Descriptions of buildings
Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN
The Urban Ensemble “Domnească Street”
The Urban Ensemble “Domnească Street” is the historical reservation that preserves the largest number of architectural monuments in the city of Galaţi, a proof of how the city looked like in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.
Picture 126.96.36.199_1 Domnească Street (about 1910)
Picture 188.8.131.52_2 Domnească Street (about 1910)
The “Mihai Eminescu” Municipal Park. Located at the junction of Domnească and General I. Lahovary Streets, the “Mihai Eminescu” Municipal Park was established in the 1880s. Initially, it hosted the bust of statesman Mihail Kogălniceanu, the work of sculptor Wladimir Hegel, donated to the city by historian and politician V. A. Urechia. Later, a group of intellectuals made up a committee for raising a statue to Romania’s national poet Mihai Eminescu. In January 1910 the committee approved the project of Professor Frederick Stork from the School of Beautiful Arts in Bucharest. The unveiling of the statue was done in October 1911, in the presence of important figures of Romania’s cultural elite. In 1913, thanks to the efforts of lawyer Ion I. Vasiliu, the garden was arranged according to the model of English parks.
Picture 184.108.40.206_3 The Municipal Park (about 1919)
Grand Hotel (The City Hall of Galaţi). The residence was built in early 20th century through the initiative of great land owner Ilie Climis. In February 1911 he required from the municipality the authorisation to build the house, the architect being a certain Loiso. Grand Hotel was one of the most fashionable hotels in Galaţi during the interwar period. After its nationalisation, it became the headquarters of the local branch of the Romanian Communist Party, and after 1990 served as the City Hall of Galaţi. In the last decade the building was returned to its rightful inheritors.
Picture 220.127.116.11_4 Grand Hotel (contemporary picture)
The Palace of Justice (The Administrative Headquarters of the “Lower Danube” University). The building was intended to host all juridical institutions from Galaţi. The first intentions of having it built date back from 1893, but financial problems delayed this project, resumed only two decades later. The auction was won by Architect Ioan A. Paxino, and the ceremony of placing the headstone took place in September 1912. The construction was stopped at the outbreak of World War I, being resumed in 1921 and completed a couple of years later. From the 1970s, this building hosts the administrative headquarters of the “Lower Danube” University of Galaţi.
Picture 18.104.22.168_5 The Palace of Justice (contemporary picture)
The Lambrinidi House. It bears the name of a wealthy merchant, Epaminonda Lambrinidi, who also owned several industrial establishments in the Moldavian port-city. The house was built in 1879–1880. In 1888, when Lambrinidi went bankrupt, his fortune was sold by public auction, and the building hosted the Appellative Court of Galaţi. It later served as the headquarters of a school for girls and then as City Hall. Now, it hosts the regional headquarters of the Romanian Railways Company.
Picture 22.214.171.124_6 The Lambrinidi House (contemporary picture)
The Administrative Palace (Prefecture). The first intention to build such a palace for hosting all county administrative and juridical institutions appeared in the 1880s, but only two decades later, during the term as prefect of Ion C. Atanasiu, the County Council authorised the drafting of a technical project. Architect Ion Mincu was the author of this draft, voted by local councillors in November 1901. In February 1904 the contract between the local authorities and the entrepreneurs was signed, and the festivity of placing the headstone took place on 23 May 1904, in the presence of prime minister D. A. Sturdza. The works were completed in a short time, and the building was inaugurated in 1907. The administrative palace has the same function today, and it hosts the local institutions of Galaţi County.
Picture 126.96.36.199_7 The Administrative Palace (about 1912)
The Gheorghiade House. It was built in 1880, being the property of merchant Gheorghe Gheorghiade. During the interwar period it belonged to local politician Mihail G. Orleanu, and then hosted the boarding house of “Mihail Kogălniceanu” High School. Since 2002 the building is administered by the County Council and is now the headquarters of the “Lower Danube Cultural Centre”.
Picture 188.8.131.52_8 The Gheorghiade House (contemporary picture)
The Balş House. It belonged to the boyar family Balş, being built by caimacam Teodor Balş by mid 19th century. It is a typical French house, which remained private property during the interwar period.
Picture 184.108.40.206_9 The Balş House (contemporary picture)
The Plesnilă House. It belonged to former lawyer and conservative politician Costache G. Plesnilă, who also held the office of mayor of Galaţi. It was built in the early 20th century, being inherited by the founder’s son, Gigel Plesnilă, but became thereafter municipal property. It is now the headquarters of a local newspaper.
Picture 220.127.116.11_10 The Plesnilă House (contemporary picture)
The Auschnitt House. It belonged to Max Auschnitt, one of the greatest industrialists and bankers in Romania. The house, built at the beginning the 20th century, was bought by Auschnitt in 1921 from its former owner, Ilie Climis. The building hosted the Italian consulate at Galaţi and was nationalised in 1948. It is now private property and has hosted several restaurants and clubs.
