Calea Victoriei

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Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue) is a major avenue in central Bucharest. It leads from Splaiul Independen?ei (which runs parallel to the Dâmbovi?a River) to the north and then northwest up to Pia?a Victoriei, where ?oseaua Kiseleff continues north.

History

File:Nicolae Ionescu - Victory Avenue between Cap?a House and the Telephone Palace, 1935.jpg
Looking north on Calea Victoriei in 1935. In the foreground the Hotel Capitol is at left and the restaurant Casa Cap?a at right. The tall building at left is Palatul Telefoanelor. All remain landmarks today.

Initially, the road was known as Uli?a Mare (Large Street), also known as Drumul Bra?ovului (Bra?ov Road), being part of the trade route between Bucharest and the city of Bra?ov, in Transylvania. In 1692, ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu paved the road with wood and partly regularized it, making it pass through the domains of the B?l?ceni, of the Saint John Monastery, Zl?tari Monastery and of the Cantacuzenes up to the S?rindari Monastery. Since 1692 it was known as Podul Mogo?oaiei (Mogo?oaia Wood-Paved Road) because it also was connecting the Bucharest's center with Brâncoveanu's Mogo?oaia Palace some km outside the city.

Most roads in the Balkans at that time became muddy in the spring and autumn, and the wood prevented this. Consequently the road was one of the most important construction works of the area and a source of pride to Bucharesters. The area surrounding the road became the most fashionable part of Bucharest: 35 boyar houses were located on the road itself in 1775.


Podul Mogo?oaiei was the first street in Bucharest to be illuminated with candles during the night, starting July 1814.

The wood was not a very sturdy material and often it was in a bad state, despite being repaired several times (including in 1793 and 1814). During the Russian occupation of the Danubian Principalities, in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War (1828–1829), an extension from Pia?a Victoriei northward was built by Pavel Kiseleff, the commander of the occupation troops, and is today named after him. In 1842 the road was paved with cobblestone. It was later upgraded to asphalt.

The road was renamed "Calea Victoriei" on October 12, 1878, following the Romanian victory in the Independence War of 1877-1878.

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Today, it host a lot of luxury brands like Rolex, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, Hugo Boss, Armani, Ellie Saab, Ermeneglido Zegna and many others wich makes it the boulevard with the most expensive shops in Bucharest.

Buildings and monuments

Major buildings and monuments along the street include (from north to south):

  • The Cantacuzino Palace, hosting The George Enescu Museum
  • Museum of Art Collections
  • ?tirbey Palace
  • The Athénée Palace Hotel, now a Hilton
  • Romanian Athenaeum
  • National Museum of Art of Romania
  • The library of the University of Bucharest
  • Kretzulescu Church
  • Pia?a Revolu?iei (Revolution Square), including the Memorial of Rebirth
  • Palatul Telefoanelor
  • Odeon Theatre
  • Casa Cap?a
  • Cercul Militar Na?ional
  • Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse
  • Bucharest Financial Plaza
  • National Museum of History of Romania, with the Statue of Trajan and the She-wolf on its steps
  • Casa de Economii ?i Consemna?iuni (CEC)

It was also long home to the Constantin T?nase Revue Theatre (as of 2006, relocated to the Lipscani district), and was the site of the old Romanian National Theater just north of Palatul Telefoanelor; the departed theatre's façade is replicated by the front of the Bucharest Novotel that opened in summer 2006. The Romanian Athenaeum is set back slightly from the street, with a small park in between.

Calea Victoriei was Bucharest's showpiece street in the Interwar years. Tudor Octavian wrote, "this is how the whole of Bucharest would look if we had been allowed…, if its builders had been clever enough…". After roughly half a century of decline, it has recently been returning to this role. The National Museum of Art of Romania (the former royal palace) and the University Library across the street from it (both damaged in the 1989 Revolution) were restored in the 1990s; Palatul Telefoanelor was restored between 1997–2005; and there has been an ongoing refurbishment of the street's many hotels, including the Athénée Palace, the Majestic, the Capitol, and the Cap?a Hotel; as of 2010, the Grand Hotel du Boulevard is undergoing restoration, while renovation of the Continental and Novotel has been completed.

Notes

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References

  • —, Bucure?tiul Interbelic/Calea Victoriei/Interbellum Bucharest, NOI Media Print, ISBN 973-99493-7-1
  •  ?tefan Ionescu, Bucure?tii în vremea fanario?ilor (Bucharest in the time of the Phanariotes), Editura Dacia, Cluj, 1974.
  • Florian Georgescu et al. Istoria Ora?ului Bucure?ti, Muzeul de Istorie a Ora?ului Bucure?ti, 1965

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