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The Romanian Literature Museum
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MLR Building
Scarlat Cretzulescu House - architectural monument, 1839

The house which shelters at present The Museum of Romanian Literature was built by Alexandru Villara, an important Minister of Internal Affairs, and was given as a dowry to his daughter Elena Villara on her wedding day (She married a nobleman of the time named Scarlat Kretzulescu). Being one of the wealthiest men at that time, Alexandru Villara, had built a grand house, bigger than the royal palace. When he became the owner of the house in 1839, Scarlat Kretzulescu – a man of refined taste – began the restoration of the house. He ordered in Paris iron grades for the grandiose staircase at the entrance, as well as lattice work for the balcony, he had the parquetry redone enriching it with ornamental patterns worked in rose wood. He bought refined furniture, china and silverware, he had the walls redecorated with French and Italian Paintings, he had richly sculptured bookcases installed and filled their shelves with priceless books. He also had the garden of the house arranged, as well as the greenhouse in which there were pomegranate and lemon trees and oleanders, he had rare species of flowers and trees planted. All this gave a princely air to the place. In 1853 Elena Villara dies. Until 1874 when Scarlat Kretzulescu dies too, the house had been an attraction for the upper crust of Bucharest. The balls, the parties offered by the hosts aroused admiration and envy. The house was left by will to Constantin Kretzulescu, Scarlat Kretzulescu’s brother. Because he lived in Paris at that time Constantin Kretzulescu asked Ion Ghica, his cousin and in-law, to arrange the selling of the house. Until 1885 the house was rented, and from that year on it became the property of Baron Frank, the manager of Bank of Romania. Later on the house became the property of the state and its destination changed: The Electricity Laboratory of Bucharest University was settled there. After 1945 the building changed its destination again and became the location of The Romanian and Russian Museum. From 1970 on the house became the main premises of The Museum of Romanian Literature, the storehouse remained in Kiseleff Street. After the earthquake in 1977 the archives were moved in the building situated in Dacia Boulevard No.12 (the former Foundation Street No. 4). The wing of the house, which had been destroyed during the war, was built again. The building was renovated and restored entirely between 1991-1997 according to the original architectural drafts.

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