Picture 18.104.22.168_11 The Auschnitt House (contemporary picture)
The Macri House. It is build on an estate bought in the 1880s by Dimitrie Climis, inherited by his daughter, married to Doctor Nicolae Macri. In the subsequent period, Climis contracted the Italian entrepreneurs Felice Denardi and Francesco Butti to build the house, according to the plans of Italian architect Loizo. It was completed in 1912. One of Macri’s sons, Christofer, was appointed in 1927 honorary consul of Portugal, so that until 1948 the building hosted the Portuguese consulate. The building was nationalised, and it hosted different institutions until 1997, when it returned to the property of the Macri family.
Picture 22.214.171.124_12 The Macri House (contemporary picture)
The “Notre Dame de Sion” Institute. It was founded in 1867 by the congregation of catholic nuns “Notre Dame de Sion”. The building dates back to the end of the 19th century and now belongs to the “Lower Danube” University.
Picture 126.96.36.199_13 The “Notre Dame de Sion” Institute (about 1913)
The Episcopal Palace. The Episcopal Palace hosted the ecclesiastic administration of the “Lower Danube” bishopric. The plan was initially drafted by architect Mandrea. The Ministry of Cults entrusted architect Th. Dobrescu with redrafting the plans and with commencing the actual works, and the ceremony of placing the headstone was held in June 1898, in the presence of Bishop Partenie and of other notabilities. The work, with all interior furnishings, was completed in 1901. During the communist period, the building hosted the Museum of Visual Arts. The Episcopal Palace was returned to the “Lower Danube” Archbishopric and will soon be inaugurated an Ecclesiastic Museum.
Picture 188.8.131.52_14 The Episcopal Palace (about 1903)
The Public Garden. The Public Garden dates from 1846, when by the disposition of Percalab Iorga Ghica there were planted 3,500 trees in the area of this garden. It was enlarged later, and in 1913 two large greenhouses with exotic plants were established.
Picture 184.108.40.206_15 The Public Garden (about 1906)
The Urban Ensemble Mihai Bravu
Parallel to Domnească Street, Mihai Bravu is a street where a large number of old buildings survived, an image of the city of Galaţi during the late 19th century and in the interwar period.
Picture 220.127.116.11_16 The Mihai Bravu Street (1900s)
The Palace of the European Commission of the Danube. The building belonged to the European Commission of the Danube, an institution established in 1856 with the mission of regulating the regime of navigation on the Maritime Danube. In 1893, the members of the commission decided to build an administrative headquarters for this international institution. The land was bought in March 1893, and the construction started in a short time, being completed in April 1896. In October 1917, during World War One, the palace was heavily bombed, and a fire completed its destruction. The reconstruction took place in 1922–1923. The European Commission of the Danube was dissolved in 1948, and the building was given thereafter to the “V. A. Urechia” Public Library.
Picture 18.104.22.168_17 The Palace of the European Commission of the Danube (about 1895)
The Robescu House. It belonged to Gheorghe Constantin Robescu, magistrate and local politician, including mayor of Galaţi and prefect of Covurlui. The residence was built in 1896–1897, after the plans of great Romanian architect Ion Mincu, who was probably related to the Robescus. Since 1924 it has hosted several public institutions: The Educational Inspectorate, The Royal Residence of the Lower Danube, The Military Headquarters, The Direction of Militia, The State Archives, The Children’s Palace.
Picture 22.214.171.124_18 The Robescu House (contemporary picture)
The Negri House. It belonged to the family of Romanian patriot Costache Negri. It was built in the 1860s, and after 1878 was rented by the Teacher Training School, moved from Ismail when Southern Bessarabia was annexed by Russia. The building was restored in 1972, and now hosts the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Picture 126.96.36.199_19 The Negri House (contemporary picture)
The Urban Ensemble Nicolae Bălcescu Street
Parallel to Domnească Street, Nicolae Bălcescu is another central street which preserves many old buildings.
Picture 188.8.131.52_20 Nicolae Bălcescu (Mavromol) Street (about 1913)
“Vasile Alecsandri” National College. The building belonged to “Vasile Alecsandri” High School, established in 1867–1868. It was initially housed in private quarters, and the construction of the building was completed in 1888–1890. The original building was extended during the interwar period.
Picture 184.108.40.206_21 “Vasile Alecsandri” National College (1920s)
Other representative buildings
The “Cuza Vodă” House. Situated on the Al. I. Cuza Street, the building is part of the History Museum of Galaţi. The house belonged to Prince Cuza’s family, and changed its owner several times after 1884, when it was sold. In October 1913 it was hosting the “Mihail Kogălniceanu” High School, and served as a hospital in 1916–1918. During the interwar period there were several attempts to purchase the house for its symbolic value and to organise it as a museum. The “Cuza Vodă House Association” became the owner of the building in February 1938 and the Cuza Vodă Museum was inaugurated on 24 January 1939, at the anniversary of 80 years since Cuza’s election as prince of the two Romanian Principalities. After other problems in 1939–1941, the “Ecaterina and Paul Paşa” Museum and the “Cuza Vodă” House definitively became full propriety of the commune, and now hosts collections of the Galaţi History Museum.
