Greetings from La Belle Époque

Doorway greetings panel from La Belle Époque period, 1890s house in Iancului area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

The photograph above presents a picturesque panel inscribed with the Latin greetings “Salve” (“hail to you”) that adorns the doorway of a Bucharest Little Paris style house (what I call the French c19th historicist architectural styles provincially interpreted in Romania during La Belle Époque/ late Victorian period). That was an epoch when the literature and the culture in general was obsessed with the Latin roots of the Romanian language and the ethnic origins of the Romanians in the empire of Rome. I found very interesting the presence of the rope motif ornament at the top of the image, which is an early Neo-Romanian style decorative element, a fact that shows the increasing popularity of the new patriotic architectural style that emerged in those years. The charm of the whole assemble is perturbed by a quite harsh contemporary colour scheme and a modern gas pipe that crosses the image just beneath the greetings panel, facts reflecting the crude tastes of the local post-communist property owners.


I endeavor through this daily 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.


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