The stone base of a Little Paris style iron fence

Istrita stone base of a 1880s cast iron fence, General Manu House, Calea Victoriei Boulevard, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The period street fence bases in Bucharest are usually made from concrete or bricks. The ones made from stone are an expensive choice in a city located in the middle of the Lower Danube Prairie, far away from quarries. They were an option for wealthier proprietors before the era of the concrete, which for Romania’s capital started in the mid 1900s. Therefore nowadays the fence stone bases are a rarity and most of the remaining ones date from the mid to the late c19th. The image above shows such a survivor from the 1880s (could be a decade earlier), adorned with a beautiful cast iron fence in what I term the Little Paris style, prevalent throughout urban Romania in that period, contemporary with the base. Cast iron fences are in general older than the wrought iron ones, which in Bucharest start to be used on a wider scale beginning with the mid-1890s. The stone, a warm lumachel lime, originates from Istrita Hill peasant run quarries in Buzau county, 100 km north east of Bucharest, for centuries the main source of building and pavement stone for the city.

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