Pimp my Mansion – Ep. 2 – Cantacuzino Little Trianon Palace in Florești

If you ever thought you knew how to live in style and your name wasn’t Ludovic the XIVth, then you have nothing if you would compare yourself with “the Mogul”.

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I mean the guy was so rich that there were jokes on his behalf when he constructed his biggest Palace, in Bușteni, a mountain resort 15 kilometres away from where our King had his “villa”. It is said that during the construction, the Mogul asked the King for the permission to have his new palace covered in gold coins. The King supposedly replied, “Only if you stack them on the edge!”. Rich people jokes.

Coming back to the Palace he tried to construct in Florești, around 20 kilometres from my town, unfortunately for him, a pneumony stopped his final architectural dream. Grigore Cantacuzino, a.k.a. the Mogul was descendant of a noble family in Romania, the Cantacuzinos. So when his grandfather decided that their family “root headquarters” will be in Florești, nobody had anything to comment as you know…rich people, aristocratic families, need roots to justify their lineage and their right to own slaves.

When it was Grigore’s turn to invest in the family “home crib”, he decided to build a really elegant palace for his favourite granddaughter: a Rococo style palace that initially was designed to host 365 rooms, each for one day of the year. It was supposed to be a smaller but more stylish replica of the Trianon Palace and as far as I’ve managed to know the guy (by visiting the rest of his mansions) I’m damn sure that if he lived, he would’ve made 366 rooms just to have a spare one.

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After the death of the no. 1 guy in the family, the children and grandchildren that survived to fight over the inheritance didn’t really manage to move the final dream of the Mogul. That and also the first World War happened. Not easy to invest in a damn Black Hole when the reality around you crumbles and in order to preserve the historical investments you have to donate money and goods to the country’s army. Yeah, well…you could say that the place was unlucky.

After WWI they modified the plans and decided to reduce its size. Unfortunately, that solution didn’t get the job done. After the war money was scarce anyway and the descendants of the Cantacuzinos didn’t see the Palace of their Home Domain as a priority.

World War II came. That was game over for any hope of the place getting ready for the centenary of the Mogul’s death. No place to hold the ceremony in the family heirloom.

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Nazis came around and didn’t take the building easily. They decided to “finish it” fast in order to make good use of it so an improvisated roof was immediately constructed. I do not know what was it repurposed for but I guess that “Rococo style Palace” gets crossed out from the list immediately.

Immediately after Germans finished using it as their shithole most probably, the building was among the first ones to be nationalised after our “brothers from the East” liberated us, from on top of their fucking tanks. If until then there still was, maybe, a glimpse of hope at least to be somehow finished, now its destiny was sealed:

  • whatever other buildings were operational in the heirloom of the Cantacuzinos became a tuberculosis treatment centre
  • the building was totally abandoned and constantly vandalised
  • after that, the only time a Cantacuzino set foot in the yard was when it sold the damn place to the new investor

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Now the whole domain remains nothing more than a passing alley for stray dogs and relatives of the sick on their way to visit. The marble skeleton that still remains in the middle of the place, with its still visible front garden water fountain, is full of scaffolding for years. Still, nothing more than plans and the eventual festivities (some horse festival held by the new owners) are cheering up the place. It will be hard to transform it into anything commercial anyway, with the tuberculosis virus roaming all over the place.

Very close to the place you can find more impressive buildings, built while our people were great but vandalised now, while we are weak. Over the main road from the Cantacuzino domain, you can find the ruins of a great industrial architecture building: The Electricity Factory of Steaua Electrică State Owned Commercial Company. This was made between the World Wars and it is an impressive piece of Romanian architecture with clear influences from post-Victorian-era industrial architecture.

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Now I don’t have clear information about this building but I think that the fact it was put just across the lands owned by the Cantacuzinos was not by chance. I mean, sure, we had different electrical production facilities around the country but as far as I know, this was unique and the architect that built it, built it totally out of the clear lines such a building usually had, back in the days. I want to believe that the Family that lived across the street had something to do with it.

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Maybe in 10 years from now, we will be able to look in admiration to the new owners of the places of beauty our predecessors built and nod our heads in correction.

It is not likely for Little Trianon in Florești. Still, seeing how the marble facade still stands, like in spite of everything, I want to believe a change will come for the architecturally valuable ruins we have…

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