I took a day trip this Saturday and saw a couple of the mansions around Bucharest which once belonged to rich landlords, masters of the land and people on it, built between the 1600-1800 and this way got an idea about the faith they have nowadays.
BUCHAREST AREA – MANSIONS AND CHURCHES
Afumati Chruch, outside and inside
First, about the itinerary: first stop was Afumati village (Ilfov county), and we saw the Constantin Cantacuzino mansion and church; second, Manasia village with the Obrenovici-Hagianoff mansion, wine cellars, garden and church; the third stop was Brosteni village where we saw the remainings of the the Evanghelie Zappa mansion and the church he had built; the forth and last stop was the church and mansion built for Radu Dudescu which is located just next to Hagiesti village. Manasia, Brosteni and Hagiesti are all in Ialomita county.
Evanghelie Zappa Church in BrosteniRuins of the Evanghelie Zappa Mansion in Brosteni
The best part about the trip were the wonderful stories of the long gone times and the people who were kind enough to tell them and show us around. Most of the actual landmarks I found to be in quite bad shape. When explained how church restorations are done, we heard the same story over and over again: there is a long and complicated process to be followed in order to get all the permissions to do any work on the historical buildings, this not even taking into account the difficulty of gathering the funds necessary and all this bureaucratic process turns out to be more than the priests can handle. The mansions still standing have been sold by the government illicitly to private companies. The restoration work on these mansions was done with more or less respect shown for the history they hold and they are either abandoned (Hagiesti mansion) or have been turned into guesthouses (Afumati) or wedding houses (Manasia).
The Hagiesti Church and Mansion. The church has no electricity, as it is too difficult to obtain the permit to start the work, as for the mansion – restoration work was done partially on it on several occasions, but it’s been deserted each time.
At the end of the day, I was left with a bitter sweet feeling after seeing how these once majestic places have decayed or have been completely turned around for the sole purpose of a profit.