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 the 1950s, a period that saw a major economic depression, the rise of the far right in politics, dictatorships, the war, the Soviet invasion, the communist takeover, and the local Stalinism. The beauty of the architecture of this corner of Bucharest, remarkably created during those adversities and vicissitudes, is an extraordinary proof of the resilience of the human spirit, in general, and of the community of this place, in particular. Domenii quarter thus became an architectural reservation for the Art Deco and Modernist designs for Romania’s capital, moreover encompassing a number of splendid houses in Neo-Romanian and other examples of inter-war and immediately post-war styles. We will have the opportunity to see and examine buildings designed by important names from the pleiad of architects of great talent from those times, such as Dimitrie Ionescu-Berechet, Alexandru Zamfiropol, Pandele Serbanescu or Victor Asquini, to cite just a few from the multitude of those creators.

Domenii, is now, judging from the municipality’s rules and regulations, a protected architectural area, but despite that particular heritage status, is suffering irreversible deteriorations caused by those who perform unprofessional renovations, or adopt architectural designs that disfigure the historic character of this prestigious area. Preserved houses and original fragments of those on which has been intervened upon, of that amazing interwar architecture, are awaiting to be discovered, admired and discussed by you, as part of this cultural excursion.

The tour costs Lei 90 (Romanian currency) per person, book by emailing v.mandache@gmail.com or using the comments section of this post. I will inform you of the meeting place after receiving the 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)

The Art Deco style of Domenii quarter – a Valentin Mandache guided tour
Architectural tour: the Art Deco of Domenii quarter

Tour: the architecture of the Athenaeum area – Saturday 25 September

Historic Houses of Romania tour in central BucharestDear readers,

I would like to invite you to an architectural history tour to take place in central Bucharest, in the area around the former Royal Palace, which contains the Romanian Athenaeum, the symbol of this town and many other landmark buildings that imprint its personality. The tour is scheduled on Saturday 25 September 2021, for two hours, between 11.00h – 13.00h. This cultural excursion 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.

Bucharest has had a number of central areas as it evolved from a medieval market town in what is now the Lipscani quarter, within a bend of the Dambovita river, afterward periodically shifting its location, following directions toward the main regional trading partners: to the south and east during the centuries of Ottoman domination, or to the north once the European powers had the upper hand in the region. What we call today the centre of Romania’s capital, the objective of our tour, emerged less than one and a half centuries ago, encompassing some of its most iconic historic architecture, from the Athenaeum, a magnificent concert hall in the Beaux Arts style, built in a first phase in 1888, designed by the French architect Albert Galleron, to the neoclassical outlines of the former Royal Palace (arch. N. Nenciulescu, 1937) that today hosts the National Art Museum, or the futuristic glass structure that crowns the neo-Renaissance building of the former Habsburg Empire’s Embassy gutted by fire in the anticommunist revolution of 1989. We will also examine the Athenee Palace hotel, the famous spy-nest where British, US and German spies tried to outwit each other in the years and months right before the Second World War, or the  despised former Communist Party’s Central Committee headquarters, where the dictator Ceausescu and his wife had to leave in haste to meet their fate, pursued by the revolted people of Bucharest, marking the end on one of the harshest dictatorships in Europe. The area is also still bearing bullet marks from the anticommunist revolution or even older traces left by the German air raid of August 1944. We will also visit and examine the site of the former National Theatre, the equivalent of England’s the Globe for Romania, and Cretzulescu Church, a masterwork of the Wallachian style, peculiar to the province of Wallachia, among many other objectives. All of those exquisite sights, concentrated in a quite small perimeter, enclosing some of the most important architectural landmarks of this town are awaiting to be discovered and photographed by you!

The tour costs 90 Lei (Romanian currency) per person, book by emailing v.mandache@gmail.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

Historic Houses of Romania tour in central Bucharest
Architectural history tour in the Athenaeum area of Bucharest

Historic Houses of Romania architectural tour in central Bucharest
Architectural history tour in the Athenaeum of Bucharest

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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 Dacia area

Dear readers,

This is an invitation to an architectural history walking tour in the area centred on Dacia – Eminescu and Polona streets of Bucharest, endowed with some of the best quality historic architecture of Romania’s capital, open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog on Sunday 19 September 2021 between 11.00h – 13.00h.

