I often wondered about the story behind this apparently abandoned building on Calea Victoriei. Which is why yesterday I decided to do more than just wonder and searched the web for answers. What I found was a great article (in Romanian) which talks in detail about the history of the building. It was built in 1938 after plans by architect Radu Dudescu (also the chief architect for the new wing of the National Bank of Romania) as the House for Pensions and Loans of the employees of the National Bank. A beautiful building, too bad that nowadays it’s in such a bad shape.
Palace of Justice
Most of Bucharest’s old churches have a history full of drama: fires, earthquakes, demolitions, temporary closings. But even among these tumultuous histories, the Princess Bălașa Church (Biserica Domnița Bălașa in Romanian) must hold some kind of a record in terms of fighting natural disasters. The first church on this spot was a wooden one built in 1773-1774 by Princess Bălașa (Constantin Brâncoveanu‘s sixth daughter) and her husband Manolache Lambrino. This first church burned down and was replaced in 1751 by a stone structure built by Princess Bălașa after the death of her husband. Renovated in 1831, the second church didn’t last too long either being damaged during an earthquake in 1838. It was replaced by a third church built in 1838-1842 by Safta Brâncoveanu. At its turn, the third structure was damaged by floods and was replaced by a fourth one built between 1881-1885. This is the striped building that we see today, designed by architect Alexandru Orăscu in a Neo-Romanian, Neo-Byzantine style. The current church had to be repaired again after each of the two major 20C earthquakes (1940 and 1977). Princess Bălașa Church is one of the most popular places for weddings in Bucharest and if you come here on a Saturday or Sunday you are almost certain to see a wedding taking place. The church is located off the Union Square, facing the side of the Palace of Justice.
And since I mentioned Cocor Shopping Center yesterday, here’s a nightshot of it and its huge advertising screens.
The top of the Adriatica Trieste building, by architect Petre Antonescu.
Today’s photograph shows the balcony of an old house (circa 1860s) on Franceză Street, in Bucharest’s Old Town. The house is in a bad shape, with crumbling walls and peeling paint but someone went to the trouble of decorating the balcony – as they knew best 🙂