Cameliei38 1(Image: Povesti cu plimbari- November, 2011) The willful neglect of beauty and the determination to destroy Bucharest's patrimony never seems to let up... This once-gorgeous house stands close to Hala Matache in sector 1 and was built at the end of XIXc./ beginning of XXc. in architectural ecclectic style by an unknown architect. Those I have spoken to cannot remember it ever being anything but a ruin, growing progressively more dilapidated as years have passed. Certainly, nobody but gypsies have lived in it for at least the last decade. I have no idea who the owner is or was despite endless searches on internet, but one thing is clear - this house is living on borrowed time....

(Images below: Povesti cu plimbari - February, 2012) Both amazingly (though not amazingly at all if one knows both Bucharest Cameliei38 2and the way heritage is treated) and shamefully, str Cameliei 38 is on the register of historic monuments at position n° 573, last updated in 2010, code: B-II-m-B-18299. In 2009, a Certificat de Urbanism, signed by Sorin Oprescu, Gheorghe Patrascu and the General Secretary, Toma Tudor, appeared in view of allowing construction work to begin involving Berzei 111 and Cameliei 38-40... This document had a 12 month validity and I cannot find a more recent/updated version.

THIS PUZ (presumably also 2009?) tells us that indeed, str Cameliei 38 is private property and that the 'beneficiary' is one Corina Mihaela MIHAI currently living on Drumul Taberei. It is not clear, however, whether she is the owner or the acting party. The construction company is Cameliei38 3cited as S.C. Lora Construct S.R.L in jud. Giurgiu... The project planned for this land is a six-storey building comprising of apartments, offices and commercial space to be built on 1124,28mp. According to an article in Observatorul Urban Bucuresti from 13th January 2011, this PUZ was discussed at the Commission of Urbanism on 13th October 2010, but no final decision was taken due to further discussion required on the fate of the historic Hala Matache just around the corner.

Now that it has since been decided that Hala Matache will remain where it is, the fate of str. Cameliei 38 remains very much in the balance. The fact that it has a private owner means that if permission to demolish is given, there's nothing anyone can do about it. Usually, it is extremely difficult to have authorisation for the demolition of a historic monument, but as we have seen so often in Bucharest just lately, anything is possible. With the examples of Hala Matache, Casa Miclescu and a hoard of others left to rot and looted with plenty of encouragement from officials with self-interest, historic monuments are neither loved nor respected by the PMB, the owners, the Ministry of Culture and the Commission of Urbanism... In addition, the Berzei/Buzesti project still remains to be finalised - if the house is in the way, it will be demolished, along with all the others that have bitten the dust in the area over the last three years...

Cameliei38 5Clearly, if the owner does not have the money to restore it - and surely, if he did, he would have done so by now - then once again, we are looking at yet another hole in the ground before an eyesore appears in its place or the road planned for the area goes through it. The fact alone that a PUZ was put forward, perhaps in 2009, means that he wants to be rid of it... Looking at these photographs from Povesti cu plimbari, any kind of restoration would take nothing short of a miracle. The roof has gone along with the windows and doors and the elements have taken their toll. One can still imagine how lovely it once was, but, like Casa Miclescu, Visarion 8 and so many like them, this house no longer cries. It seems comatosed - beyond pain....

Should anyone have any further information on the history, background or plans for str. Cameliei 38, then please do not hesitate to let me know.

Update: I've just been told that the house was sold in 2010... by whom and to whom is unknown. There is nothing online, ie. no articles, no proof of sale etc, but then again, why would there be? This is a country where real estate is more under the table than above it... If it is now the property of the state, well, you know what happens next.... :( More news as it happens...


Many thanks to Ioana Rizea, author of Povesti cu Plimbari, for permission to publish her photographs.