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 Historic edifices
 
TELEPHONE PALACE

Address: 37, Calea Victoriei

The Telephone Palace struck as soon as it was erected, between 1929 and 1934, because of its unusual height for a city like Bucharest. 52.5 m high, the building was built in the specific style of the American sky-scrapers, by an American company, having Art Deco influences. Also, the Telephone Palace was the first high building with metallic frame in Romania.
It continued to be the highest building in Bucharest until the 70’s.
The building was affected by the bombing in 1941 and by the earthquakes in 1940, 1977, 1986 and 1990. In 1995 began the ample reinforcement of its structure, according to the project of Prof. Eng. Alexandru Cismigiu. The reinforcement process lasted for 10 years, and in 2007 the building was reopened.

HEADQUARTERS OF THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR AND ADMINISTRATION REFORM

Address: Calea Victoriei , nr. 1 A

The building where the Ministry of Interior and Administration Reform is currently located in sheltered at first the Council of Ministers, then the siege of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. After the events of December 1989, the building sheltered, for 15 years, the headquarters of the Romanian Senate.

 

 CENTRAL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY “CAROL I”

Address: Str. Boteanu nr 1, sector 1, tel.: 313.16.05; 313.16.06, near Calea Victoriei

Located opposite to the National Art Museum of Romania, the Library building was erected in 1893, according to the plans of the French architect Paul Gottereau, and was inaugurated in 1895 by King Charles I.
During the events of December 1989, the building was seriously damaged by the shooting and most of the books – over 500 thousand volumes – were burnt. Also, 3700 manuscripts of Eminescu, Maiorescu, Caragiale, Cosbuc, Blaga, Eliade were destroyed back then.
Until 2001, the current building was renewed and extended, and the Library operated in other temporary places. In November 2001, the current siege of the Library was reopened. The amount of publications destroyed during the events of December 1989 is recuperated through donations: over 100,000 books were donated by persons and institutions all over the country, and over 800,000 books from abroad.

 


PALACE OF THE SAVINGS BANK (“CEC”)

Address: Calea Victoriei, nr. 11-13, sector 3

The Palace of the Savings Bank, also known by its short name of “CEC” Palace, has a turbulent story, being built, pulled down and rebuilt.

On the spot where the Savings Bank is today, in 1875 there was the St. John the Great Church. It was demolished to make place to the first construction of the Savings Bank. Being too little for the quick development of the institution, the building was demolished. On the very same spot, i
n 1897 the construction of the current headquarters was begun, according to the plans of the French architect Paul Gottereau. The performance was entrusted to the architect Ion Socolescu. The construction was finished in 1900 and, ever since, the Savings Bank has been operating in this building, without bringing any changes to it.
The Savings Bank, as an institution, was founded in 1864 based on a law given by Alexandru Ioan Cuza.
The building is part of the national patrimony and in the future it will host the Art Museum of the Bucharest Municipality.
The Palace of the Savings Bank strikes with its entrance, decorated with a monumental arcade, supported on each side by two twin columns, in composite style, as well as with is grandiose cupola made of glass, which covers the central hallway. Also, the Palace has four smaller cupolas, decorated in the Renaissance style.
The building cannot be visited, but inside it there is a superb Council Hall, whose ceiling is painted by Mihail Simonidi, representing the “Goddess of Fortune distributing gifts, after the Independence”. On the side walls of this hall there are four paintings representing Charles I and Queen Elisabeth, originally painted by the same Mihail Simonidi, and Ferdinand and Queen Mary, originally painted by Costin Petrescu. During the period of the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, these paintings were covered with brown paint and the only proof that remained, speaking of their existence, were several small-sized black and white photos. The paintings were reconditioned, after a long documentation period, by the plastic artist Valentin Tanase.


ROMANIAN ATHENAEUM

Address: Str. Franklin, nr. 1 tel.: 315 25 67, 315 68 75, fax: 312 29 83, in the Revolution Square (Piata Revolutiei), near the Victory Avenue (Calea Victoriei).

A place for concerts and performances, the Romanian Athenaeum is a true symbol for Bucharest.
The construction of the building began in 1886, under the guidance of the French architect Albert Galleron and with the support of the fund raising campaign under the slogan “Give one Leu for the Athenaeum”. Two years later, in 1888, the Romanian Athenaeum opened its gates. Currently, here is the siege of the “George Enescu” Philharmonics.
The concert hall has almost 1,000 places. The fresco under the cupola cannot remain unnoticed, as it is 3 meters wide and 70 meters long, which is the work of the painter Costin Petrescu. The fresco contains 25 representative scenes of the history of Romania.
The external architecture is impressive because it combines several styles: neoclassical, baroque and Ionic.
 


PALACE OF JUSTICE


Address: Splaiul Independentei, on the Dambovita river bank

The building was erected during the period 1890-1895, in the French Renaissance style, according to the plans of the architect Albert Ballu, who conceived the Court House of Paris and the Palace of Justice of Brussels.  The finishing and the design of the interiors were made by the architect Ion Mincu after the decease of Albert Ballu. The statues marking the entrance into the building are the work of Karl Storck and symbolize Law, Rightness, Justice, Truth, Force and Prudence.

