Walking in Bucharest - Documentary: Patriarchate's Palace built over old monastery

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The building complex including the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate's Palace in Bucharest is located over the groundwork of the Saints Constantine and Helen monastery; it is a princely foundation and donation to the Metropolitan See of Muntenia (southern region of present-day Romania) by Voivode Constantin Serban (1654 -1658).

The Patriarchate's Palace was built at the beginning of the 20th century over the site of the former Deputies Assembly Hall on the Metropolitan See Hill. The old hall of the Assembly and its surrounding land property belonged to the Metropolitan See of Muntenia, residing in the buildings around the present day cathedral on the Metropolitan See Hill.

Great historical events in the second half of the 19th century took place on this hill. On January 24, 1859 the Electoral Assembly of Wallachia chaired by Metropolitan Nifon in the former Deputies Assembly Hall voted the union of Muntenia and Moldova by designating Alexandru Ioan Cuza as ruling prince of both Romanian Principalities.

The Patriarchate's Palace was built according to blueprints drawn by architect Dimitrie Maimarolu, and the works were carried out under the supervision of engineer George (Gogu) Constantinescu. Reinforced concrete elements were used for the building, the first one built with this technology in Romania. Various subsequent modifications were brought to it, the most important being the rebuilding of the dome, which had collapsed during the November 10, 1940 earthquake.

The overall built-up area is 7,000 square meters. The building has multiple floors, better seen from the eastern side of the hill. The hill's slope hosts two basements and an additional underground extension (partial 3rd basement), a ground floor, and two upper floors.

The interior comprises many halls, offices, and dependencies, grouped in four wings around a large auditorium, which is actually the dominant element of the building. The structure has massive walls, and the roof is largely made of reinforced concrete.

The exterior and interior architecture are both rooted in neoclassic art, influenced by French Baroque.

After 1989, it was assigned to the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate, upon its request, by Government Decision 941 of October 8, 1996.

Since 1997, the Patriarchate's Palace hosts some units of the Patriarchal Administration (Theology and Education, Monuments and Church Buildings, Church and Inter-religious Relations, External Communities, Protocol Office), and the BASILICA Media Center of the Patriarchate.

On December 6, 2010, by Government Decision 1229, the Patriarchate's Palace property was transferred to the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchate.AGERPRES

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