“The Royal Court” of Bucharest

In 1906, during an exhibition held in Bucharest, among the objects from around the country, there was also a charter written on parchment, without seal, but with a red and blue silk cord. It was found that the document was issued on September 20, 1459, in the office of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler, the ruler of Walachiaat the time) from the fortress named Bucharest. Known today as the Museum “The Royal Palace – The Old Court”, the Royal Court has been the political, social, economic and cultural center ofBucharest for over three centuries and a half. Built over different historical stages, from1660, it became the official capital ofWalachia.

Vlad Tepes’ Castle, the ruins of another fortress

The exact location of Vlad Tepes’ fortress has raised many controversies over the years. They ended following some archaeological research which revealed a number of fortresses in Bucharest. Basically, they found not only Vlad Tepes’ fortress but also another one, built a century before. On the ruins of the latter, Vlad Tepes erected a new construction from 1458 to 1459, with craftsmen from Brasov. This new royal residence of Vlad the Impaler had a rectangular shape and was made of river rocks and mortar, with a high basement, the ground floor equipped with rooms on all four sides, and an interior garden.

Brâncoveanu’s upgrading

The 16th century brought new developments for theRoyal CourtinBucharest. Although he had a rough rule, Mircea Ciobanul (1545-1552, 1553-1554, 1557-1559) built a new palace, giving up completely Vlad Tepes’ plan. Basically, the entire surface of the old court gained a new subdivision. The cellar was now rectangular, divided into four rooms. Near the new palace, Mircea Ciobanul had a church built (which is still functioning today).

Although under Matei Basarab, Gregory Ghica, Gheorghe Duca and Serban Cantacuzino, the Royal Court of Bucharest saw a series of interventions in the form of repairs and additions of new buildings, none of these matched those made by Constantin Brâncoveanu. A new floor was added, and the throne room acquired an area of ??300 m². Unfortunately, few artifacts have been preserved from this historic room. Also, the space between the facade and the banks of the river Dambovita was embellished with terraces and gardens.

When the Phanariot rule (Greek merchants) began (1716 – 1822), theRoyal Courtstarted a gradual decline. At the end of the eighteenth century, it was practically a ruin.

Nowadays, the Royal Court is undergoing a vast process of rehabilitation, the aim being to birng back at least a small part of such an important part of the history of Bucharest. Visiting the Old Royal Court makes on feel the presence of men dressed in impecable suits and glamorous ladies walking on the streets of “Little Paris”.

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