Monday, February 18, 2013

Mogosoaia, Brancovenesc and other spelling bee challenges I've enjoyed


A couple of months ago, I partook in an architectural walking tour throughout the city of Bucharest.  I came away from it knowing two things for certain.

1. A ten minute explanation in Romanian can be boiled down to a one minute one in English. As the only foreigner in the group, I was grateful to have the guide translate his explanations for me but couldn't shake the lingering doubt that the soliloquy he had just given in his native language included more than just "This building was built in the 18th century. It is an example of the classic Brancovenesc style of architecture."- which brings me to the second thing...

2. There is such a thing as a Brancovenesc style of architecture and it is pretty spectacular. Particular to Romania, it is a mix of Italian and Ottoman styles and is named after Constantin Brancoveanu, the prince of Wallachia from 1688-1714.  Consequently, it is not surprising that one of the best examples of this style can be found at Mogosoaia Palace, Brancoveanu's summer home, just a short distance outside of the city. Recently, I had a chance to return to this most picturesque place.