The repeated seismic motions but also the fragile land on which the building was first erected imposed repeated reinforcements.
The last reinforcement and repair began in 2003 and ended in September 2006, when the Palace of Justice was reopened for sessions.  The repair and rehabilitation works cost EUR 30 millions. 

 


NATIONAL OPERA

http://www.operanb.ro/

Address: Bulevardul Mihail Kogalniceanu, nr. 70-72, sector 5, tel.: 314.69.80, fax: 315.78.49

Even if the first testimonies about the opera performances on the territory of the Romanian Princedoms date back to 1772, when Livio Cinti had tours in Bucharest, the current building of the Romanian Opera was erected in 1953, according to the plans of the architect Octav Doicescu.
The façade of the building is marked by three high arcades and the performance hall is built in the shape of a horse shoe. This hall can receive 1200 persons.

 


KRETULESCU PALACE


Address: Strada Stirbei Voda, nr.  39

The Kretulescu Palace is a historical building, located right next to the Cismigiu Park and built at the beginning of the 20th century according to the plans of the architect Petre Antonescu (1873-1965) in the French Renaissance style. The building belonged to the Kretzulescu family, and during the interwar period it sheltered the Religious Art Museum. Currently, it is the siege of the UNESCO’s European Center of Higher Education.





MANUC’S INN (HANUL LUI MANUC)

Address: Str. Franceza, nr. 62-64, sector 3, Tel. 313.14.15; Fax 312.28.11, near Curtea Veche

Built between 1806 and 1808 by the Manuc-bei merchant, the Inn is an architectural monument of special importance. In 1812, here was signed the Bucharest Treaty between Russia and Turkey. Also, during the years before the First World War, the Inn hosted the meetings of the politicians who wanted the going to war and the union of Ţara Româneasca with Transylvania and Bucovina - Take Ionescu, Octavian Goga, Barbu Ştefănescu Delavrancea.
The exact architecture of the Inn, as it was at its origin, is unknown. From the documents kept since the beginning of the 19th century it follows that, in the basement, there were 15 cellars, on the ground floor there were 23 shops, two large reception rooms, ten repositories, servant’s rooms, kitchens, and a tunnel capable of receiving around 500 persons. Upstairs, there were over 100 guest rooms. Just like now, the Inn had an interior yard, where there was a spring well.
During the earthquake of 1838 the Inn was seriously damaged. The building’s inheritor, Manuc’s son, Murat, sold it in 1842 because its repair would have cost him too much.
In 1861, the building was sold again, and its owner became Lambru Vasilescu, who repaired it and transformed it into a hotel.: – the “Great Dacia Hotel” (“Grand Hotel.: de la Dacie”).
The last rehabilitation of the Inn took place during the period 1991- 1992.
 

NATIONAL THEATER

Address: Bulevardul  N. Bălcescu, nr. 2, tel.: 313.91.75   


The building of the National Theater, currently called “I.L.Caragiale”, was erected between 1967-1970, according to the project of a group of architects coordinated by Horia Maicu, Romeo Stefan and Nicolae Cucu. The façade of the building has elements borrowed from the s tyle of the monasteries of the North of Moldavia.
The theater performance hall currently has over 900 places and a spacious stage.
On the underground of the building there is the “Museum of the I.L.Caragiale National Theater”, reopened in December 2001, after it stayed closed for 23 years.
The patrimony of the museum dates back since 1942, during the directorate of Liviu Rebreanu. Here one can find paintings, sculptures, original photographs, personal objects and costumes that belonged to the past great actors, furniture items, as well as rare documents, such as manuscripts belonging to Caragiale, Davila or Delavrancea.
 

BUCHAREST UNIVERSITY

http://www.unibuc.ro/ro/index.pl

Address: Bulevardul Mihail Kogalniceanu, nr. 36-46, sector 5, Tel. 315.71.87; 314.35.08, in the University Square (Piata Univeristatii).

The building where now is the oldest higher education institution of Romania – the State University of Bucharest – was built between 1857 and 1869, according to the plans of the architect Al. Orascu. The exterior was decorated by the famous architect Karl Stork.
Originally, the building hosted other institutions as well: the Senate, the Romanian Academy, the Central Library, the Fine Arts School.
The Bucharest University was the direct witness of the events of December 1989, its walls being affected by the bullets. Right now, the building is undergoing a rehabilitation process. 

 


NORTH RAILWAY STATION (GARA DE NORD)


Address: Piata Garii de Nord nr. 1, sector 1, Tel. 223.04.55/ ext. 133171  

Currently the largest railway station of Romania, the North Railway Station was inaugurated in September 1872, under the name of “Gara Targovistii”.
The station was built by the Strousberg Franchise starting with 1868, according to the plan proposed and approved by the Technical Council of the Ministry of Public Works, managed by Dumitru Ghica. Originally, the Station was intended to be a transit station with six lines, both for passenger trains and for freight trains.
Along with the modernization of the capital city, the name “Gara Targovistei” was changed, in 1888, into North Bucharest Station. One year later, the Station extension works were started, a part of it being demolished and rebuilt according to modern plans. In 1907, the North Bucharest Station had seven lines: three for dispatch and four for arrival. In 1920, three lines were added, reaching 10 train dispatch/arrival lines.
A new modernization and extension of the Station took place during the period 1913- 1914.
In 1930, based on the studies of the architect V.G. Stefanescu, who tried to provide a unitary and modern aspect to the entire Station, the number of lines was increased from 10 to 16 and the railway platforms were improved. The Station was partly bombed in 1944 and rebuilt five years later.  
After 1990, the North Railway Station was modernized and brought to its present aspect.


