Romanian Athenaeum

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By DonMartini @ 2007-04-12 04:16:42
The Romanian Athenaeum (Romanian: Ateneul Român) is a concert hall in the center of Bucharest, Romania. Opened in 1888, the ornate, domed, circular building is the city's main concert hall and the home of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic and the home of an annual international music festival also named after George Enescu.

The Romanian Atheneum Society was founded in 1865 by Constantin Esarcu, V. A. Ureche, and Nicolae Creţulescu. A portion of the construction funds was raised by public subscription in a 28-year long effort, still remembered today by the slogan "Daţi un leu pentru Ateneu!" ("Give one leu for the Ateneu!").

The building was designed by the French architect Albert Galleron, on property that had belonged to the Văcărescu family. The overall style is neoclassical, with some more romantic touches. The ground floor is an ornate conference hall as large as the auditorium above; the auditorium seats 600 in the stalls and another 52 in loge seating. Above the loges is a frieze and a group of 25 frescoes by Costin Petrescu depicting scenes from the history of Romania. In front, there is a statue of Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu.

On December 29, 1919, the Atheneum was the site of the conference of leading Romanians who voted to ratify the unification of Bessarabia, Transylvania, and Bukovina with the Romanian Old Kingdom to constitute Greater Romania.
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