Romanian Athenaeum

sights / Architecture

Romanian Athenaeum information

Bucharest , Romania
Str Benjamin Franklin
admission 7.50 lei
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The exquisite Romanian Athenaeum is the majestic heart of Romania’s classical music tradition. Scenes from Romanian history are featured on the interior fresco inside the Big Hall on the 1st floor; the dome is 41m high. A huge appeal dubbed ‘Give a Penny for the Athenaeum’ saved it from disaster after funds dried up in the late 19th century.

Inside, the peristyle is adorned with mosaics of five Romanian rulers, including Moldavian prince Vasile Lupu (r 1512–21), Wallachian Matei Basarab (r 1632–54) and King Carol I (r 1881–1914). It was built in 1888, and George Enescu made his debut here in 1898, followed five years later by the first performance of his masterpiece, 'Romanian Rhapsody'. Today it’s home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra.