TITLU: The unique nature of Bucharest’s cityscape as a result of Byzantine-Ottoman and Western urban typology fusion
AUTORI: Ioana Streza, Ioana Tudora, Christian Voinescu
TIP PREZENTARE: Articol publicat şi prezentare
PERIOADA: octombrie 2010

This study aims to illustrate how the peculiar cityscape of Bucharest developed under different forms of government, social policies, traditions, which led in time to the fusion of two extremely different urban models: the Western and the Eastern and indeed to the formation of a cultural landscape.

The initial model of urban development was of Byzantine origin over which the Ottoman one overlapped and beginning with the 19 century the Western one. Until this last restructuring, the urban tissue was apparently hectic, with mazy streets, divided into slums (mahalale - from the Arabic term mahalle) by ethnic groups, guilds, households. Slums were formed around churches and integrated as social and commercial area the maidan (from the Arabic term meydan) also borrowed from the oriental world.

 We can compare, on a smaller scale, this first stage of development with the overlapping of the Ottoman city of Istanbul over the ancient Byzantine Constantinople. Beginning with the 19 century, Romania aims to assimilate the Western European culture. This reflects in the lifestyle, arts, architecture, urban development, in one word, it reflects in the landscape.

 Even etymological Europeanization was a noticeable trend: the oriental term maidan becomes piaţa from the Italian piazza and the term mahala becomes cartier from the French term quartier.  A couple of other changes occurred during the last century as a result of modernist and later communist interventions and of course changes still take place today.

 Given all this, the study that is being discussed is set to offer a view on the way Bucharest’s cityscape developed how it presents itself today after all this different, sometimes opposite, interventions and to raise awareness over how it will develop in time without proper management.

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