GOLESCU & GRANT -
CULTURAL, INDUSTRIAL AND ATEMPORAL COMPANY
-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu-
Many times I asked myself
how the Grant District in Bucharest looks today,
and in 2 February 2015,
when I saw the Moon over the Grozavesti complex for students,
I decided to visit it again after many years.
My questions were:
-What is beyond those hostels
on the bank of the Dambovita River?
-What is beyond that alley
from the Polytechnic Institute?
-What is beyond that crucifix,
in the park of the Sportul Studentesc stadium
(made in the 1920s,
where the local team obtained in the 1980s a spectacular qualification
among the first 16 teams of the UEFA Cup)?
-What is beyond that mysterious tower
(which I caught from the speed of a tram on the Basarab Passage)?
-How is now the historical nucleus of the district,
the Belvedere Mansion?
And I started a tour through this district in 10 March 2015,
which I completed with another one in 22 May 2016
(this time only for visiting the interiors of the two local churches).
I began from north to south,
the first major monument being the Saint Ilie Church of Grant
(the first in this zone, founded in 1907),
including admirable cosmic symbolism.
Then I continued my enthusiastic visit through this district,
created in the second part of the 19th century
thanks to special circumstances,
as I will tell you later.
And here is the mansion-palace, unfortunately hidden
by blocks of flats made by the communist regime (1949-1989).
In the beginning of the 19th century
(an aristocrat literarily remarkable for a diary about his trips in Europe,
published in 1826)
made this palace on his estate,
and this was one of the places where he and his friend Ion Heliade Radulescu
conceived the first Romanian regular newspaper in 1826
and the Literary Society in 1827.
The palace also hosted the leader of 1821’s Revolution, Tudor Vladimirescu,
and leaders of 1848’s Revolution.
In 1850 a high functionary of the British Consulate,
Effingham Grant (who had a Scottish origin),
married Golescu’s granddaughter
and renovated the palace,
conceiving also here something new for Bucharest.
Thus, he brought some British industrial revolution,
making a foundry, a tobacco factory and even an enterprise for orchids,
parceling the estate for houses of workers,
and creating the first industrial district in Bucharest.
And later, in the 1900s,
his son Robert Grant, in this palace, too,
conceived (in co-operation with other Romanian specialists)
the project of a large bridge
over the close railroads.
So that the Belvedere Mansion (now a complex for children)
has historically remained one of the “hardest” buildings in Bucharest…
Close to the palace,
I found out the greatest architectural pearl of the district:
the Belvedere Church (also rich in cosmic symbolism),
founded in 1929
and built by architect Ioan Traianescu and his team
in the Neo-Romanian style.
I left the church and I continued my walk
(passing near the former tobacco factory)
until I saw, at the edge of the district,
an old building made in 1890 to serve as a fire tower.
Then it was transformed into a water tower for the tobacco factory,
and now it is only a deposit for a general store.
Suddenly, in that day of 10 March 2015,
I remarked the sunset just like a celestial rehabilitation
of the old tower!
Although I wanted to leave the Grant District
(renamed by communists… Regie)
not from here,
but with a vision of the new version of the Grant Bridge
(which was remade around 1980),
the star Sirius called me back!
So I returned to the last two pearls of the zone,
seeing the planet Jupiter
between the spires of the Belvedere Church
and the planet Venus (although disturbed by light pollution)
near the tower!
It was not enough!
In 3 September 2015
the exceptional spirit of the Grant District called me back again
to see the morning moon and the sunrise
near the same amazing buildings!
Under the curious heavenly bodies,
“Cultural” Golescu and “Industrial” Grant
Have laid original bases for a special district,
Cultivating just a love plant.
© 2016 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)