I would like to invite you to a Historic Houses of Romania walking tour, in the area centered on Mathias Berthelot Street, just north of Cismigiu Park, which is a repository of some of the most representative period architecture imprinting the personality of Romania’s capital, akin to an open air museum of its built heritage.
The tour is scheduled to take place this Sunday 27 June 2021, between the hours 11.30h – 13.30h. This cultural excursion could be of interest to any of you visiting Romania’s capital as a tourist or on business, looking to understand the character of this metropolis through discovering its peculiar and fascinating old architecture.
Mathias Berthelot, whose name is given to the main street in the area, was a French general of the Great War era, who in 1916 became the commander of the Allied mission tasked with reorganising and equipping Romania’s Royal Army, thus enabling it to effectively oppose the Central Powers and hinder their plans to occupy the country. For his achievements he was made a honorary citizen of Romania and is considered a hero of both countries. The French influence is also prevalent in the architecture of Berthelot urban space, seen in an array containing quaint Little Paris style residences, displaying Art Nouveau decorations besides, palazzos, and the best of them all, the French Renaissance inspired Kretzulescu Palace, one of the town’s iconic buildings, erected in the early 1900, designed by arch. Petre Antonescu. The Radio Broadcasting House is another important edifice, built at the height of the Stalinist era, but designed during the previous, fascist, dictatorship, in Mussolinian style, by arch. Tiberiu Ricci. A local focal point is Luigi Cazzavillan Park, a picturesque green corner, landscaped in the manner of French and Italian parks of the La Belle Époque period, commemorating the Italian origin journalist with that name, who founded the first mass-circulation newspaper of Romania, Universul. Another focus is the building of the Ministry of Education, an early Neoromanian style edifice, erected at the turn between the 19th and the 20th centuries, celebrating the school reformer Spiru Haret, the initiator of the modern state sponsored education system in this Balkan country, and the only Romanian having his name given to a crater on the Moon. The area is also known for the the main worshiping place of the Catholics of Bucharest, the St Joseph Cathedral, built in the 1880s, in a historicist style inspired from the early north Italian Renaissance, by the Austrian architects Friederich Schmidt and Carol Benesch. An architect associated with the Catholic community, Carol Cortobius, has designed a remarkable Art Nouveau house, not far from the church, inspired from the Secession movement, which we are going to examine and admire as part of this tour. The architecture of Berthelot area also encompasses magnificent examples of residential buildings in Neoromanian, Art Deco and also inter-war Modernist styles, the later epitomised by a remarkable apartment block from the late 1930s, by Ion and Tiberiu Niga architectural bureau, who were among the creators of Bucharest’s interwar skyline. By now, from the above descriptions, you can probably sense that this relatively small urban territory, is abundantly endowed with quality historic architecture, from public to domestic edifices, awaiting to be discovered and examined by you, under my guidance, as part of this Historic Houses of Romania cultural walk.
The tour costs Lei 70 (Romanian currency) per person, book by emailing email@example.com or using the comments section of this post. You will be informed of meeting place on booking. There is a limit of seven participants to this tour, which will take place according to the Covid regulations in force on that day.
I look forward to seeing you at the tour,
Valentin Mandache, architectural historian (tel: 0040 (0)728323272)
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.