Picture 220.127.116.11_22 The Cuza House (contemporary picture)
The Ţinc House. Situated on Eroilor Street, it belonged to Constantin Ţinc, pharmacist and local politician, several times mayor of the city. In 1899 he received the approval to construct a house at the junction of Traian – Codreanu – Spitalului Streets, which was to serve as a pharmacy. The building was nationalised, but remained a pharmacy until 1989, when a technical expertise disposed its evacuation due to safety reasons. The building was restored in 1994–2006 and now hosts the Collections House, a component part of the Galaţi History Museum.
Picture 18.104.22.168_23 The Ţinc House (1900s)
The “Costache Negri” Pedagogical High School. Placed on Brăilei Street, it was built starting with 1898 to host the Pedagogical School. It was inaugurated in March 1902, with the participation of the Ministry of Education, Spiru Haret. The building was severely affected during both world wars, but also at the earthquakes of 1940, 1977 and 1986.
Picture 22.214.171.124_24 “Costache Negri” Pedagogical High School (about 1933)
The Palace of Navigation. Situated on the Portului Street, it was built in 1912. The plans and the construction were coordinated by architect Petre Antonescu. It hosted the offices of The Central Direction of the Service of Romanian Fluvial Navigation, The General Inspectorate of Romanian Harbours, The Division of the Hydraulic Service, The Office of Wireless Telegraphy, etc.
Picture 126.96.36.199_25 The Palace of Navigation (about 1895)
The Palace of the Post Office. Situated on General I. Lahovary Street, the building was erected in 1906–1908. Architect–Engineer Virgiliu Em. Hălăceanu won the public auction and built this headquarters for the post office, telegraph and telephone services, as well as the postmaster’s house.
Picture 188.8.131.52_26 The Negri House (contemporary picture)
 Corneliu Stoica, I. T. Dragomir, Mihalache Brudiu, Muzee şi monumente gălăţene (Galaţi: Comitetul pentru Cultură şi Educaţie Socialistă, 1974), 43–45; Corneliu Stoica, Monumente de artă plastică din judeţul Galaţi (Galaţi: Editura Şcoala Gălăţeană, 2003), 13–18.
 Valentin Bodea, Monumente istorice şi de arhitectură din oraşul Galaţi din a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea – prima jumătate a secolului al XX-lea (Galaţi: Pax Aura Mundi, 2011), vol. 2, 52–55; see also the site of the Direction for Culture and Patrimony of Galaţi County –http://www.galati.djc.ro/ObiectiveDetalii.aspx?ID=1666.
 Stoica, Dragomir, Brudiu, Muzee, 34–35; Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. II, 208; Bodea, Monumente (Galaţi: Pax Aura Mundi, 2009), vol. 1, 74–83.
 Ibid., 32–39.
 Stoica, Dragomir, Brudiu, Muzee, 33–34; Bodea, Monumente, 1, 58–68.
 Ibid., 44–46; http://www.galati.djc.ro/ObiectiveDetalii.aspx?ID=309.
 Bodea, Monumente, 1, 47–49.
 Ibid., 49–53.
 Ibid., 13–16; http://www.galati.djc.ro/ObiectiveDetalii.aspx?ID=1660.
 Bodea, Monumente, 1, 53–57; http://www.galati.djc.ro/ObiectiveDetalii.aspx?ID=1992.
 Bodea, Monumente, 2, 55–58.
 Ibid., 67–72.
 Stoica, Dragomir, Brudiu, Muzee, 48–65, Stoica, Monumente, 60–61.
 Bodea, Monumente, 1, 68–74.
 Stoica, Dragomir, Brudiu, Muzee, 35.
 Ibid., 35–36; Bodea, Monumente, 1, 17–22.
 Ibid., 23–32.
 Ibid., 2, 42–52.
 Ibid., 5–18.
 Ibid., 36–40.
 Ibid., 58–66.
 Stoica, Dragomir, Brudiu, Muzee, 39; Bodea, Monumente, 2, 80–83.
 Ibid., 83–92.
The official site of the Direction for Culture and Patrimony of Galaţi County
The official site of the “V. A. Urechia” Departmental Library
Website on old houses from Galaţi
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Primăria oraşului Galaţi (The Municipality of Galaţi), files starting with 1831.
Bodea, Valentin, Monumente istorice şi de arhitectură din oraşul Galaţi din a doua jumătate a secolului al XIX-lea – prima jumătate a secolului al XX-lea [Historical and Architectural Monuments in the City of Galaţi from the Second Half of the 19th Century – the First Half of the 20th Century], vol. 1–3 (Galaţi: Pax Aura Mundi, 2009–2014).
Pacu, Moise N., Cartea Judeţului Covurlui. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice [The Book of Covurlui County. Geographical, Historical and Mainly Statistical Notes] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891).
Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).
Stoica, Corneliu, Dragomir, I. T., Brudiu, Mihalache, Muzee şi monumente gălăţene [Museums and Monuments of Galaţi] (Galaţi: Comitetul pentru Cultură şi Educaţie Socialistă, 1974).
Stoica, Corneliu, Monumente de artă plastică din judeţul Galaţi [Monuments of Plastic Arts from Galaţi County] (Galaţi: Editura Şcoala Gălăţeană, 2003).