on December 12, 2005
In 1679, the building of the Cotroceni Monastery began--the location was in middle in the thick forests to the west of the capital. The palace of the ruling princes, attached to the monastery, belonged to it, though the prince had the right to use it as a residence. Works ended around 1682, when the prince dedicated the monastery to the Holy Mount of Athos (Greece). The Cotroceni Monastery was by far not the only one dedicated either to the Mount of Athos or to other Greek monasteries. That is, they actually belonged to the Greek monasteries, together with their entire possessions, which were substantial in most cases. In 1863, after the personal union of Moldova and Valahia through Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the Prince nationalises the possessions of the monasteries on Romanian ground. After this date, the relation between the monastery and the princiary houses changes. The latter become residences with a political character, while the church becomes a simple church of court. Carol I, the first Romanian king, used Cotroceni also as a residence but brought some changes about through the French Architect Paul Gottereau. In 1888, HM gives the Palace to Prince Ferdinand as a permanent residence. In 1940, the palace suffers because of the earthquake. At the beginning of the communist rule in Romania, the Cotroceni Palace belongs to various ministries, becoming in the end the Palace of the Pioneers, a sort of meeting place for children, where they were taught and carried out different activities. In 1984, the church was being destroyed, and 80 square meters of its frescoes are now seen in the Arts Museum of Bucharest. From 1974 to 1985, under the Romanian dictator, the palace underwent vast restoration and reconstruction works. It got a Southern wing that became the presidential residence. This Southern wing is still used as the presidential residence nowadays. Most of the rest can be visited. Taking pictures or filming is not allowed, while mobiles with cameras need to be deposited with all cameras at the entrance.
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