floral panels, which I photographed throughout the year in Bucharest. These exquisite designs adorn façades of houses dating from the 1930s, a truly golden and happy era for this city. The panels are renderings of luxuriant flowers and vegetation symbolising the paradisiac Southern Seas to which the inter-war Bucharesters, inhabitants of Europe’s austere the lower Danube prairie, where longing to travel and experience, especially during the long Siberia like winters that often engulf this region. I would like to dedicate these charming architectural ‘slices of paradise’ to Diana and wish her a very, very happy birthday!!! Valentin:)

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Art Deco floral panels, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this series of daily 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.

Listen online to the radio interview given by the “Historic Houses of Romania”

Dear blog readers,

For those of you who speak or understand Romanian, the interview which I gave to Radio Romania, the Famous Signatures programme, produced by Mrs Denise Theodoru, and broadcast last Saturday 25 Sep ’10, can now be listened online on the website of the Romanian national radio; for access click here or on the image bellow.

With best regards,

Valentin Mandache, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog

Radio Romania Actualitati

Neo-Romanian style wall lamps: incense burner shape

Neo-Romanian style exterior wall lamps adorning the edifice (dating from early 1920s) of the former Marmorosch Blank Bank in central Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

These two exquisite lamps adorn the façade of the former Marmorosch Blank Bank headquarters in the Lipscani area of Bucharest. The bank has been one of the main financial institutions of inter-war Romania. It became, trough its mortgage and other type of loan lending to the population and businesses, one of the engines behind the inter-war Bucharest building boom, which saw the emergence of the Neo-Romanian and Art Deco architectural style skyline of the city. The bank headquarters were erected between 1915 – 1923, with a break during the Great War, after a design by the architect Petre Antonescu, one of the most seminal Romanian architects. The building incorporates elements inspired from late medieval Romanian church architecture originating in both Wallachia and Moldova. The Moldovan elements are discernible in the Gothic patterns and ornaments as can be seen in the photograph above in the dress of the window opening. I like the more unusual shape of the wall lamps, which is a rendering of the chain held incense burner used by priests performing Christian ceremonies, perfectly in tone with the overall church inspired architecture and decoration of the building.

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I endeavor through this series of daily 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.

Art Deco windows frames with Romanian ethnographic carvings

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One of delightful aspects of the Art Deco architectural style in Bucharest is its assimilation and recycling of indigenous decorative motifs, resulting in surprising adaptations of this decorative order to the local cultural environment. I found that fact nicely reflected in the window frames, which adorn Bucharest houses built in the mid-1930s, shown in the above slide show. The frames are carved with Romanian ethnographic motifs, typical of the peasant art of rural Romania, representing examples of the creative artistic fusions that give a strong local flavour to an international architectural order.

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I endeavor through this series of daily 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.

“Historic Houses of Romania” interview on Radio Romania, tomorrow at 21.06 (GMT+3)

Dear readers,

I would like invite you tomorrow, Saturday 25 September ’10 at 21.06 h (GMT+3, ie London summer hour + 2h), to listen to an interview which I gave at the invitation of Mrs Denise Theodoru, senior editor at Radio Romania Actualitati, the national radio broadcasting station in this country, within the programme entitled “Famous Signatures, which can be listened obline at the link just mentioned or for those of you based in Romania on the radio frequency 105,3 FM. The interview is in the Romanian language and takes about one hour. The recording was conducted walking up and down leafy streets in a corner of Bucharest that still preserves its picturesque inter-war mix of Art Deco and Neo-Romanian architectural styles and urban ambient. I expounded there actual issues facing the historic houses of Bucharest and Romania and made considerations about the local market for period properties of which I am the only specialist consultant in this country. I also spoke about my professional training as a historian at the London School of Economics and activity in the United Kingdom in fields related to the study and market of historic houses.

With best regards,

Valentin Mandache, author of the “Historic Houses of Romania” blog

The webpage from Radio Romania Actualitati announcing the interview

Rare Arabic inscription on church pediment

Arabic votive inscription on Romanian church doorway, dating from 1747, Old St Spiridon Church, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Most of what is now Romania has been for centuries a part of the Ottoman Empire. The principalities of Wallachia and Moldova, and also at a later date Transylvania, where the only autonomous Christian protectorates of this empire, governed by Christian princes, where permanent places of Muslim worship or settlement where not allowed, following special c15th autonomy treaties with the Porte. For about one hundred years, from the beginning of the c18th, Wallachia and Moldova where governed by princes from the great Istanbul Greek families, loyal subjects of the Continue reading Rare Arabic inscription on church pediment

Minimalist Art Deco Style Doorway

A late 1930s Art Deco style doorway for an apartment block in the Mantuleasa area of Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The design is characterised by a minimalist modernist decoration of lines arranged in rectangular patterns, with just one ‘flamboyant’ element in the form of a stylised sunburst among clouds, placed at centre of the composition.

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I endeavor through this series of daily 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.

‘Always Imperial’: new article by Diana Mandache in ‘Majesty’ magazine (UK)- royalromania blog

Marie Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, Duchess of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1853-1920) has been the mother of Queen Marie of Romania and great-grandmother of HM King Michael of Romania. This article, by Diana, just published in the UK based magazine “Majesty”, reviews her life through excerpts from her well written correspondence kept at the Romanian archives.

'Always Imperial': my new article in Majesty magazine To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the death of Marie Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, Duchess of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Majesty magazine has just published my article ‘Always Imperial’ in their October 2010 issue. Other articles on royal history contained within this issue: ‘Frankly speaking’ (Prince Francis of Teck) by Adrian Woodhouse, ‘On His Majesty’s Service’ (Duke and Duchess of Windsor) by Robert Prentice. see for m … Read More

via Diana Mandache’s Weblog