I will be your guide in this distinguished Bucharest quarter, packed with impressive building designs, especially Neoromanian, belonging to its mature (such as the image on the left) and late flamboyant phases, along with Art Deco and Modernist designs. Dacia also encompasses Little Paris and a multitude of mixed style buildings of a Read more

Tour in Bellu Cemetery

Dear readers,

I will be conducting a thematic walking tour this Sunday 15 August 2021, between 10.00h – 12.00h, 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 Read more

Tour in central Cotroceni

Walking tour in Cotroceni - central partDear readers,

I would like to propose you an walking architectural tour in Cotroceni quarter, in its central part, encompassing the area between St Elefterie Str. and Dr. Lister Str. The tour is scheduled to take place this Sunday 8 August 2021, between 10.00h – 12.00h. 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.

The focus points of the central part of Cotroceni are its two parish churches, the Old St Elefterie, an edifice containing 18th c. Wallachian style architecture vestiges, serving now the deaf community, which sits on a former island in the marshes around the Dambovita river, before the quarter started to be developed in the second half of the 19th century, giving us an idea about the local environmental history, and the grand New St Elefterie church, designed by arch. Constantin Iotzu in the 1930s, in the Neoromanian style, its Byzantine persuasion variety, in a period of Read more

Tour: Patriarchal See Hill area

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you, as the author of Historic Houses of Romania – Case de Epoca blog, to an architectural history tour in Patriarchal See Hill area of Bucharest, scheduled to take place this Saturday 7 August 2021, between 10.00h and 12.00h. This cultural excursion is open to all of you who are looking to find out more about the history and identity of Romania’s capital seen through its architectural heritage.

We will explore the urban expanse surrounding what is considered the “Acropolis” of Bucharest, the hill that dominates the old town and is the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the main faith of this country, containing the patriarchal cathedral together with its administrative quarters, reworked in the interwar period by the architect Gheorghe Simotta in neo-Brancovan and Neoromanian styles. The Patriarchal See Hill area also contains the Beaux Arts style building of the old Romanian Parliament, now belonging to the church too, designed by 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.

Tour: The Neo-Romanian style at its peak

Dear readers,

I will organise an architectural tour this Sunday 1 August 2021, between the hours 10.00h – 12.00h, on the subject of the mature phase of the Neo-Romanian architectural style, when it reached a peak in terms of expression and development. That represents an extraordinary creative period, unfurled throughout the first three decades of the c20th, which produced the most iconic and accomplished edifices in this manner of architectural design specific to Romania and neighbouring regions where the country had influence. The Neo-Romanian style had thus became the most visible identity marker of this nation and is now considered its chief contribution to the world’s built heritage. Bucharest is the best endowed place with edifices in that architecture, with a great selection of buildings from the period when the Neo-Romanian reach its magnificence. The tour may be of interest to any of you working as expatriates here or visiting the town, looking to find out more about its fascinating historic architecture and identity.

The mature phase of the Neo-Romanian style was initiated with the Great Royal Jubilee Exhibition of 1906 in Bucharest, when the pavilions of that venue were designed according to rigorous tenets, and the style was thus first properly and eloquently presented to the wider public of that epoch, and went on until the end of the third decade of the c20th, when it reached a certain crisis of expression under the impact of new, international, architectural fashions such as Read more

Tour in Piata Victoriei

Dear Readers,

This is an invitation to an architectural history tour in Piata Victoriei area of Bucharest: open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog, for two hours, between 10.00h – 12.00h, on Saturday 31 July 2021.

I will be your guide through a remarkably rich and architecturally varied area of central Bucharest, where famous public buildings often stand side by side with quaint Little Paris, Neo-Romanian or Art Deco and Modernist style private houses. The character of the local built landscape has been in large part determined by the architecture embellishing two Read more

Tour in Dorobanti area

Dear readers,

This is an invitation to an architectural history tour in Dorobanti area of Bucharest: open to all of you who would like to accompany me, the author of the Historic Houses of Romania blog, this Sunday 25 July 2021, for two hours, between 10.30h – 12.30h.

I will be your guide through one of the architecturally most distinguished areas of Bucharest, in the same league with neighbouring Kiseleff in its quality of historic buildings. Dorobanti is brimful with architectural wonders, ranging from the finest Neo-Romanian to Art Deco style houses or hybrids between the two, to many other architectural designs. There are Read more