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Romanian Athenaeum

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Dec 17, 2021

The Romanian Athenaeum (Romanian: Ateneul Român) is a concert hall in the center of Bucharest, Romania and a landmark of the Romanian capital city. Opened in 1888, the ornate, domed, circular building is the city’s most prestigious concert hall and home of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic and of the George Enescu Festival.

Concert hall in Bucharest, Romania
Romanian Athenaeum
General information
Architectural style Neoclassical
Address str. Franklin nr. 1-3, sector 1
Town or city Bucharest
Country Romania
Coordinates

44.4413°N 26.0973°E / 44.4413; 26.0973

Opened 1888
Owner Romanian Philharmonic Society
Design and construction
Architect Albert Galleron [ro]
Other information
Seating capacity 794
Website
fge.org.ro
Albert Galleron’s drawing of the Atheneum

. . . Romanian Athenaeum . . .

In 1865, cultural and scientific personalities such as Constantin Esarcu, V. A. Urechia, and Nicolae Creţulescu founded the Romanian Atheneum Cultural Society. To serve its purposes, the Romanian Athenaeum, a building dedicated to art and science, would be erected in Bucharest.[1]

The building was designed by the French architect Albert Galleron, built on a property that had belonged to the Văcărescu family and inaugurated in 1888, although work continued until 1897. A portion of the construction funds was raised by public subscription in a 28-year-long effort, of which the slogan is still remembered today: “Donate one leu for the Ateneu!”[2]

On December 29, 1919, the Atheneum was the site of the conference of leading Romanians who voted to ratify the unification of Bessarabia, Transylvania, and Bukovina with the Romanian Old Kingdom to constitute Greater Romania.

Extensive reconstruction and restoration work has been conducted in 1992 by a Romanian construction company and restoration painter Silviu Petrescu, saving the building from collapse. The nine million Euro required were contributed in equal shares by the government and the Council of Europe Development Bank.[3]

Interior of the Romanian Athenaeum
Romanian Athenaeum

The overall style is neoclassical, with some more romantic touches. In front of the building there is a small park and a statue of Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu.

Inside, the ground floor hosts an ornate conference hall as large as the auditorium above; in the auditorium there are 600 seats in the stalls and another 52 in loge seating.

A 75-by-3-metre (246.1 by 9.8 ft)fresco by Costin Petrescu decorates the inside of the circular wall of the concert hall. Painted using the al fresco technique, the piece depicts the most important moments of Romanian history, starting with the conquest of Dacia by Roman emperor Trajan and ending with the realization of Greater Romania in 1918.

Recognized as a symbol of Romanian culture, the building has been inscribed in 2007 on the list of the Label of European Heritage sites.[4]

. . . Romanian Athenaeum . . .

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. . . Romanian Athenaeum . . .