The curiosities of Bucharest!

So bringing you back to a city I have visited several times and always a nice welcome. Many souvenirs and good friends over the years. Always looking forward to be back. Let me tell you this time about two building that are off the beaten path in Bucharest, Romania.  

The first building that struck me passing by was the National Bank of Romania or central bank built at the end of the 19C. It is the first important bank building in Bucharest, the most imposing building of a financial institution, which can be compared with other great constructions of the time in European capitals. The museum’s central element is the former hall of counters, which goes today by the name of The Marble Hall, the largest hall in the Old Palace, two levels tall, reaching up to the building’s first floor. The ground floor displays a series of massive pillars, with archways where the counters for client relations used to be placed. A vault is embedded in each pillar, used by the clerks for their day-to-day activities. The first floor displays double columns, connected through small communication loggias to the gallery upstairs, from where the daily commercial activities in the hall and at the counters could be directly and discretely watched.

Bucharest

The official webpage for the National Bank in English is here: Official National Bank of Romania

And the most interesting part which I did not go in yet is the museum here: Official National Bank of Romania on its museum

An even more off the beaten path and one very near my hotels each time in the city is the one call the Free Press House or communication palace. The building has a lot of meaning to me too.

The Free Press House is a palace 104 meters high (with its antenna) is another mark of the communist regime. It was built in 5 years and first under the name of Casa Scinteia. It was intended for state press, especially Scânteia (Sparkle) , the newspaper of the former Romanian Communist Party. After the Revolution, it changed to Free Press House and it is used for some local and national publications. It holds the record for the tallest structure in the city between 1956 and 2007

bucharest

It was completed in 1956, and originally built to house the editorial offices of almost all of the capital’s newspapers and magazines as it was far easier for the censor if they were all in one place. Today carries out pretty much the same function; publishers can rent office space here at a discount , although the dwindling number of print publications in Romania means that a fair amount of the building is empty. The impressive archive of Rompres, the state press and photo agency, is housed here.

The ghastly steel structure in front of the building where once a statue of Lenin stood is called Aripi(Wings) and is a monument to all those Romanians who fought against the installation of communism in the late 1940s, and died often in appalling conditions in communist-era prisons.

A racetrack was built in 1905 on the future site of the Casa Presei Libere (Free Press House). A third of the racetrack made way in 1950 for the first wing of the building, and the last stands were demolished in 1960. The building was renamed in 1989 Casa Presei Libere or Free Press House , after the fall of the dictatorship and multiplied its functions. The Bucharest Stock Exchange was located in the south wing between 1994 and 1999. In February 1999, it was renamed Compania Națională a Imprimeriilor Coresi or National Printing Company Coresi.

The Free Press House occupies an area of 280 meters by 260 meters, its total constructed area being 32,000 m2 for a volume of 735,000 m3. It measures 91.6 meters high, without the television antenna, which measures 12.4 meters, bringing the total height to 104 meters. Casa Scînteii is the first building to show earthquake resistance, taking into account older Italian standards from the Mussolini era.

Bucharest

As an anecdote, on April 21, 1960, a giant statue of Lenin, was placed in front of the building. However, this statue was removed on March 3, 1990, after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, like many other monuments dedicated to Lenin at the fall of the Eastern bloc. After having remained empty for a long time, the pedestal of the statue then received a smaller statue, representing a Lenin from whose neck snakes emerged, like the heads of the Linnaean Hydra, evoking the crimes committed by the regime in the name of communism. This sculpture remained there until May 2016 when a monument to the memory of anti-totalitarian resistance fighters was inaugurated by President Klaus Iohannis.

The tourist office of Bucharest has more on it in English here: Tourist office Bucharest on the Free Press House

And there you go something different in Bucharest to marvel at and visit as well. It is a lively city and a quant nice city center. Hope you enjoy it and see my other posts on Romania in my blog.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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