Descriptions of hotels
Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN
In the first half of the 19th century available sources refer to several inns in the old part of Galaţi, some of them also belonging to local churches. New inns were established in the new, modern area of the city, so that in 1836 there were recorded ten inns, and in 1841 their number increased to 31.
At the beginning of the Crimean War an important establishment was the “Ţigănuş Inn”, the propriety of Teodor Atanasiu. The building, on Domnească Street, had 38 rooms occupied by the Russians when they entered the Romanian Principalities in 1853. It was then called “Hotel Metropol” and was one of the most select hotels in Galaţi. Other establishments that offered accommodations were the “Manoil Inn”, as well as “Hotels of Des Etrangers” and “Europa”. “Imperial Hotel” owed its name in honour of Tsar Nicholas I. As fashionable was the inn of boyar Costache Ventura, also situated on Domnească Street. According to a contemporary description, it was a large building, with two wings, erected on the Turkish model and retracted from the noise of the main street. “It had two floors, with pillars and a balcony in the front. It was the conack of accommodation for pretentious foreign guests”.
As important were the hotels in the area of the harbour, where voyagers travelling on the Danube to / from Constantinople sought accommodation. A description of such a hotel, in 1855, is extremely plastic: “Our hotel, the best in the town, is not better than a Spanish inn on the Moorish frontier. The doors do not shut, the windows do not open. There is a bed, but it is an enemy rather than a friend to repose. The bed-clothes are of a dark smoke–color, stained in many places with iron–moulds, and burned into little black holes by the ashes of defunct cigars. The bed, bedstead, and bed–clothes are alive with vermin. They crawl down the damp mouldy walls, and swarm on the filth floor, untouched by the broom of a single house–maid since its planks were laid down. Battalions move in little dark specks over the pillow–case; they creep in an out of the rents and folds of the abominable blanket. On a crazy wooden chair – of which one of the legs is broken–stands a small red pipkin, with a glass of dingy water in the centre. A smoky rag, torn and unhemmed, is laid awry beside it. They are destined for the purposes of ablution. The walls of the room are very thin; and there is a farewell supper of ladies and gentlemen going on in the next room. I saw the guests mustering as we came in. They were so ringed and chained that they would have excite envy and admiration even at a Jewish wedding. They are all talking together at the top of their voices against the Austrian occupation. The odor of their hot meats and the fine smoke of their cigarettes come creeping through the many chinks and crannies of the slender partition which divides us. Twice I have card a scuflling behind my door, and I have felt that an inquisitive eye was applied to a key–hole, from which the lock has on since been wrenched in some midnight freak. Derisive whispering, followed by loud laughter, has also given me the agreeable assurance that my movements are watched with a lively and speculative interest. They appear to add considerably to the entertainment of the company. I am abashed by feeling myself the cause of so much hilarity, and stcalthily put out the light. Then I wrap myself up resolutely in a roquelaire, take the bed by assault, and shut my eyes desperately to the consequences; doing drowsy battle with the foe, as I feel them crawling from time to time beneath a mustache or under an eyelid. I am ignominiously routed, however, at last, and rise from that loathsome bed blistered and fevered. The screaming and shouting in the next room has by this time grown demoniacal. My friends are evidently making a night of it: so I in to wonder whether the talisman of a ducat will not induce a waiter and a lantern to go with me to the steam-boat. I may pace at as deck till morning, if I cannot sleep; for the Galatz hotel–keepers have I know protested a inst passengers being allowed berths on card the vessels when in port”.
A source from 1886 mention 12 hotels (“România”, “Concordia”, “Papadopol”, “Central”, “Gabroveanu”, “Crapul de Aur”, “Hucher”, “Ismail”, “Ungar”, “Smirna” “Sofia”, “Alla Bella Austria”, “P. Micleasca”) and two inns (“Vasile Angheluţă” and “Plugul de Oţel”). The inns continued to also serve for the exchange of goods, as it was the case with the so called “Burnt Inn” on Braşoveni Street. In its gangs ambulant merchants sold small wares or mardalâc, to the loss of official traders.
By the early 20th century, there were even more hotels and inns mentioned in Galaţi. We can divide them geographically and by types of clients into: those from downtown Galaţi, on Domnească and Egalităţii Streets (“Bristol”, “Central”, “Continental”, “Imperial”, “Metropol”, “Moldavia”), more appropriated for luxury clients; those form the Tecuci and Traian Streets, at the entrances into the city, more appropriate for small merchants and unpretentious clients (the inns called “Covurlui”, “Mână Neagră”, “Prutului”, and those belonging to A. Codrescu, Alecu Vasilescu, G. Tăşculescu, H. Ciamburlas, I. Istrate, Ion Mihăilescu, P. Altangiu, Pavel Caufman, Spiru Popescu, V. Ionescu, V. Oltenschi); those close to the area of the harbour, on Braşoveni and Cuza Vodă Streets, more appropriate to voyagers travelling on the river (“Papadopol”, “Splendid”, “Union”).
Picture 188.8.131.52_1 Splendid Hotel (about 1915)
Picture 184.108.40.206_2 Continental Hotel (about 1920)
Picture 220.127.116.11_3 Metropol Hotel (about 1923)
Picture 18.104.22.168_4 Imperial Hotel (about 1925)
 Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. I, 114, 167.
 Nicolae Suţu, Opere economice, edited by Ion Veverca (Bucharest: Editura Ştiinţifică, 1957), 211; Păltănea, Istoria, I, 285.
 Ibid., II, 47, note 3.
 Ibid., 58.
 Ibid., 52, note 5.
 Gh. N. Munteanu–Bârlad, Galaţii (Galaţi: Societate de Editură Ştiinţifică–Cultură, 1927), 188–189.
 “The Roving Englishman”, Household words. A Weekly Journal Conducted by Charles Dickens, XIII (19 January – 12 July 1856), 22–23.
 Adrian Pohrib, Din istoria poliţiei române. Poliţia oraşului Galaţi între anii 1832 şi 1949. Istoric şi documente (Galaţi: Agaton, 2013), 446–447.
 Munteanu–Bârlad, Galaţii, 186.
 Prefectura Poliţiei Galaţi, Indicatorul oraşului Galaţi cuprinzând adresele tuturor autorităţilor civile şi militare, ale caselor mari comerciale şi ale tuturor instituţiilor etc. (Galaţi: s.e, s.a), 83–84.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Primăria oraşului Galaţi (The Municipality of Galaţi), files starting with 1831.
Anuarul general al oraşului Galaţi şi al jud. Covurlui, 1930–1931 [The General Yearbook of Galaţi City and of the Covurlui District], edited by Radu Volbură (Brăila: Dunărea, 1931).
Munteanu–Bârlad, Gh. N., Galaţii (Galaţi: Societate de Editură Ştiinţifică–Culturală, 1927).
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).
Pohrib, Adrian, Din istoria poliţiei române. Poliţia oraşului Galaţi între anii 1832 şi 1949. Istoric şi documente [From the History of Romanian Police. The Police of Galaţi City between 1832 and 1949. History and Documents] (Galaţi: Agaton, 2013).
Prefectura Poliţiei Galaţi, Indicatorul oraşului Galaţi cuprinzând adresele tuturor autorităţilor civile şi militare, ale caselor mari comerciale şi ale tuturor instituţiilor etc. [The Indicator of the City of Galaţi Containing the Addresses of All Civil and Military Authorities, of the Large Commercial Houses and of All Institutions] (Galaţi: s.e, s.a).
“The Roving Englishman”, Household words. A Weekly Journal Conducted by Charles Dickens, XIII (19 January – 12 July 1856).