Rural Wallachian style – Maldaresti Church

The architectural style native to the former principality of Wallachia, the Wallachian, which manifested itself throughout the 18th c especially, as a local interpretation of the Ottoman baroque developed on older Byzantine and Western traditions, is expressed in high forms, such as town churches and monasteries, but also in rural, near vernacular versions, which nevertheless are intensely charming, with an intrinsic aesthetics and artistic value. Such an example is the Maldaresti village church, signalled in this video, from the Oltenia province of southwestern Romania, built in 1774 – 1790, which is still in a remarkable state of conservation, although in great need of care.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Wallachian style veranda (late 17th c)

This example of a living quarters for princely family veranda is at the Monastery from One Piece of Wood in the Oltenia province of southwestern Romania, and it exhibits the Wallachian style’s exuberance of colours and Ottoman baroque architectural elements, such as the keel arch and the inverse slant roof eaves.

***********************************************

My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

The Ottoman Baroque in Wallachia and Bulgaria

In this video I chart the influence of the Ottoman baroque from its centre of radiation, Istanbul, to the European northern parts of the empire: in Wallachia and Bulgaria, a process which started in the late 17th c and unfurled until the mid 19th c. There are marked differences in how this influence took roots and materialised in the region, most paradoxically being the fact that it started on the frontier, in Wallachia, a relatively long distance from Istanbul, and a century later in Bulgaria, which was practically next door to the great Ottoman capital. That influence materialised into the emergence of the Wallachian and the Bulgarian Renaissance styles in art and architecture, which imprint the identity of these regions/ countries. The way I look at those phenomena is in the wider regional and historical context, and not in the local Romanian and Bulgarian ones as is most often the case with such analyses.

***********************************************

My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

Old postcard acquisitions – Feb. 2022

This video is a review of the architectural history subjects seen on the old postcards, which I purchased in February 2022 from an antique bookshop in Bucharest. Two of them also contain text sent by the senders to their families, from abroad back home in Romania (one of them will become a famous geology professor), and together give us a better feeling of those times about a century or so ago when the cards were used. The other three cards were published with the occasion of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, in 1925, when the Art Deco style was launched, constituting important witnesses of a history making moment in architecture.

The Battle of Posada (1330) – considerations on its location

I went to the Dambovicioara Gorges in the Bran Pass of the Transylvanian Alps, to have a feel of what I consider to be the real location of the Posada Battle of 1330, when Wallachia has gained its independence from the medieval Hungarian Kingdom. The event is considered the first manifestation of the Romanian national community, and therefore important for the identity of this major region of Southeastern Europe. There are a multitude of locations considered for this battle, but this one, following my years long research, is, I believe, the most appropriate one.

Tour: the early Neo-Romanian style

scf-003The early Neoromanian architecture as seen in Gradina Icoanei area of Bucharest.

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a walking architectural tour on Sunday 24 October 2021, between the hours 11.00h – 13.00h, in Gradina Icoanei area, on the theme of the exceedingly important for this country’s heritage Neo-Romanian architectural style, in its early phase, how this design peculiar to Romania has been initiated and defined, a period of cultural upheavals and economic prosperity from the 1880s until the mid 1900s. This 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 Neoromanian architectural style is the most visible and amplest body of heritage that this country has bestowed on the world’s culture. Gradina Icoanei area of Bucharest has the highest concentration of buildings featuring this architectural design in its inaugural stages, what I term as the early phase of Romania’s national architecture. The style was initiated by the architect Ion Mincu in 1886 with the Lahovary House, an edifice viewed at  this tour, continued with a Read more

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 Saturday 23 October 2021, between the hours 11.00h – 13.00h, 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 personality of its own, combining the new forms with the indigenous and Ottoman traditional motifs and 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 17 October 2021for two hours, between 11.00h – 13.00h.

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: Art Deco and Modernist Bucharest

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to an after working hours walking tour, this Saturday 16 October 2021, between 11.00h – 13.00h, 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 Read more

Tour: Kiseleff area & the late Neoromanian style

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a thematic walking tour this Sunday 3 October 2021, 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 11.00h – 13.00h, 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 Neo-Romanian style managed to survive and even thrive, until the watershed of the Read more