In any given country, if local people are travelling to a certain site or destination, you know that it must be a true jewel. One such place in my experience has to be Mogoșoaia Palace in Romania, which is based at 1 Strada Valea Parcului, Mogoşoaia, Ilfov, Romania. This Palace, whilst previously being a royal residence, is now the home to the many people of Bucharest, who often drive the 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from their capital city to this little wonderland. Entrance to the Palace is 5 LEI (1 USD) and if you want to take photographs of the interior, you will need to make an additional payment. However, I’m here to tell you that the reason why locals travel to this little site is not because of the interior of the Palace but because of the exquisite gardens and lake that is to be seen.
Rich history of Mogoșoaia Palace
Whilst my objective is to promote the Palace grounds, I will also share with you briefly the rich history of Mogoșoaia Palace. The Palace was built between 1968 – 1702 at the request of Constantin Brâncoveanu, who was the Prince of Wallachia. The style in which he had the Palace built was a combination of Byzantine, Ottoman, Renaissance and Baroque elements which created something known as the “Brâncovnesc style”, which represents a mix between oriental and venetian elements. The external architecture boasts colors and styles that forever catch the eye.
The reason that the Palace is called Mogoșoaia Palace was because the land upon which the Palace was built was owned by a local nobleman whose late wife was called Mogoș. Constantin Brâncoveanu lived at this Palace with his family until 1814, when he and his entire family was executed by those under the Ottoman Empire. Their entire possessions and wealth was entirely confiscated by the Ottoman Empire and shockingly, the Palace was converted into an inn.
The Romanians thank Princess Martha
It was only until Prince Stefan Cantacuzino purchased the Palace and returned it to the Brâncoveanu family that it was able to remain with them until the 19th century. It then passed to the hands of the Bibescu family and it was Princess Martha, who married Prince George Bibescu, that spent her private fortune in reconstructing and saving this architectural gem. The Bibescu and the Brâncoveanu families were distantly related.
Princess Martha converted the Palace into a central meeting place for international high society, diplomats and politicians. After 1945, the Palace was nationalized by the Communist Party and today it is now a site to be enjoyed and appreciated by the locals and any tourists that hear about it. However, the interior of the Palace does not include any of its original pieces as they were removed during the Communist era. The Palace does, nevertheless, now include an art gallery with many art pieces that reflect the historical phases that the Palace has experienced.
Church in honour of Saint Gheorghe of the Meadow
Mogoșoaia Palace includes an ancient Orthodox Church on the side of its entrance. The Church is dedicated to Saint Gheorghe of the Meadow and includes the remains of a number of individuals that have lived in the Palace including Prince George Bibescu who died on the site in 1941. The Church was built in 1688 and the interior of it was decorated by a team of Greek painters. Today, it still includes an original painting of the Brâncoveanu family in their royal attire. Alongside the main Palace itself and the Church, there is also a guesthouse and watchtower on the grounds. The photographs included of the Palace and the Church are taken from the watchtower, which has exceptional views of the entire landscape, so it’s the best place to go to if you want to see the scenery in its full form.
The peaceful gardens and statue-still lake
During my visit to Mogoșoaia Palace, I was surrounded by far more locals than tourists and it was quite clear that their primary purpose was to sit back and enjoy the incredible and vast grounds of the Palace. There were plush green meadows and so many well thought out designs across the different gardens. It really was and is an oasis of tranquility and certainly the perfect spot on a sunny day.
The small but prominent lake was an idyllic and breathtaking scene, especially with the contrasting and bright greenery that surrounded it including the red and white Romanian houses. The lake was so peaceful and felt statue-still. In the distance, I could also see a couple having their wedding photographs taken with the scenic landscape in the background; rumour has it that during the summer time there can be at least 3 wedding couples simultaneously having their photographs taken in this wonderful area.
Monet coming to life in Romania’s landscape
The inviting lawns and gardens are filled with flowers and creates an island of fresh air and calmness away from the hustle and bustle of city life in Romania. The extensive and beautiful gardens are very well preserved and create a marvelous landscape. It is so wonderful to listen to the plants gently rustling in the wind whilst the birds sing in the background. The sun washes over the gardens and creates a golden glow across all the trees, plants and flowers. There are a number of areas in which to have a picnic and even a spot for those that want to do a barbecue. During my visit, there was a beautiful acre of purple iris flowers and looked very much like seeing Claude Monet’s painting, “The Artist’s Garden at Giverny” (which Monet painted in 1900), and it felt like it was coming to life, albeit in Romania.
Recharge your batteries in this harmonious environment
Mogoșoaia Palace is the best spot near Bucharest if you want to “recharge your batteries” from a full on sightseeing experience in the city. The perfumed flowers and green trees create a harmonious environment and gives you the serenity that you may need after a demanding touring experience. The locals certainly come here after a busy week at work to sit back, relax and enjoy the history and their country at its best. Whilst it takes 30 minutes or so to drive from Bucharest to the Palace, I would recommend that on a summer’s day, you consider taking a taxi for the 30 minute journey from the centre of Bucharest to the Palace. Please note that there are tour companies that do conduct organized tours to this Palace; however, it is usually in conjunction with visiting other destinations and sites during the same day or afternoon.
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