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Architecture of Romania

Romanian Architecture - Traditional house
Traditional house

Although some ancient structures remain in Romania, such as the Dacian Fortresses, the remains that do exist from the Roman ages and before are poor. Additionally, since most of the traditional Romanian buildings were constructed from wood, there is little that remains from before the 1100s.

Romanian Architecture - Church in Densus
Church in Densus

As the Medieval period arrived, many of the leading people in what is today Romania were ethnic Saxons. These Germanic people also created some of the most long-lasting structures in Romania, the first two examples being the old town in Sighisoara (1100-1200s) and the old town in Brasov (1100-1300s). The construction of these two town centers represent a number of styles, including Romanesque and Gothic, while in later years additional buildings were erected as well. The Black Church (1300-1400s) in Brasov is one of the largest Gothic churches in Europe and perhaps Romania's best example of Gothic architecture.

In the 1400s and 1500s a number of churches were built and painted in the region of northern Moldavia (eastern Romania, not to be confused with the country of Moldova), including Sucevita Monastery (1585). The designs and paintings are the result of Byzantine influence and have aspects of both Gothic and Byzantium architecture.

Romanian Architecture - Cetatuia Monastery in Iasi
Cetatuia Monastery in Iasi

Over the next couple centuries, as the country was partially occupied and at odds with many of their neighboring powers, Romania developed a national pride, which was represented in many forms, including in their architecture. This style of art, called Brancoveanu Art, is best exemplified in the Monastery of Horezu (1690). This style, and in particular this building, is perhaps the purest Romanian building in the country.

Romanian Architecture - Saxon-Influenced Peles Castle in Sanaia
Peles Castle in Sanaia

As was the traditional form of architecture in the 1700s and 1800s most construction was made from wood. Like various regions throughout the Carpathian Mountains, the region of Maramures in northern Romania built a number of wooden churches, which generally had steep slanting roofs to shed the snow. There are still a few of these wooden churches remaining in sporadic mountain villages.

Sadly, since the 1800s the most noticeable architectural style has been communist constructions that were built after World War II. These buildings encircle most large and medium sized cities in the country today, most notably Bucharest. Despite this, there are some more modern buildings of note. Peles Castle (1873-1914) in Sanaia is a neo-Renaissance palace with definite Saxon traits built by the king of Romania. Also during this time the Palace of the Parliament (or the Palace of the People) was built in Bucharest and remains the world's second largest building, built primarily in the communist style.

This page was last updated: May, 2014