TRIUMPHAL ARCH (ARCUL DE TRIUMF)


Address: at the crossroads of the Kiseleff, Averescu boulevard and Constantin Prezan boulevard, at the entrance of the Herastrau Park


The first triumphal arch was erected in Bucharest in 1878, on the occasion of the return of the Romanian troops from the independence war. This monument got quickly deteriorated.
The second triumphal arch was built in 1922, being dedicated to the victory of the Romanian armies in the First World War. This monument did not last either.

The Triumphal Arch that can be admired today was built of stone, between 1935-1936, under the guidance of the architect Petre Antonescu, and it is 27 m high.
The population of Bucharest, particularly the associations of the former combatants of the First World War, contributed with over LEI 7 millions to erect the current Triumphal Arch, upon the call of the Ministry of National Defense.


ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY


Address: Bulevardul Lascar Catargiu, nr. 21, tel.: 2129644
It can only be visited upon appointment by telephone

Called the “Popular Astronomical Observatory”, the building the today’s “Amiral Vasile Urseanu” Astronomical Observatory is located in was inaugurated in 1950 by the man who named it.   
The museum hosts a collection of documents and exhibits that monitors the evolution of astronomy in our country and includes period objects, books and manuscripts, the original telescope, antique sundials, old astronomic instruments, panels with rare astronomical phenomena observed in Romania.
The observatory is equipped with an impressive equatorial instrument with a lens diameter of 150 mm.
 


FREE PRESS HOUSE


Address: Piata Presei Libere, nr. 1

The Free Press Square or “Casa Scanteii”, as it was formerly known during the communist period, was built on the spot where the old Baneasa hippodrome used to be.
The erection of the building lasted between 1952 and 1957. Originally, the building was called the Polygraphic Combined Factory Casa Scanteii “I.V.Stalin”, and later it was called “Casa Scanteii”. “Scanteia” was the name of the newspaper of the Romanian Communist Party. After the events of 1989, this was the building that sheltered the editorial offices of the first free newspapers of Romania.
The project of the building was made by the architect Horia Maicu, who was inspired by that of the Lomonosov University of Moscow.
The foundation of the building covers a surface of 280x260 meters. Without its TV antenna, which is placed on top of the building, it is 96 m high, and together with this antenna it is 104 m high.
In front of the Press House the empty pedestal of Lenin’s huge statue still exists, a huge statue that was placed there in September 1960 and pulled down in March 1990. The pulling down of the statue was a gesture of revenge against everything that could remind of the communist period.  

 


PALACE HALL (SALA PALATULUI)

http://www.salapalatului.ro/

Address: Str. Ion Campineanu, nr. 28, Cretulescu entrance, Tel./Fax: 311 11 49, behind the Royal Palace - National Art Museum.

The building of the Palace Hall was inaugurated in 1960. The Hall is unique due to its endowment, as it has 3000 speakers behind the 4060 armchairs.
Currently, the building is undergoing a rehabilitation and repair process. 

 

GLOBUS CIRCUS


Address: Circus Alley, nr. 15, sector 2, Tel.: 210 51 52; 210 41 95
Fax: 210 28 60

The Globus Circus is Romania’s largest circus, its building being inaugurated in 1961. The construction has 2,500 places and various annexes sheltering the menagerie, which is open for visitors.

National Library

Address: Str. Ion Ghica, nr 4

The National Library is situated in the old part of Bucharest, in the bulding known as the Stock Exchange Building, opposite the National Bank of Romania.

The building hosting the National Library was finished in 1911, when it was used as the central office of the Bucharest Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The facade of the building, rich in ornaments, was made by the sculptor Emil W. Becker.

This building is full of history, as it was the venue for the Peace Conference of Bucharest in 1913, which ended the Second Balkan War. The Peace Treaty was signed in Cantacuzino Palace, in Victoria Road.

From the beginning, the Palace held a museum of commercial documents, a rich library and a painting collection.

As a result of a decree in February 1949, the Stock Exchange stopped its activity. Thus, in 1953, the Stock Exchange Palace becomes the headquarters of the Central State Library, at present renamed National Library.

The bases of the National Library were put in 1859, when the oldest Romanian library opened in Bucharest – the one belonging to Sf. Sava College. At that moment, over 1000 French books were registered.

At present, the Library’s collection contains approximatively 13.000.000 bibliographical encyclopedic units and funds of special collections (bibliophily, manuscripts, historic archive, old Romanian periodicals, engravings, photographies, cartography, audio- visual).