Mogoşoaia Palace

Mogoşoaia Palace is situated about 10 kilometres from Bucharest. It was built between 1698-1702 by ruler prince Constantin Brâncoveanu in what is called the Romanian Renaissance style or Brâncovenesc style, a combination of Romanian elements with some Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman influences. The palace bears the name of the widow of the Romanian boyar Mogoş, who owned the land it was built on. The Palace was to a large extent rebuilt in the 1920s by Marthe Bibesco.

The story of this palace begins in 1702, when the first structure was built on the shore of the Mogoşoaia Lake, and according to the documents we now have, this first building was very different from today's palace. In the beginning, the vast court of the palace was filled with servant's quarters, the kitchen, the icehouse, while the apartaments were to be found upstairs. In those times, the palace often hosted big parties and dances, and therefore was very popular. This blissful times came to an end after the beheading of Constantin Brâncoveanu, when the palace became for a while a Turkish inn. Soon after, it's structure will be severely damaged by the Ottoman raids, in the 18th century.

Some years later, all of the estate was bought by the Bibescu family, descendants of the Brâncoveanu family, and under their rule it prospered. The new owners took great care in restoring and extending the Mogoşoaia Palace, working together with French and German masters. In a short time the domain was enriched with the so-called Elchingen Villa, built by prince Nicolae Bibescu for his wife, Helene Ney d'Elchingen. At the beginning of the 20th century prince George Valentin Bibescu gave the palace to his wife, the poet and writer Martha Bibescu, but unfortunatelly by then the palace was ruined and abandoned. Deciding to once again bring it to it's full glory, Martha Bibescu hired the chief architect of Venice, Domenico Rupolo, to turn the palace into the house of her dreams. After completing the work, the Mogoşoaia Palace was the new meeting place for intelectuals, writers, artists of the interwar period.

In 1945, shortly before the change of political regime, Martha Bibescu donated the estate to the Romanian state, to be included on the list of historical monuments. In the '50s it was used to host the Medieval section of the Art Museum (some of the works are still exhibited inside), and the Elchingen Villa was used as House of Creation for the Romanian authors. Nowadays, the Mogosoaia Palace hosts the Museum of Brâcoveanu Art and Architecture, and at the basement there is a lapidarium, a collection of objects and artefacts.

Not only is this palace a beautiful architectural and artistic achievement, but the huge park which surrounds it is just as good. Situated near the Mogoşoaia Lake, it is aranged in the Italian way, with a loggia, columns, even a small labyrinth made out of living hedge. At a short distance one can find the chapel/ funeral vault of the Bibescu family, where all the members of this distinguished family sleep their eternity.