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: 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: the Art Deco of Domenii quarter – Sunday 26 September

Dear readers,

I would like to propose you a tour dedicated to the first class Art Deco style architecture of Domenii quarter, guided by me, Valentin Mandache, the architectural historian, and open to all of you who would like to finding out in a learned, interdisciplinary, but easy to comprehend manner about the cultural and architectural identity of Bucharest, scheduled to take place this Sunday 26 September, between the hours 11.00h – 13.00h.

Domenii is important as an architectural landmark for Bucharest, revealed by the fact that in the past has been the host of a part of the city’s professional elite, comprising especially high and medium rank officials from the interwar Ministry of Agriculture and of the Royal Domains, hence its name, and also pilots and aircraft engineers who worked at the nearby airport and its famous aviation workshops. The area has been built between the beginning of the 1920s and the end of Read more

The historic peasant cemetery of Cotorca, Buzau county

In the middle of the Baragan Prairie, of southeast Romania, there is a historic peasant cemetery conserving Wallachian style stone crosses from the 19th c to the early 20th c. The place is an extraordinary time capsule and a testimony of a long gone way of life, traditions and culture of the rural communities in the plains at the foot of the Great Bend of the Carpathian Mountains.

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

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.

Announcing the launch of The Romanian History Podcast

I plan launching a quality monthly podcast on Romanian History, as a complement to my education and research work in the field of architectural history in Southeast Europe.

This video outlines the general conceptual framework and schedule of the podcast. There are a myriad of podcasts on a multitude of history subjects, but only a handful are dedicated to this corner of Europe. Their research quality and delivery is also not up to scratch, not speaking of the nationalist and politicised approach of those disparate podcast creators catering for this European region at the crossroads of East and West.

My intention is to make a difference by having a holistic approach to the subject, involving historical geography, ethnography, geo-history and geopolitics, and last, but not least to show how those reflect in the architectural heritage of the lands now forming the state of Romania and its surrounding territories. Watch this video see and listen how I expound those ideas.

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

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 Contact page of this weblog.

Constantin D Rosenthal – an exhibition at the National Museum of Art in Bucharest

The 19th c painter CD Rosenthal has been an important figure of the 1848 Revolution in Wallachia, which has put the basis of the modern national identity of what a few decades later will become Romania. He was a Hungarian Jew, which made his contribution even more momentous in the pivotal moments that are at the origins of this modern nation state in southeast Europe. This video is a review of the commemorative exhibition of his works taking place this season at the National Museum of Art in Bucharest (MNAR). He was a recorder of those events and protagonists, in an era before the mass media, painting his friends, the revolutionaries, who were young local aristocrats, and other people who, like him of cosmopolitan background, came to identify themselves with the political movement that aimed to set up this new national state. One such personality was the Scottish woman, Mary Grant, the model for his most famous painting, ‘Revolutionary Romania’. The exhibition is an excellent breviary of a pivotal moment in the history of this country, which conditioned its cultural and political evolution ever after, including the outlook and directions of its architecture.

Vernacular architecture in Southeastern Romania (Baragan Prairie)

The architecture of the peasant houses from the Baragan Prairie of southeast Romania, got contoured starting with the first decades of the 18th c, representing a sui generis synthesis between the type of houses from the Transylvanian Alps and the Great Bend of the Carpathians, encountered among the local Romanian and Hungarian (Szekler) communities, and from what is now central Bulgaria, in regions such as Plovdiv, which in that period were representing the core of the Ottoman culture and power in the northern Balkans. In this video I am charting that process of architectural coalescence between the vernacular architectures to the north and the south of the Baragan Prairie, which we can still admire and examine today in the villages of southeast Romania.

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

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 Tulip Period and the Wallachian Style

The Wallachian style in art and architecture, which is usually known as Brancovenesc (an incorrect term, in my opinion), was developed in the geopolitical and cultural context of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 17th century, culminating with the first decades of the 18th century, a period in the cultural history of the Ottoman Empire, called the Tulip Period. It is an era of Europeanisation of the Istanbul’s empire’s elite, and experimentation with new artistic models, and their synthesis in what will become the Ottoman Baroque and Rococo. The Wallachian style is a repercussion of those major trends in the special cultural conditions of Wallachia, with its Byzantine heritage, and its political autonomy as an Ottoman vassal, at the frontier of the sultan’s realm. In this video I articulate the broader phenomenon of the Tulip Period, to its narrower and more peculiar manifestation as the Wallachian Style, highlighting its wide international and complex cultural context of those times. Only through such a broad perspective we can understand the meanings and manifestations of the architectural style of Wallachia, that principality’s most important contribution to the world culture.

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

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.