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 on Sunday 7 May 2023, between the hours 12.00h – 14.00h, 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 Read more

Tour: Art Deco and Modernist Bucharest

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to an after working hours walking tour, this Sunday 30 April 2023, between 12.00h – 14.00h, 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 favourite Art Deco theme in Bucharest was that of the ocean liner, reflecting the longing of the inter-war locals to travel to exotic places in the southern seas, far Read more

Tour in Dorobanti area

Dear readers,

This is an invitation to an architectural history tour in Dorobanti area of Bucharest: open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog, this Saturday 29 April 2023, for two hours, between 12.00h – 14.00h.

I will be your guide through one of the architecturally most distinguished areas of Bucharest, in the same league with neighbouring Kiseleff in its quality of historic buildings. Dorobanti is brimful with architectural wonders, ranging from the finest Neo-Romanian to Art Deco style houses or hybrids between the two, to many other architectural designs. There are also some beautiful public monuments from the inter-war period dotting the tree lined streets and piazzas. The area Read more

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 Sunday 16 April 2023, between the hours 12.00h – 14.00h.

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 Wallachian style churches, some dating from the late c17th, picturesque French c19th historicist and Art Nouveau architecture to flamboyant inter-war Neo-Romanian and slender Art Deco and International Modernist style dwellings, all within the space of less than one square kilometre. The architectural mix of Mantuleasa, although is apparently exhilaratingly chaotic, nevertheless follows certain discernible Read more

Tour: Kiseleff area & the late Neoromanian style

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a thematic walking tour this Saturday 15 April 2023, 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 12.00h – 14.00h, 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 Read more

Tour in east Cotroceni

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 12.00h – 14.00h, on Sunday 9 April 2023.

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 Read more

Tour: Art Nouveau Bucharest

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a thematic architectural tour, this Saturday 8 April 2023, between the hours 12.00h – 14.00h, on the subject of the exceedingly interesting, but somehow 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 admired within this Read more

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 19 March 2023, for two hours, between 12.30h – 14.30h.

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 interwar Modernism, and also Read more

Tour: the Art Deco of Domenii quarter

Domenii text start En -750x500 ADear Readers,

I would like to propose you a tour dedicated to the first class Art Deco style architecture of Domenii quarter, guided by me, Valentin Mandache, the architectural historian, and open to all of you who would like to finding out in a learned, interdisciplinary, but easy to comprehend manner about the cultural and architectural identity of Bucharest, scheduled to take place this Saturday 18 March 2023, between the hours 12.30h – 14.30h.

Domenii is important as an architectural landmark for Bucharest, revealed by the fact that in the past has been the host of a part of the city’s professional elite, comprising especially high and medium rank officials from the interwar Ministry of Agriculture and of the Royal Domains, hence its name, and also pilots and aircraft engineers who worked at the nearby airport and its famous aviation workshops. The area has been built between the beginning of the 1920s and the end of the 1950s, a period that saw a major economic depression, the rise of the far right in politics, dictatorships, the war, the Soviet invasion, the communist takeover, and the local Stalinism. The beauty of the architecture of this corner of Bucharest, remarkably created during those adversities and vicissitudes, is an extraordinary proof of the resilience of the human spirit, in general, and Read more

Architectural history fieldwork tool: Binoculars Pentax Papilio 6.5×21

This is a brief presentation of the Pentax Papilio II 6.5×21 binoculars, which are an important tool in my fieldwork as an architectural historian. Being able to distinguish ornamental or structural details from a distance, on roofs, high on the wall of a tall building, or the ceiling of a reception hall or other architectural nook and crannies is essential in the work of a field architectural historian. A good pair of binoculars are invaluable in that regard. In choosing them I have to strike a balance between price, performance, lightness, and usefulness. Pentax Papilio II 6.5×21 seems to be the best choice available now on the market.


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.