Bucharest restaurants in historic buildings – a missed opportunity

Restaurants are some of the most suitable businesses to bring back to glory an old building, as the place where they function, through using the historic architecture and the history of that house for corporate identity, marketing and enhancing the experience of the dinners coming there. In Bucharest that is a missed opportunity, despite the availability of a large stock of old architecture buildings, some of them already housing restaurants, but where that design and aesthetics is not used, ignored, destroyed through aggressive renovation, or at best well underused. That is a result of the lack of architectural history education of both the restaurant owners and also of their patrons, clients attending those dinning places. This video details that situation peculiar to Bucharest.

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My aim, through this series of blog articles, is to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania and Southeast Europe, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of world’s architectural history and heritage.

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If you have a historic house project in Romania or other country in Southeast Europe, I would be delighted to advise you in aspects pertaining to its architectural history and ways to preserve as much as possible from its period fabric and aesthetics in the course of restoration or renovation works, or to counsel you with specialist consultancy work related to that project. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this website.

2 thoughts on “Bucharest restaurants in historic buildings – a missed opportunity

  • Like all Mr Mandache’s architecture podcasts this one is accurate, clear and stimulating. (I have been living in Romania for two years and Mandache’s descriptions correspond exactly to my own experience of Bucharest.) Only one quibble: he says here that the explanation for Romanians’ appalling ignorance of and indifference to their cultural heritage is the Communist era. But why did the Czechs or the Poles manage to keep their cultural values despite Communist regimes that were at least as draconian as Romania’s – probably even more so? Mr Mandache doesn’t say. I suspect that the explanation is more complex that he suggests.

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    • Thank you for your nice comment and insightful question, John! I did not have enough space to elaborate in that video the particularities of Romania’s communism and how it conditioned the appalling levels of ignorance and aggressivity displayed by the Romanian public towards the heritage of its ancestors. As you mentioned, the explanation is quite complex, but stems in my opinion from three main reasons: 1. the much harsher communist regime in Romania than in other east European countries, with the exception of Albania, and more akin to the 1930s Soviet totalitarianism, 2. the low level of modernisation of the Romanian society, which is very uneven on regions, with Transylvania at the forefront, and with parts of Moldavia and Wallachia at the level of the Niger countryside or Nicobar Islands, and 3. the problematics of a peripheral state and nation (that is more about anthropology, but it resumes to the fact that the main employer is the state, which generates vicious clientelism relationships). These three factors concur in making the Romanian population in general oblivious, ignorant and aggressive with its own heritage. There are many other factors, but we need tons of ink to expound them here. Romania in that regard is much more comparable with agrarian post-Soviet Union states such as Belarus, Turkmenistan or Kirkiztan, and somehow Ukraine, than the former East European satellites of the Soviet Union.

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