Bucharest is a city of contrast when it comes to architecture. You can find palaces build over 200 years ago, buildings that are now historical architectural jewelry, small houses or communist buildings. You have to walk with your eyes wide open to feel the spirit of this old city.
Palatul Universul (The Universe palace) is a building in Bucharest where in the first half of the twentieth century, the newspaper Universul had the headquarters. The construction of the new headquarters of the newspaper began on October 17, 1926, at the initiative of Stelian Popescu, in order to host the headquarters of the newspaper which was the largest in Romania, at the time.
Designed as two distinct bodies, the Palace have intended the front of the building for office and on the back , for typography. The connection between the two bodies was via a footbridge. The construction, has a footprint of 4,142 square meters and a built area of over 10,000 sqm. The Universe Palace was inaugurated on November 2, 1930.
Ion Brezoianu Street, No. 23
Ambassador Hotel is declared architectural monument. It was inaugurated on May 4, 1939. It was built between 1937 and 1939 after a design by architect Arghir Culina, who was also a co-owner of the hotel. The hotel is built in the art deco architectural style, preferred by Culina. Ambassador hotel’s façade consists of two enormous columns, symmetrical, which dominated the panorama of the Magheru Avenue. When it was built it was the tallest building in the area, thanks to its 12 floors. Of these, the higher levels are more withdrawn, forming terraces overlooking the boulevard. The hotel began to be increasingly less demanding now become a second-class hotel.
General Gheorghe Magheru Bd., No. 8-10
Casa Presei Libere (The House of the Free Press) is a building in northern Bucharest, the tallest in the city between 1956 and 2007. Construction began in 1952 and was completed in 1956. The building was named Combinatul Poligrafic Casa Scinteii “I.V.Stalin” and later Casa Scinteii (Scinteia was the name of the Romanian Communist Party’s official newspaper). It was designed by the architect Horia Maicu, in the pure Soviet Socialist realism style, resembling the main building of the Moscow State University, and was intended to house all of Bucharest’s printing presses, the newsrooms and their staff. It has a foundation with an area of 280x260m, the total constructed surface is 32,000 m2 (344,445 sq ft) . Its height is 91.6 m (301 ft) without the television antenna, which measures an additional 12.4 m (41 ft), bringing the total height to 104 m (341 ft).
It has basically the same role nowadays, with many of today’s newspapers having their headquarters in the same building, now renamed Casa Presei Libere (“The House of the Free Press”).
Casa Presei Libere Street, No1
Foișorul de Foc (literally The Fire Tower) is a 42-metre high building in Bucharest, between Obor, Calea Moșilor and Nerva-Traian. It was used in the past as an observation tower by the firemen. It was built in 1890, two years after the previous watchtower, Turnul Coltei, built in 1715, was demolished. The plans were made by George Mandrea, back then the chief-architect of Bucharest.
Foișorul de Foc had a double role, as it was also designed to be a water tower, too. However, after the building was finished, the local water utility company (Uzina de Apă Grozavesti) had no pumps powerful enough to fill it with water. Foișorul de Foc was used by the firefighters until 1935, when it became ineffective, as more and more high buildings were built in Bucharest, and introduction of the telephone reduced the need for a watchtower. In 1963, it was turned into a Firefighters’ Museum.
Ferdinand I Bd, No..33
Ateneul Roman (The Romanian Athenaeum ) is a concert hall in the center of Bucharest and a landmark of the Romanian capital city. Opened in 1888, the ornate, domed, circular building is the city’s main concert hall and home of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic and of the George Enescu annual international music festival.
In 1865, cultural and scientific personalities such as Constantin Esarcu, V. A. Urechia and Nicolae Cretulescu founded the Romanian Atheneum Cultural Society. To serve its purposes, the Romanian Athenaeum, a building dedicated to art and science, would be erected in Bucharest. The building was designed by the French architect Albert Galleron and inaugurated in 1888, although work continued until 1897. A portion of the construction funds was raised by public subscription in a 28-year long effort, of which the slogan is still remembered today: “Donate one leu for the Ateneu!”
Benjamin Franklin Street, No. 1-3
Spitalul Coltea ( Coltea Hospital ) was the first hospital in Bucharest, built at December 14th, 1704, at the initiative of Mihai Cantucuzino. The hospital was initially a hospital for the poor. Like most hospitals built for the poor in that period, they’re role was to redeem the mistakes of the rich by helping the poor.
The earthquake of 1802 led to the ruin of the old hospital, which had to be rebuilt in 1836 by architect Conrad Faiser Schwink and construction was finished in 1842. Neither this building did not last long being demolished and replaced in turn in 1887 to that which we see today.
Ion C. Brătianu Bd, No.1
Hanul lui Manuc (Manuc’s inn) was built in 1808, and originally owned by a wealthy and flamboyant Armenian entrepreneur, Emanuel Mârzaian, better known under his Turkish name Manuc-bei. By the middle of the 19th century, it was Bucharest’s most important commercial complex, with 15 wholesalers, 23 retail stores, 107 rooms for offices or living, two receiving rooms and a pub.
Although Manuc’s Inn has been subject to repeated restorations — in 1848, 1863, 1966–1970, and 1991–1992, as well as the one now under way, its essential structure remains intact; of the three surviving 19th century inns in the Centrul Vechi ( the Old Town) it is the only one recently or currently in use as a hotel.
The inn was the site of the preliminary talks for the Treaty of Bucharest, which put an end to the 1806–1812 Russo-Turkish war. In 1842 it briefly housed Bucharest’s town hall.Around 1880 a hall at the inn was used as a theater, and was the site of the first Romanian operetta performance.
The building was nationalized 19 February 1949. Ownership was restored to Prince Șerban-Constantin Cantacuzino in February 2007.
Franceza Street, No. 62-64