Mock Half-Timbered Neo-Romanian Style House

Mock half-timbered Neo-Romanian style house, dating from mid-1930s, Sinaia, the Transylvanian Alps. (©Valentin Mandache)

The architecture of the mountain resort of Sinaia in the Transylvanian Alps, 120km north of Bucharest, is a colourful and interesting gathering of period styles ranging from the historicist orders of the late c19th to the Neo-Romanian, Art Deco and modernism of the inter-war period. Some of the imposing chalets of Sinaia display unusual combinations of architectural orders, such as is the case shown in the photograph above, which I managed to shoot during a downpour on one of many mountain slopes criss-crossing the town. The main features of this house are in the vein of the Neo-Romanian style from the arches of the corner tower veranda, flanked by Byzantine type columns, to the finial crowning its spire or the aspect of the chimney stack, etc. The odd presence here is the mock half timber façade decoration and the steep angle of the tower spire, elements inspired from German historicist architectural models. Responsible for that interesting juxtaposition is the fierce local competition, if I can put it that way, between the architectural models fashionable in Sinaia during the inter-war period. There was much prestige attached to the patriotic Neo-Romanian style, which was also exercised by the Bavarian renaissance style of the Royal Pelesh Castle, one of the country’s most prestigious edifices, hosted within the town’s confines. The architect in the case of this particular chalet seems to have solved the conundrum faced by the owner in that regard, by combining elements of the two architectural orders. The results are quite attractive in my opinion and constitute another proof of the effervescent creative atmosphere of that era in Romania.


I endeavor through this series of daily 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 a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.