The BNR Palace (Palace of the National Bank of Romania) is, most certainly, a unique presence in the architectural landscape of Bucharest. First of all, the palace is said to be the safest building in the city, meaning it benefits from a solid bearing structure unparalleled by any other edifice in Bucharest. Secondly, it is one of the landmarks which directed the development of the old district of the city, being, in fact, the most imposing historical building in the area delineated by the Lipscani Street.

As institution, the National Bank of Romania was founded in 1880, and given its rapid development and crucial role on the financial scene of the country, it soon faced the necessity of finding a headquarters able to accommodate the amplitude of the specific operations carried out by the bank. The project of building a new headquarters dates back to 1882, but the construction works started one year later, being completed in 1890, despite the fact the frontispiece of the bank mentions 1889 as the year when the works were concluded. The palace sits on the site of yet another historical building, namely, the former Hanul Şerban Vodă (Prince Şerban Inn), the first inn in Bucharest, pulled down after the approval of the project of constructing the new headquarters of the bank.

The works took so long due to the fact each of the steps of the project and of the construction proper was carefully analyzed, and their approval was the object of long debates. All in all, at present, the BNR Palace is a monumental structure with prominent French Renaissance touches, which is no surprise, in fact, taking into account the architects commissioned to design the edifice were trained, from a professional point of view, in Paris, at Ecole de Beaux Arts. The inside of the palace matches its outer grandeur, with painted walls comprising works by Nicolae Grigorescu, Eugen Voinescu and G.D. Mirea. The BNR Palace also shelters the Museum of the National Bank of Romania.

The only downside, so to say, regarding the palace refers to the unevenness between the massiveness of the building and its immediate surroundings. The crammed narrow streets in the historical district of Bucharest are hardly the ideal set for this building the architectural contour of which would have breathed better, so to say, in the open ample set of a monumental square.

BNR Palace (Palatul BNR)
25, Strada Lipscani, Bucharest, Romania

25, Strada Lipscani, Bucharest, Romania

Go to top