Cismigiu Gardens

cismigiu gardens Cismigiu Park is the oldest and, according to some, the most elegant public garden in the capital city

Cismigiu Park, the oldest and, according to some, the most elegant public garden in the capital city, lies over 16 ha in the center of town. It is close to Dambovita River, Bucharest City Hall, the School of Law, and Gh. Lazar High School, one of the most famous in the country. However, it hasn't always been the oasis of elegance of relaxation of today. Where the park now stands there was a foul pool of water, much larger than the lake of today. When the river Dambovita overran its shores, the pool's level rose. On October 10, 1779, ruler Alexandru Ipsilanti ordered two wells to be dug in Bucharest to supply clean water to the inhabitants. The first of the wells was dug on the place where the garden is now. Water pumps are called 'cismea' in Romanian, and the manager of the garden was called the Grand 'Cismigiu', giving the future park its name. The pool was drained much later, though, in the second half of the 19th century, as we were told by landscaper Alexandru Maxi:


"Several projects were proposed for draining the Cismigiu pool, as early as the beginning of the 19th century. They came to fruition as late as 1843. Around 1843 or 1845, date uncertain, the garden was designed by a landscaper brought from abroad, called Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Meyer. He is the same landscaper who designed Kiseleff Gardens. After Meyer, there have been a number of adjustments to the design, with the most drastic occurring in early 20th century. That is when the axis was redrawn in the shape we see today, the Roman Circle was set up, later called the Writers Circle, alongside the Ruined Citadel at the tip of the axis, the rose garden, the Flower Alley, and the Japanese Garden."


After Meyer's death in 1852, Cismigiu's design was commissioned to other architects and landscapers, mostly foreign, who changed it to suit the era, as well as the changing size of the park. Here is Alexandru Mexi once again:

"When Meyer started managing the park, it extended far towards Dambovita River. Queen Elisabeth Boulevard was drawn up in late 19th century. In late 19th and early 20th century, the park was expanded to the west, where we now have Schitu Magureanu Boulevard. In mid-20th century, the park expanded north, taking over the Kretzulescu Palace garden. Only a few elements are preserved from Meyer's time, such as the plane trees. The central area of the park has a number of very large plane trees. Close to City Hall we have an ash tree dating back to that era, which, unfortunately, does not fare very well."


Meanwhile, Cismigiu itself has become a monument, home to works of art and a special flora. Among the best known features are the two small concrete bridges, the so-called Grand Bridge and the bridge sided with decorations in the shape of twigs, fashioned out of concrete. They span the artificial lake in the middle of the park. Alexandru Mexi told us about other attractions in the park:


"I would also mention the Sissi Stefanidi spring, the brass band pavilion, formerly the Mineral Water Pavilion, and the Monument of the French Hero. There are several statues in Cismigiu, and most of them are part of the national patrimony, listed as historical monuments. There are 20 such objectives, mostly statues, brought to Cismigiu in various eras. This park is on the A-list of historical monuments, being in itself a national, even international monument. This ensemble includes other A-list art monuments. In terms of vegetation, in addition to several centuries old trees, such as the plane trees, we have a number of exotic trees, but also trees that Bucharest City Hall has put on the protected list, such as a number of old chestnut trees."


Cismigiu Park, in accordance with its status as a heritage site, cannot be modified unless it passes a review of a special committee.


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Publicat: 2018-05-12 14:31:00
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