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Castlemania: Mogosoaia Palace

Mogoșoaia

Spring, spring! What a beautiful season to be in Bucharest! I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone by now that my favorite season is spring. I may have said it so many times that I fear I start to sound like a broken record.

On the first really warm day of spring at the end of March I decided it’s time for a trip to Mogosoaia Palace. I had previously visited it a couple of years ago but it was November and the place was dark and rather dull. Hence I was not impressed.  A repeat was needed but on sunnier days.

Mogosoaia

Mogosoaia Palace and its  park are situated in the little town of Mogosoaia, about 15 kms far from Bucharest center being the easiest option for a quick out of the city getaway.

The car is the most convenient way to get there but since some of you don’t plan on hiring a car on their trip to Bucharest or don’t visit Bucharest by car you should know that public transportation is available too.

I decided not to take my car since I wanted to see if metro+ bus is actually doable since public transport in Bucharest can be a challenge if your destination is not on the metro line.

For more information on transportation in Bucharest read this article: Transportation in Bucharest.

This being said, I took my ever present camera and the newly acquired tripod, called Ben ( I will not get into that now), met my friend Aglaia and started our journey to Mogosoaia.

Mogosoaia

First you have to take the metro to Basarab station and then change lines. Your next stop is Parc Bazilescu.

When you get out of the underground check the apartment buildings on the other side of the road. They were build in the 1950s and sport an authentic Soviet look. I haven’t seen anything similar in the city.

Finding the right bus was not rocket science but speaking Romanian and being able to ask people on the street helped a lot! Sadly, there are no information panels or signs pointing to the right direction.

You will have to cross the street towards the Soviet buildings and spot the bus station. A bored looking bunch of people standing on the sidewalk is a good indication that that’s the bus station.

You have to catch bus 508. It’s smaller than the usual city bus, it’s a sort of inter urban mini bus or how people call it, a maxi-taxi.

The ticket to Mogoșoaia costs 2 lei per way and you buy it from the driver. It’s best to let him know you want to go to the palace so he can point out the station. The reason I’m telling you this is that, being an inter-urban bus, the driver stops also in between stations if people ask him to so you might lose count of where you need to go out.

15-20 minutes after you should arrive at Mogosoaia.

Mogosoaia

 The story of Mogosoaia Palace

The palace was built by boyar Constantin Brâncoveanu at the end of the 17th century, beginning of the 18th century (presumably 1698-1702) making it one of the oldest in this area.

The name of the castle comes from the name of boyar Mogoș, the one who sold the land to Brâncoveanu. Actually, the name comes Mogos’s widow, nicknamed Mogosoaia.

Boyar Constantin Brâncoveanu was the ruling prince of Wallachia at that time and built the palace at Mogosoaia as a summer residence.

He used a combination of Byzantine, Ottoman, Renaissance and Baroque elements to create a unique architectural style called, of course, Brâncovenesc style. You can also find it under names like Wallachian Renaissance or Romanian Renaissance. Typical for this style are the twisted columns sculpted in stone and the shamrock like arcades.

Mogosoaia

Unfortunately Brâncoveanu’s life was cut short (literally) in 1714 when he was beheaded by the Sultan. His wealth, including Mogosoaia Palace, was taken over by the Ottomans who, after some good old vandalizing turned it into an inn.

The nephew of Constantin Brâncoveanu, also called Constantin Brâncoveanu, managed to get back the palace which remained under Brâncoveanu ownership for about another 120 years. After the Brâncoveanus, the palace belonged to the Bibescus- another old and wealthy noble family.

The palace suffered from other vandalism acts during its 300 years of history, the last one happening after the communist takeover in the 1950s when all the art pieces were stolen. But in 1957 the palace became a museum and in 1977 restoration works began.

Mogosoaia

Mogosoaia Palace in the present

Today you can find here a museum of Brâncovenesc art, a conservatory, an event venue, an Italian restaurant, a bunch of summer terraces and a huge green park.

I have to say that the restaurant (with terrace) is rather overpriced and I have no idea if the food is any good. A better option is to bring your own food and drinks and have a picnic on the grass.

It’s also perfect for bike rides, roller blading, badminton, volley on the grass or whatever other outdoor activity you might fancy. Barbecues and dogs are allowed but the rules are very strict when it comes to cleaning afterwards (like they should be).

Mogosoaia

It’s true that I've been there on a Thursday afternoon and the domain was semi-empty but I can imagine that during the week end it is packed with people.

So, is Mogosoaia Palace a must do while in Bucharest? If you are here for a longer stay then definitely yes. Go on a week day if you want peace and quiet or the week end for people watching and barbecuing.

Have you been to Mogosoaia Palace? How did you find it? Did you use public transport or a car? Do share with us your knowledge!

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