By Noorjahan Hossain
A countries architecture visualises its story. Each building symbolises a different era, a different concept, a different culture. Romanian architecture varies from different eras and different parts of the country, showing the variety and diversity.
Romanians oldest buildings are made up of monasteries and churches, including the famous collection of painted monasteries scattered around Romania, showing a unique Byzantium architecture. They were made before the 18th century. One of my favourites is the beautiful monastery of Moldovita. This is situated in the quaint village of Vatra Moldovetei, and was constructed in 1532 by Petru Rares. Petru Rares was a prince who protected the town from being under siege, is considered a local hero and this monastery was a way to mark his spiritual role over the country. It was painted in 1537 with various biblical stories with stories of the Siege of Constantinople on the frescos as well as the Tree of Jesse. This is also historically significant because it informs us on how Christianity was represented during the Middle ages across Europe, and the importance of it over the years. Romania is known for being quite a religious country with its main religion being part of the Orthodox Church It also shows an important part of the Romanian monarchy and their role in the country.
The Byzantium influences of the building are shown by the steeple on the monastery, especially with the pendentives on it. One can view this as a perception of how religion is omnipotent and omniscient, and this is God’s way of watching over and protecting the town. Also, the shape of the building is geometrically much more complex, as it is a circle and square merged together as opposed to a single shape base. This feature can be used to represent the complexity of religion, and how unique every story is.
Another important type of building in Romania are their grand castles that are the perfect settings for a beautiful fairy tale. With its stunning German Renaissance architecture, the gothic features look like a Grimm tale setting. The Peles Castle is a wonderful representation of this, nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains near the charming town of Sinaia. It was commissioned by the Romanian King Carol I, who has a German heritage. It was initially built as a holiday home for the Royal Family in 1883, but now is a major tourist attraction. Infamous for various other reasons as well, such as being the first castle in Europe to run on electricity. It also generates the electricity from its own plant. Another major event to occur at Peles is the first movie projection in the theatre room in 1906. Peles Castle has an important place in Romania representing the countries advancement with technology whilst preserving its wonderful past. Each of the 160 room represent each country of Europe in different ways with the furniture and the décor. Therefore, this castle represents the integration of Romania with the rest of Europe, in a beautiful way that brings all the different countries culture through their fashion and design.
The German Renaissance architecture is shown by the tower and spires which adds more intricate detail to the design, adding to the extravagance. The colour combination of white and gold adds to the luxury of the castle whilst the wooden planks adds to the vintage look.
The Germanic architecture is very different to that of the Byzantium architecture, which embodies the advancement of the country over the years and the progress. It also depicts the different periods of history and how life has changed. The Byzantium architecture was pre 18th century, which shows Romania’s culture centred around religion during this period. The Germanic architecture represents a more magical time in the country with wealth and luxury. Modern Day architecture is much more practical made from steel and glass. It is made up of large rectangular towers, and shows how industrialised the country is now. A country’s architecture can teach us a lot about a countries culture and history.