Keep your eyes wide open! Expert on historic houses Valentin Mandache takes you on an architectural tour reveling the hidden gems of the historic buildings in the central Dacia boulevard area.
By Anca Ionita
With a deep knowledge of the architectural heritage and traditional habitats of Romania’s historical provinces, Valentin Mandache is passionately in love with Bucharest’s old houses, which he profiles weekly in his architectural tours that feature on his weblog, Historic Houses of Romania.
Last week I signed up for a fascinating two-hour walking tour of the Dacia Boulevard area, on which I discovered a totally new and hitherto unknown city to me, a Bucharest-born citizen who claims to have some knowledge of the architectural styles and historic houses of her native town! Packed with evocative historic buildings, especially of the Neo-Romanian type, along with Art Deco and inter-war Modernist styles, the Dacia area “encompasses Little Paris designs, which are mainly French-inspired historicist architectures from La Belle Epoque period,” says Mandache, while pointing out small design details on a door handle or the ironwork of a gate or garage door. The starting point of our trip was the French Institute building, a Belle-Epoque construction. Just across the street is the silhouette of the grand house which hosted the Iraqi Embassy in the communist regime, a reminder of the wealth of local land owners at the end of the 19th century in a mainly agricultural economy.
The added value of this tour, which I strongly recommend to anyone living in Bucharest, is the combined architectural and socio-economic perspective that Mandache shares on each house he presents, backed by solid philosophical, design and religious knowledge.
A graduate of the London School of Economics specializing in economics and history, Valentin Mandache is an expert on period and traditional properties in Romania. More info about the tours can be found at www.historo.wordpress.com.
Photo credit: Silviu Pal