As old as the 17th century, the Cotroceni complex in Bucharest has its beginning tied to the local prince Serban Cantacuzino who built it, west of Bucharest, between 1679 and 1681. Standing out within the complex, which is today the residence of the president of Romania, were the church, similar to the episcopal church in Curtea de Arges and the palace, built according to baroque architecture, typical of the Western Europe civilization of the time.

The complex was modernized during the rule of Prince Barbu Dimitrie Stirbei, who in 1852 establishes the Cotroceni gardens, one of the largest in the capital. French architect Paul Gottereau built the princely palace between 1893 and 1895, redone after 1977. A new wing was added to the palace at the same time, hosting today the headquarters of the Romanian presidency.

Through time Cotroceni served as residence for the local princes. In 1895, the newly built palace was meant for Ferdinand de Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. After the 1918 union, Queen Marie left her mark on the palace, with various improvements bearing her artistic vision.

Those visiting the Cotroceni can get the opportunity of finding out more not only about the many landmark events in local history that took place here but also see its many and varied parts. These include the old royal cellars, the pavilion, the annexes of the palace (the garage, the gardener’s house), the military buildings, the chapel, the royal train station, several funerary monuments and the extensive gardens. All in all, plenty of history on site, the only residence in local history that kept its initial purpose for such a long time.

The museum is open Monday to Sunday, from 9.30 to 17.30. Visits can be made only with previous appointment, in groups of maximum 15.

Photo source: Wikipedia