Manor house devastated by peasants

Former manor house in Wallachia, Giurgiu county, devastated and looted by local peasants during the 1990s, when the property rights were not specifically protected by Romania’s basic law. (©Valentin Mandache)

I took the above photograph during one of my field trips in the environs of Bucharest, searching for traditional peasant architecture houses and old manor houses or conacs, how these buildings are named in Romania. Most of the larger villages have a manor house built by the local land owner or aristocrat as a residence and headquarters from which the farm, an important business concern, was run. When the communist regime took over during the collectivisation programme in the 1950s- early ’60s, these manors were used as collective farm headquarters or local schools. This new role saved them from destruction or complete deterioration. After the events of 1989, and during most of the 1990s, the Romanian basic law (aka Constitution) was lacking specific articles protecting the private property. Also the crypto-communist government of that time was doing everything in its power to stop the descendants of the rightful owners to recover their historic properties. That led to many abuses perpetrated by the locals, who profited of the ambiguity of the law and in more isolated areas, like the countryside, went on a rampage looting and devastating the former aristocratic manors. The conac presented here, a large residence built in 1920s in a basic Neo-Romanian style, is one of those countless victims. It is hard to believe that the sorry landscape presented in this image, with sad remains of architectural ornaments scattered on the lawn, was the result of events that have happened only a few years ago. The scene in my opinion is more akin to that of an ancient Roman villa rustica devastated by invading barbarians during the fall of the Roman empire…

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I endeavor through this daily image series to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in locating the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

4 thoughts on “Manor house devastated by peasants

  • Hi Valentin, I like this one, it would be nice if it would be bigger, the photo shows that this conac is quite small, but i like the Tuscany / Neo-Romanian style.

    Do you know anything more about this house ?

    How far is it from Bucharest ?

    Does it have some hectars around it ?

    Like

    • Hi, the conac is quite close to Bucharest, about 20km to the west, with about 1ha land around it. When I wrote the post, the building was town hall’s property; I don’t know if that status has changed in the meanwhile. Valentin

      Like

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