Historical Monument presentation:
The Brancovenian Palace Complex of Mogoşoaia
Code in the Historical Monuments List: IF-II-a-A-15298
Location: village of Mogoşoaia, commune of Mogoşoaia, str. Parcului nr. 1, Ilfov County
The Brancovenian Palace Complex
Date of construction: 1702
The foremost civil architectural complex specific to Brancovenian art lies at about 17 kilometers from Bucharest on the national highroad leading to Târgovişte. Starting with the traditional forms of Wallachian architecture, mingled with oriental, baroque and renaissance features, the Mogoşoaia palace was constructed by the Wallachian ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714) for his son Ştefan in 1702.
In architecture, “the Brancovenian style” is marked by buildings of notable sizes which blend in with the environment in a harmonious manner. Gazebos, loggias, monumental staircases with sculpted handrails, twisted columns with a composite capital, water mirrors and beautiful gardens, all of these are part of the special atmosphere surrounding Mogoşoaia.
The village of Mogoşoaia was bought by Constantin Brâncoveanu in 1681, from Radu logofăt [chancellor], his brother, Isac the friar and lady Rada. The village was sold together with the pond where later, the palace will be built on its banks. In 1668, the ruler builds the Sf. Gheorghe church, which still stands today.
Between 1700 and 1702 the palace is constructed. Several additional and diverse works follow the initial completion in 1702, the painting of the Great Spatharios Hall (1704), new structures that complete the building complex, the construction of the kitchen, perimeter walls, various auxiliary buildings and planning the princely gardens, for example. After the tragic end of the ruler and his sons in 1714, the palace is stripped of all movable goods and turned into an Inn. And in 1710, due to battles between the Russian and Turkish armies (1768-1774), the palace is destroyed, leaving only the inner rooms, the porches and a part of the exterior walls.
It was restored by the treasurer Nicolae Brâncoveanu, but in 1821 it was burned by a fire started by rouge bands of panduri [ riders] on their way to Bucharest.
In 1830 restoration works are carried out by Grigore Brâncoveanu, a nobleman, and after 1844 the new owner, the ruler Gheorghe Bibescu continues the site’s restoration.
The works under architect Johann Schlater are not completed, but after 1860, Nicolae Bibescu entrusts the French architect Andre Lecomte de Nouy to continue the restoration works. A new wing to the north is built, and the old nobleman’s manor is reconstructed (afterwards it will become the d’Elchinghen Villa), perimeter walls are raised, etc.
Between 1914 and 1921 (interrupted by the First World War), a staircase is added to the porch facing the courtyard of the palace. The design belonged to the architect Domenico Ruppolo. This is the time when Martha Bibescu, the lady of prince George-Valentin Bibescu, makes its mark on the old Brancovenian palace.
In 1949 the palace is placed in the state’s property, and it becomes in 1957 a Bracovenian art museum.
The earthquake of March 1977 greatly damages the site, and it will be restored afterwards.
The rectangular shaped palace, is placed in the middle of a beautiful garden, and built on two levels, with the façade towards Colentina lake complete with a loggia and the façade with a gazebo is facing the inner courtyard. The murals depicting scenes of Constantin Brâncoveanu’s journey to Adrianopol (Edirne), as well as the motifs decorating the other rooms are lost. In a single passage chamber, a part of the floral motifs is kept. In the beginning the palace walls were plastered, and traces can be seen on the loggia façade and on the east façade. On the outside of the building, the gazebo keeps the original painting. The sculptures from inside as well as outside of the building are made out of stone and marble. The building is constructed entirely out of brick.
The rectangular cellar is parted in four pockets through a central column, arched with four spherical caps. The ground floor contains rooms that circle the aforementioned basement.
The most significant part of the palace is the upper floor, that can be reached by an external staircase which leads to a tower that is the entrance to a corridor. On the left side there was the princely chamber, and on the right side there was the lady’s chamber. The gazebo facing the courtyard is large, square shaped, with eight elegant stone columns, with trilobed arches and a stone sculpted handrail. The Gazebo is covered by a spherical cap. The entrance door to the upper floor bears an inscription.
Towards the lake, a loggia having stone columns, fusuri cu caneluri răsucite, trilobed arches and richly sculpted handrails, are part of the façade towards the lake belonging to one of the upper floor rooms, large, beautifully vaulted, flanked by two small towers. And the other rooms of the floor are large, with trilobed windows. The north façade, rebuilt, has four columns taken from the palace of Potlogi.
A big decorated cornice with a row of arches, crown the palace and its apparent brick façades.