Mgaia Palace

One of Romania's most remarkable palaces ((6} 312 8894; Str Valea Parcului; admission with/without guide €2/1; S 10am-6pm Tue-Sun) lies 14km north west of Bucharest in Mogoçoaia (literally, Mogoç' wife). Mogoçoaia Palace was built by Wallachian prince Constantin Brâncoveami between 1698 and 1702 as a summer resi dence for his family and an inheritance for his son Çtefan. It is considered to be among the country's finest examples of Brâncov eanu architecture. Built within a large courl and surrounded by a lake and oak forests, the palace's main feature is a traditional balcony that winds around the front façade.

Following the death of Çtefan at the hands of the Turks in Istanbul in 1714, the palace was turned into an inn. It was then plun dered and made into a warehouse by oc cupying Russian forces in 1853. At the end of the 19th century the estate was handed down to the Bibescu family, descendants of the Brâncoveanus through the female line. A large guesthouse was built and, in 1912, Prince George Valentin Bibescu (1880-1941) relinquished Mogoçoaia Pal ace to his wife, Martha (1886-1973). Under her guidance, Italian architect Domenico Rupolo restored the estate. The guesthouse was rebuilt, taking the fish market in Ven ice as its model. State-owned since 1956, the palace served as a museum until the 1970s, when Ceauçescu closed it and took the fur niture for his own use.

Prince George Valentin Bibescu is buried in the small, white church (1688) on the estate. A path from the main entrance to the palace leads to the Bibescu family tomb, where Elizabeth Asquith (1898-1945), the daughter of former British prime minister Henry Herbert Asquith, lies. She married Prince Antoine Bibescu in London in 1919.

The grave of 'Lenin' is also located at Mogoçoaia Palace. Following the 1989 downfall of Romanian communism, the statue of Lenin that stood outside Bucharest's Press House was removed from its pedestal and dumped on wasteground behind the palace kitchens on the Mogoçoaia estate. The head of Lenin's 5m-tall bronze body lies peacefully against that of Petru Groza, the Communist prime minister at the head of the 1945 government that forced King Michael to abdicate in 1947.

0 0

Post a comment