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 History of Palace of the Patriarchate

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PostSubject: History of Palace of the Patriarchate   Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:02 am

The earliest information about the hill on which the Palace would be built dates to about 1650.[1] At that time, Dealul Mitropoliei, later Dealul Patriarhiei, was covered in grapevines owned by the country's voivodes, with others belonging to the Metropolitanate's monks. The idea of placing the seat of legislative power in the middle of a religious complex was not mere coincidence, but has its roots in customs of the period. According to these customs, the Metropolitan was ex officio president of the boyars, the only citizens with the right to vote, when assembled in formal session. Moreover, it was necessary to have the seat of legislative power on the hill because by tradition, the Metropolitan could not leave his residence. Consequently, the practice of organising legislative meetings at the Metropolitanate became entrenched, so that part of the monks' cells were transformed into a building that could accommodate official legislative sessions.
Commemorative plaque located on the palace fa├žade. It reads: "In the old assembly building on this site the electoral assembly met under popular pressure in 1859, electing Alexandru Ion Cuza prince of Wallachia on 24 January and achieving union in this way."

In 1881 the old building, which had housed the princely divan, was repaired and refurbished. To this structure, which originated in the modified monastic cells, was added an amphitheatre similar to that which would soon be found in Berlin's Reichstag building. The amphitheatre was large, well-decorated, spacious, and had two sets of private viewing boxes and a gallery. The deputies attended meetings in a session hall, seated in a semicircle; in front of them was a speaker's platform, to the right of which was the ministers' bench.[1]

The building was open for public visiting only at hours when the legislature was not meeting, following an agreement won by a bureaucrat working there. Romanian citizens could attend legislative sessions only if a deputy signed their entrance ticket; foreign citizens needed a signature from their country's embassy.

In 1907, the former princely divan building was replaced with the present-day palace; Dimitrie Maimarolu was the architect.

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