The Central University Library of Bucharest (Romanian: Biblioteca Centrală Universitară) is a library in central Bucharest, located across the street from the National Museum of Art of Romania. Built 1864.
The library can be visited
from Tuesday to Thursday,
between 10.00 - 14.00 hrs
The serious looking building that you can see in the photo is Bucharest’s Law Faculty which is part of the University of Bucharest. It was designed by architect Petre Antonescu in neoclassical style and was finished in 1935. On the facade are the statues of five great lawmakers, lawyers and jurists of the ancient times: Lycurgus of Sparta, Solon, Cicero, Papinian and Justinian. The statues are the work of sculptors Ion Jalea and Costin Georgescu. Romania’s Civil Code is based on the Napoleonic Code (the French Civil Code) established under Napoléon I in 1804, which was adopted by Romania in 1864 (with some modifications) and is still in use.
A few steps away from University Square, behind a little square with a fountain, lies the building of the School of Architecture. The building is a hybrid, with an old wing and two new ones. The old wing was designed by architect Grigore Cerchez in 1912 in the tradition of Brâncovenesc style, an architectural style developed in Wallachia (historical province of Romania located south of the Carpathians mountains) during the reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714), style which that mixes Eastern and Renaissance motifs, with richly ornate pillars and in this case a heavily decorated facade. This building was dedicated to Ion Mincu, which is considered to be one of the greatest Romanian architects. The two new wings of the building were added between 1963 and 1968. Initiated by the society of Romanian Architects in 1892, the School of Architecture became a state institution in 1897 and reached the university statues in 1904. Today Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning, to name its official title, has departments of Architecture, Urban Planning, Restoration and Interior Design.
A bit off the Revolution Square, on the corner of Dem Dobrescu Street, lies one of the weirdest looking buildings in Bucharest. It’s the former Directia V Securitate building (Securitate was the secret police of communist Romania, the equivalent of KGB in Russia or Stasi in East Germany) and the current headquarters of the Romanian Architects’ Association. The lower part of the building are the remnant walls of the house (cca. 1890) which housed the secret police and was destroyed during the Romanian anti-communist Revolution of 1989. In 2003 the Romanian Architects’ Association built a modern building inside and on top of these ruins, the project being designed by architects Zeno Bogdanescu and Dan Marin. The building, like any solution of this type, created controversy and searching the web I found many forums where it was called “hideos”, “ugly” etc and people were saying that no wonder Bucharest is the arhitectural hodgepodge that it is, since its architects have chosen to have their headquarters in a buidling like this. But I think this attitude is a bit unfair. I mean, what was the alternative? The building was severely damaged and at the price of real estate in downtown Bucharest, the building shell would have been demolished and replaced with a glass structure like the upper part of this building. But in this way the history was preserved and it makes people wonder about the building’s past. Even though I can’t bring myself to say that I absolutely like it, I would have to admit that it’s an innovative solution.
Bucharest City Hall is housed in a beautiful building lying across from Cismigiu Park on Regina Elisabeta boulevard. This is where the good and bad decisions regarding Bucharest are taken. The edifice was built during the years 1906 to 1910 after a design by architect Petre Antonescu and used to house the Ministry of Public Works. The city hall was installed here after WWII when the building, severely damaged by the bombings, was reconstructed and enlarged by Petre Antonescu. This is a fine example of the Neo-Romanian style of architecture, which was very popular in Bucharest at the beginning of the 20th century. The Neo-Romanian was the answer to the attempts of creating a national style in Romanian architecture. It blends together elements from the local peasant architectural tradition with Byzantine and Ottoman elements and late Italian Renaissance themes.
The Central University Library is a beautifully ornated building located opposite the Royal Palace in the Revolution Square. The building was designed by the French architect Paul Gottereau who also designed the Royal Palace and the CEC Building. Construction was started in 1890 and the building was inaugurated in 1895 as the “Palace of Carol I University Foundation” being build on land bought by Carol I of Romania for the foundation that carried his name. In 1948 The Library of the University Foundation becomes The Central University Library, a state owned institution. The building was heavily damaged during the December 1989 Revolution when over 500000 books were lost in a fire. It was later restored and it opened again in 2001.
The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies,was established by Royal Decree - April 6, 1913, under the name of the Academy of High Commercial and Industrial Studies-Bucharest! Due to its long activity - almost a century, the University is considered a remarkable representative of superior economic studies in Romania.
Not very much a touristic attraction but a landmark and/or meeting point, the Government building is located in Piata Victoriei (Victoriei Square), a big square clogged by a lot of traffic during rush hours, also an important hub for transport as the Piata Victoriei Metro station is below this square.
Vis-a-vis of the Government building there is the more interesting Museum of Natural History "Grigore Antipa".
It was built in 1895-1896 after the plans drawn by Giulio Magni. Magni used the Mincu-founded project while designing this building. There are striking resemblances with Mincu's Bufetul de la Sosea (nowadays Casa Doina Restaurant) or with Scoala Centrala, with the terracotta tile covered facade (especially above the window frames). The building is surrounded by a beautiful fence built of decorated brick structure, covered with ceramics. It lies just off KIseleff Park.
Ligia and Pompiliu Macovei bought this house in 1952 from a Jewish merchant that had a hat store on the same street. The house was probably raised at the end of the 19th century or just before WW1. The couple restored the house and started collecting art objects, especially from France and Italy, where Pompiliu Macovei acted as UNESCO Ambassador. All pieces of furniture and items were put together in order to make a prolific environment for Ligia Macovei, a painter. Some pieces of furniture were designed by Pompiliu. The house hosts, among others, English furniture, French Art Deco tables, paintings by Ciucurencu, Pallady, Ghiata, Grigorescu. In 1988 the couple donated the collection to the Village Museum, so as to save it from immediate demolition which had overwhelmed a wide part of the city.
The house was closed the last time I passed by, but even so, it is well worth seeing it from the outside at least, on the way to Carol Park.
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