The statues from four days ago belong to the building shown in today’s photo: the Astronomical Observatory of Bucharest, a beautiful house located on Lascăr Catargiu boulevard. It was built during the years 1908-1910 by architect I. D. Berindei for Admiral Vasile Urseanu (1848-1926). The Admiral’s passion was astronomy and he was the president of the first astronomical society of Bucharest, established in 1908. The house, built from the admiral’s personal funds and used by the society, has an astronomical cupola in its highest point (not visible in the photo) and was endowed by Urseanu with a telescope. After the death of the admiral the house passed to his wife who in 1933 donated it to the state to be used as the city’s first Art Galley (Pinacoteca). The Astronomical Observatory and Bucharest’s Art Gallery coexisted in the building until 1949 when the paintings were moved to the National Gallery and the Museum of City of Bucharest. The observatory is open for public.
Just so you don’t think that Bucharest is only made up of communist architecture, dangling cables and graffiti I decided that the time has come for me to post another postcard picture. This is Cantacuzino Palace, located on Calea Victoriei, designed by the architect I.D.Berindei in French Baroque style and built between the years 1899-1902. The facade is dominated by the main entrance; above it there is a giant shell-shaped porte-cochere and two stone lions guard the stairs and the door. George Enescu – Romania’s most famous composer – lived here for a while. The building belonged to his wife Maria Cantacuzino. In fact Enescu preferred a life of simplicity and he and his wife chose to live in a smaller town house that previously housed the administrative staff of the palace; this house is located behind the main palace. Nowadays the palace houses the George Enescu Museum which displays the musician’s manuscripts, scores of his compositions and personal belongings like one of his first violins. I still remember the impression it made on me when I saw the building for the first time. I think I was about ten when my aunt took me and my cousin on a stroll on Calea Victoriei. I thought that this must be the most beautiful building in the world 🙂