Patriarchy Hill area: images from last Sunday’s architectural history & photo tour

Patriarchy Hill area: architectural history & photo tour, 17 July '11 (©Valentin Mandache)

The tour benefited from an unexpectedly breezy weather for this period of the year, which energized even more the enthusiasm of the participants in discovering the architectural intricacies of the edifices that make up the “Acropolis” of Bucharest and its surrounding maize of streets. The Patriarchy Hill contains the oldest buildings in use of Romania’s capital, with fragments datable from the c16th, making up the religious centre and administrative complex of the Romanian Orthodox Church Patriarchate, the institution that heads the main faith of this country. The small private residences sprinkled around the hill are in general in the Little Paris style, popular in the second half of the c19th, when the area was the very heart of the city and of entire Romania, hosting its secular (the Parliament) and temporal centres. The high prestige associated with the buildings in and around the Patriarchy Hill made them architectural models followed by craftsmen and architects in designs implemented in other quarters of Bucharest. We thus had an excellent opportunity to do some interesting “architectural archaeology” reviewing many of the surviving remains of this once illustrious part of the city, now in noticeable decline as in the last one hundred years, Bucharest’s economic, political and cultural centre has slowly moved toward the north. I trust that the participants enjoyed this nostalgic and also intellectual encounter with buildings that in many aspects comprise the essence of what once named the Little Paris of the Balkans! :)

Patriarchy Hill area: architectural history & photo tour, 17 July '11 (photo: Ioana Novac)

Tour participants and guide admiring and photographing some of the exquisite Barncovan style architectural details, some dating from the mid-c17th, used as archetype by the modern era Neo-Romanian style  designers, which embellish the Patriarch’s Palace.

Patriarchy Hill area: architectural history & photo tour, 17 July '11 (photo: Romulus Andrei Bena,

The undersigned giving explanations to tour participants about the picturesque Little Paris style dwellings located on United Principalities street, one of the former high prestige address areas of Bucharest in the c19th, before the centre of government and industry shifted to the north outskirts once the city developed strong trade links with Central and Western Europe, diminishing those with the former Ottoman world to the south.

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

!!! The next Sunday (24 July ’11, 9am-12.00) architectural history and photography tour will take place in Gara de Nord historic quarter, north-west-central Bucharest (see a map at this link); meeting point: Gara de Nord tube station (in front of the exit that faces, is closest to, the Railway Workers Monument). I look forward to seeing you there !!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s