Tour: the early Neo-Romanian style – Sunday 14 August

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 14 August 2022, 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 series of iconic edifices, such as the Central School for Girls, another objective of the tour, or the Causeway Buffet. The then new national architecture quickly gained popularity and featured in the works of other known architects of that period, such as Giulio Magni, who designed Elie Radu house, viewed at this tour, or Louis Blanc. The most interesting aspect of the early Neoromanian phase is the synthesis of this style with the historicist forms typical of the Little Paris design, then the fashionable building style in town, resulting in unique and fascinating architectural creations, from those produced by professional architects to vernacular buildings erected by craftsmen or ordinary people of the Fin de Siècle period. There were also syntheses with the Art Nouveau in that initial period of the Neoromanian style. The end of the early phase of the Romania’s national architecure is marked by the Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1906 in Bucharest, when the this order was codified in the buildings presented at the event, launching its mature phase, seen there and subsequently embraced by Romanian public in the country and provinces in the neighbouring empires with significant Romanian population. During the tour we will locate and examine some of the most significant early Neoromanian buildings, such as the famous Lahovary House and a great multitude of other edifices representative of that stage of development, many of them remarkably grouped within the Icoanei Garden area of central Bucharest, and now more than a century old.

The tour costs Lei 90 (Romanian currency), book by emailingBook by emailing v.mandache@gmail.com or using the comments section of this post. The deadline for registrations is Friday 12 August, 20.00h (Bucharest hour, GMT+2). You will be informed of the meeting place on booking. Minimum three participants (or the equivalent fee if fewer), maximum ten.

I look forward to seeing you at the tour,

Valentin Mandache, architectural historian, tel: 0040 (0)728323272

Walking tour: the early Neo-Romanian architectural style of Gradina Icoanei area (©Valentin Mandache)
The early Neo-Romanian architectural style of Gradina Icoanei area

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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.

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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.

Tour in Bellu Cemetery – Saturday 13 August

Dear readers,

I will be conducting a thematic walking tour this Saturday 13 August 2022, between 11.00h – 13.00h, on the less conventional subject of funerary architecture found within the confines of Bellu Cemetery, the most famous and exquisitely embellished necropolis of Romania, the equivalent in these parts of Europe of Paris’ Père Lachaise or London’s Highgate cemetery. It 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.

Bellu Cemetery is considered the National Pantheon of this country, containing the graves and remarkable funerary monuments of important personalities that built the modern Romanian nation, people such as Mihai Eminescu, the national poet, Ion Mincu, the initiator of the Neo-Romanian architectural style or general Christian Tell, one of the heroes of 1848 Revolution. It was opened in 1858 as a public burial ground, part of the city’s advanced urban planning developments of the Victorian era, occasioned by a fast increase in population, when traditional cemeteries around urban churches became overcrowded and a health hazard, as was the case with other European capitals of that era. Many of Bellu’s funerary monuments are outstanding architectural tributes that the great, the good and the wealthy dedicated to their dead ones. These structures trace closely the changing architectural ideas and fashions of their time, representing a veritable condensed encyclopaedia of design styles. Their decorative details are often superlative and contain a wealth of symbols ranging from sacred, ethnographic to the profane. The cemetery is part of the Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe as a recognition of its heritage value. This place so much laden with history and architectural showpieces is now among the tours organised by the Historic Houses of Romania blog author!

The tour costs Lei 90 (Romanian currency), book by emailingBook by emailing v.mandache@gmail.com or using the comments section of this post. The deadline for registrations is Friday 12 August, 20.00h (Bucharest hour, GMT+2). You will be informed of the meeting place on booking. Minimum three participants (or the equivalent fee if fewer), maximum ten.

I look forward to seeing you at the tour,

Valentin Mandache, architectural historian, tel: 0040 (0)728323272

Valentin Mandache, architectural historian – tour in Bellu Cemetery
Valentin Mandache, architectural historian – tour in Bellu Cemetery (map source: Bing Maps)

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

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.

Tour: Kiseleff area & the late Neoromanian style

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a thematic walking tour this Sunday 31 July 2022, 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 10.30h – 12.30h, 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 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 30 July 2022, between the hours 10.30h – 12.30h, 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 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 9 July 2022, 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 Read more

Plantelor area of Bucharest tour – video teaser

Here are a series of photos charting the route of my architectural history tour in Plantelor area of Bucharest, showing eloquent buildings, cityscapes, and me, the tour guide, in all a singular cultural experience for those who participate. This is one of the multitude of tours and courses that I offer in person or online, enabling you to find out in an eloquent and structured manner about Bucharest, its architectural identity and history, within its highly peculiar southeastern European context, at the articulation point between the East and the West.