Şuţu Palace


It was March 29, 1832 when the commissar of the Red District of Bucharest replied to Postelnic (Minister of Foreign Affairs) Costache Grigore Suţu with an approval to resume the "works on the surrounding wall of the garden You have begun to raise." Symbolically speaking, this was the birth certificate of the edifice that would be known later as Suţu Palace.Architects Johann Veit and Conrad Schwinck were commissioned to erect the great palace. The partnership between the owners and the builders, albeit not lacking in tension and conflicts, legal ones included, was completed in 1834. Built in Neo-Gothic style, with four little polygonal towers, two on each lateral side, north and south respectively, Suţu Palace is remarkable through its roomy interior, the effect of a dome similar to the one at Goleşti mansion.The edifice was constantly embellished, such as in October 1836, when Costache Suţu ordered Austrian master Eser a splendid brass chandelier with 24 candleholders, identical to the one at New St. John church.The inspired resolution of the central hall, achieved in 1862, is the work of Karl Storck, a prestigious sculptor and decorator. He opened a new arcade, created a monumental pronged staircase, and attached a beautifully framed Murano mirror onto the front wall. Above the mirror the wood-carved medallion of Irina Suţu, the owner's wife, can still be seen today.The second half of the 19th century was the most glorious for the palace. Grigore Suţu (1819-1893) and his wife Irina, daughter of prominent banker Ştefan Hagi Moscu, took constant care of both the building and the surrounding park. They added the iron-pillared marquee to create an elegant entrance platform.The impressive park around the palace extended as far as the former site of St. Sava church, and one could see in the garden pelicans, pheasants, peacocks and a beautiful fountain that reminded – at a smaller scale – of those at Versailles. Indeed, the splendor of the palace was acknowledged, admired and envied by the whole Bucharest high society.Italian journalist Roberto Fava, who traveled to Bucharest at the end of the 19th century, mentioned among the remarkable private properties the Brâncoveanu, Suţu, Ghica and Stirbey palaces.In the first three decades of the 20th century, the palace was assigned various roles that impaired on the edifice and its surroundings. However, it also witnessed important historical events. During the German occupation in World War I, it served as a residence to General Tulff von Tscheppe und Weidenbach, the governor of the occupied territory. He organized a gala lunch on New Year 1918 in the room that presently hosts the museum conference hall. On that occasion, a historic discussion took place between Field Marshal August von Mackensen and Romanian Minister Alexandru Marghiloman on a quick peace agreement between Romania and the Central Powers.Ten years later, the building became the headquarters of BucharestCity Hall. In his study on the right of the great balcony hall, Mayor Dem. I. Dobrescu signed the resolution that opened the way to the first permanent exhibition of the MunicipalMuseum.Headquarters of Chrissovelony Bank (1932), Savings Bank (1942), and Construction Institute (1948), Suţu Palace partially regained its old look after the 1956-1958 restoration works.On January 23, 1959, the day before the anniversary of the 1859 Union of the Romanian Principalities, the HistoryMuseum of the Municipality of Bucharest was inaugurated in a new configuration.Suţu Palace seems to have recovered its natural destination. Erected out of love of gracefulness, it is today the repository of the most valuable reminders of Bucharest's past.

by Ionel Ioniţă