A Travellerspoint blog

Bucharest 1927

Aerial view of the heart of Bucharest, taken in 1927.

In the center of this historical image you can easily recognize the late Senate Square, with the foundations of the future Senate Palace, a project never finished. After World War Two, communist authorities abandoned the Senate project and erected an ugly concrete block instead, the Gioconda building.

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Posted by The Pilgrim 12:26 Comments (0)

Istoria uitata a Palatului Brancovenesc din Piata Unirii

In iulie 1711 marele spatar Toma Cantacuzino il tradeaza pe Constantin Voda Brancoveanu in lupta de la Stanilesti, pe fondul indeciziei domnitorului, trecand la rusi. Inalta Poarta il considera pe domnitor solidar cu fapta marelui spatar chiar in vremea cand Brancoveanu ducea o politica externa foarte "alunecoasa", acceptand si facand favoruri si turcilor, dar si rusilor si austriecilor in acelasi timp. Acesta este inceputul sfarsitului marelui domn, in ciuda tributului trimis mai departe spre Constantinopol.
Pentru tradarea sa, Brancoveanu ii confisca averile lui Toma, intre ele fiind si frumosul palat ridicat de acesta in 1708 langa Dambovita, la baza Dealului Mitropoliei.

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Brancoveanu daruieste fiilor sai palatul: se va numi din acel moment "palatul coconilor".
Podul Mogosoaiei pe care il croise chiar prin curtile cantacuzinilor lega acum direct casele sale de pe Dambovita si Curtea Domneasca, cu palatul de la Mogosoaia.

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Dupa executia lui Brancoveanu si a fiilor sai la Constantinopol, Palatul Cantacuzino-Brancoveanu ajunge al spatarului Iordache Cretulescu, ginerele fostului domnitor, apoi al Ghiculestilor, apoi din nou al Brancovenilor.

Ultimii proprietari ai palatului au fost Bibestii. Gheorghe Bibescu, viitorul domn al Munteniei, devine proprietarul ambelor palate brancovenesti de pe malul Dambovitei deoarece ele facusera parte din dota primei sale sotii Zoe Brancoveanu: atat cel de la poalele Dealului Mitropoliei pe care il va folosi ca Palat Domnesc, cat si fostul palat cantacuzin.
De-a lungul timpului, Palatul Cantacuzino-Brancoveanu a fost reparat si modificat de mai multe ori. Dupa rectificarea cursului Dambovitei din anii 1880, palatul impreuna cu Manastirea Sf. Spiridon Vechi ajung pe malul drept al raului.

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Dupa 1888 aici a functionat Institutul Bacteriologic al Dr. Victor Babes.
Palatul este mostenit de printul George Valentin Bibescu care ezita sa-l repare, iar in 1912 cladirea in stare de ruina devine proprietatea statului si este demolata, pe amplasamentul sau urmand sa se ridice Senatul Romaniei.

Din nefericire, majestuosul proiect al Senatului, care avea sa dea Pietii din capatul Caii Victoriei si numele de Piata Senatului, avea sa fie abandonat dupa Al Doilea Razboi Mondial, pe fundatiile deja avansate urmand sa fie ridicat hidosul bloc Gioconda.

Posted by The Pilgrim 10:43 Comments (0)

Bucharest by Night

The Palace of Justice

The Palace of Justice was built between 1890 and 1895 in French Neo-Renaissance style, after the plans of French architect Albert Ballu (1849-1939).
The main facade on the waterfront is dominated by six strong pillars and six allegorical statues (Law, Rightfulness, Justice, Truth, Strength and Prudence), created by famous Romanian-German sculptor Karl Storck.
Inside the building is the “Hall of the Lost Steps”, with a reference to those losing trials.

In 1985 Romanian dictator Ceausescu intended to have it demolished, plans were already drawn for its removal, and the fact that it survived is still widely considered a divine miracle.

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Posted by The Pilgrim 06:57 Comments (0)

Hidden gems in Bucharest. Shh…they’re secret!

The Villacrosse Passage

Today packed with cafes - most of which offer hookah pipes and exotic tobaccos - the Villacrosse Passage was built in 1891 as a shopping conduit between Calea Victoriei - then the busiest street in the city - and Bucharest's financial quarter, located above the Old Town. It is named for a Catalan architect, Xavier Villacrosse, who from 1840-50 was the chief architect of Bucharest.

The Passage is covered with an arcade yellow glass roof to allow natural light, also intended to encourage commerce at street level. The ground floor was meant for shops, while the rooms on the first floor were for rent. And yes, this was Bucharest’s first shopping mall.

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Posted by The Pilgrim 12:38 Comments (0)

Heroes of Romania: Princess Ileana

Princess Ileana of Romania (1909 – 1991) was the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand I of Romania and his consort Queen Marie of Romania. She was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and of Czar Alexander II. She was born Her Royal Highness Ileana, Princess of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern.

After marriage with Anton of Habsburg she was known as Her Imperial and Royal Highness, Ileana, Archduchess of Austria, Princess Imperial of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, Princess of Tuscany, Princess of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern.

Years after her exile from Communist Romania in 1947, she was tonsured a monastic, as Mother Alexandra, and moved to the United States of America where she established the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. She died 1991 aged 82.

She was the most beautiful princess in the history of Romania.

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Posted by The Pilgrim 11:57 Comments (0)

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