Rabid People’s Church – an architectural history

The Rabid People’s Church (“Schitul Turbati” in Romanian) in Silistea Snagovului, 30 miles north of Bucharest, is a little known architectural gem, in which the evolution of architecture in the Principality of Wallachia, in nowadays southern Romania, can be traced for the last eight centuries, when the church was probably first built during the Latin Empire of Constantinople in the aftermath of the 4th Crusade. In this presentation I expound how the church came to encompass local traditions forged in wooden church architecture, together with Byzantine, Bulgarian – Serbian, Western (Hungarians via Transylvania) and Ottoman traditions. One can see here the green shoots of the Wallachian, aka Brancovan, style, which emerged in the 16th c, and is a principal fountain of inspiration for the Neo-Romanian, the national style of modern Romania.

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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 advise 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.

Tour: Kiseleff area & the late Neoromanian style

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to a thematic walking tour this MSunday 6 August 2017, 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 11.00h – 13.00h, 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 all Read more

Tour in Batistei area

Walking tour in Batistei area of BucharestBatistei area – a fragment of the old Little Paris

Dear readers,

I would like to invite you to an architectural tour focused on Batistei area, one of the most charming old corners of central Bucharest, with many of its buildings dating from from the La Belle Époque period, in a wonderful Little Paris architecture, which is still imprinting this town’s identity, a place where one can also admire other brilliant designs such as Neoromanian, Art Deco and inter-war Modernism. The walk is scheduled to take place this Saturday 5 August April 2017, between 11.00h – 13.00h. 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 Batistei area stretches east from the National Theatre neighbourhood to the confines of the Mosilor, constituting an important part of historic Bucharest. Its name comes from that of the church around which the parish has crystalised in medieval times, which in its turn is a place name meaning in old Romanian language a “swampy lake,” a testimony of the former local natural environment that has been taken over by the Read more

Tour in west Cotroceni

Cotroceni west-004
Medical Sciences University, west Cotroceni

Dear readers,

I would like to propose you an architectural history tour, in the western part of the picturesque Cotroceni quarter, which contains the grandiose edifices of the Medical Sciences University and the Palace of the President of Romania. The tour completes my series of distinct walks (east, central and west) covering this architecturally valuable area of Bucharest.

The event is scheduled to take place this Sunday 30 July 2017, between 11.30h – 13.30h. 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 most beautiful baroque revival style palace of Bucharest is the Medical Sciences University, the best such school in southeast Europe, designed by the Swiss architect Louis Blanc, and built in 1902, which is at the centre of west Cotroceni. Its aesthetics is auspiciously put into light by the the surrounding elegant built environment, one of the finest in the capital. You are thus going to sample, under my guidance, many of those examples, displaying a dazzling array of symbolism and messages, typical of the Neoromanian, the national architecture of this country, or the international Art DecoModernist and Mediterranean styles. The creators of many of those buildings were part of the golden generations of Romanian architects, people active mostly in the 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 29 July 2017, between the hours 11.30h – 13.30h, 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 young Balkan nation. The local architecture thus acquired a personality of its own, combining the new forms with the indigenous and Ottoman traditional motifs and construction methods, resulting in what I call, as an umbrella term, the “Little Paris style”. This is a type of architecture peculiar to the Read more

Broadcasting from the Church of the Rabid People

A brief presentation of the old church now located within the village cemetery in Silistea Snagovului, 30 miles north of Bucharest. Initially, in the Middle Ages, the church was at the heart of a nuns’ community specialised in treating people affected by rabies, hence its name “The Church of the Rabid People”. It represents a very interesting example of transition of architectural styles from the wooden type of church to a brick one, from the Serbian-Bulgarian style to the incipient Wallachian, aka Brancovan style, indigenous to the Principality of Wallachia. The church is in this form since the mid 16th century.

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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.

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

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advise 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.

From the island where Vlad the Impaler is buried

A short broadcast from the bridge linking the mainland with the island where Vlad the Impaler is probably buried- the historical geography of the area and the historic and cultural context of this place, and how is affected by the contemporary urban development of the area, and the uncouth attitudes of the corrupt moneyed people of post-communist Romania, who are infesting the banks of the lake next to the island where this historic personage is said to be buried.

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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.

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

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advise 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.

Introduction to Mosilor area architectural tour

Just before the start of any of the Historic Houses of Romania tour I do a short introductory session for the benefit of the participants. This is for the Mosilor area of Bucharest tour, a part of the old town in its north-eastern side, on the commercial road to the Principality of Moldavia. That location has influenced the development of the quarter, as the Armenian community of Bucharest, many of whom stem from Moldavia, have settled there and through the annual great fair of Mosilor, they developed the area economically, a fact reflected in its quaint old architecture, from traces of the Ottoman period houses, to Little Paris, Neo-Romanian, to the Art Deco and Modernism of the interwar period.

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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.

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

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advise 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.

At the grave of Vlad the Impaler

Thoughts at the probably grave of the fabled prince of Wallachia, Vlad the Impaler, at Snagov Monastery Church, about 20 miles north of Bucharest, on an island within a lake. Vlad the Impaler, the model for Dracula in Bram Stoker’s novel with that name, lived a tumultuous and cruel life in the 15th century, fighting for the independence of his principality against the mighty Ottoman Empire and the powerful medieval Hungarian Kingdom. The grave is set in a very peaceful context, in front of the altar of the church, in the middle of an island, located at the centre of the Lower Danube Prairie.

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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.

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

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advise 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.

Broadcasting from above the Gulf of Varna

A short presentation of the wonderful natural setting of the Gulf and port town of Varna, on the western shore of the Black Sea, in Bulgaria. The town in ancient times was the classical Greek colony of Odessos, and has a continuous tradition of urban Mediterranean like civilisation ever since. This video encompasses our thoughts as we have spent a wonderful summer 2017 holiday in a small resort in the environs of Varna, visiting also the town and its historic and architectural treasures. It is a highly recommended place for a quality cultural vacation.

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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.

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

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advise 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.