One of the inns in Bucharest who have enjoyed a great fame in the first half of the nineteenth century is Manuc’s Inn, currently and important tourist and historical monument and the last traditional inn in all Europe.
Its founder, an Armenian entrepreneur named Maniuc Mirzaian or Manuc Bei, was born in 1769 at Rusciuk (Ruse today), where his family, who originated in the Karp village, Ararat region, had settled after leaving Armenia.
According to historians descriptions in local archives, “Maniuc was endowed by nature with exceptional qualities: handsome and majestic, highly intelligent and educated, distinguished and elegant, deeply knowledgeable of people, skillful and shrewd, generous and broad-hearted, speaking twelve languages perfectly, knew to be both courteous and volunteer.
His biggest quality was to foresee the end of things before it occurs; therefore he was never caught off guard and always knew what to do.
He enjoyed being rich and managed to have a huge fortune in money and property. Through its native qualities he served the Ottoman Empire and Russia, when these two powers were at war; these services have been paid not only with titles and letters of thanks, but also with gold.
He died too soon however, at the age of 48, right when he fully climbed scale of success.”
The Russian-Turkish war, which began in 1806, forced led him to settle in the capital of Romania. Protected by Russian headquarters in Bucharest, and applying his merchant abilities and enormous capital he had at its disposal, Manuc Bei decided he had to do something to differentiate the yesterday merchandise. Thus, in the second half of 1806 Manuc Bei began to build the inn that will bear his name.
The construction differentiates itself from the rest of the inn-fortresses in the eighteenth century, by adopting a much less severe and more attractive architecture. From the inner courtyard, broad and monumental stairs are leading you to wooden arcade-carved galleries, with stucco ornaments above and below the doors and windows, with wooden balusters of the bulwarks; the staircase of oriental style represents an element of persistence and equilibrium.
Featuring a totally innovative architecture which does not follow the patterns of those times, the building is described as being composed of basement, ground and first floor. In the basement there are 15 vaulted cellars, 23 shops on the ground floor, two large lounges, ten huts, 16 rooms for the servants and cooks, four side rooms and a tunnel that can hold about 500 people. The upper floor has 107 rooms, most of them being used for guests.
In the middle of the courtyard paved with river stones there used to be a café with all its outbuildings and a garden with a lovely fountain.
The historical importance of Manuc’s Inn is mentioned in the international historical archives, for at least one important event hosted here: during the Six-Year War between the ottoman and the Russian Empire, which took place between 1806 and 1812, Manuc’s Inn had hosted for five months the Russian and Turkish plenipotentiaries who signed the Peace of Bucharest, which eventually ended the war.
After the end of the Russian-Turkish War, Maniuc moves with his family in Bessarabia. Remoteness caused him to start proceedings for selling the inn, but he died in uncertain circumstances before having found a buyer and the fate of the inn entered a period of nebula being affected by earthquakes, among others.
After decades of uncertainty and prevarication, the inn was bought by Lambru Vasilescu who turned, repaired and renowned and renamed it “Hotel Dacia”. The reopening of the inn that went by the name “Grand Hotel Dacia” was finally announced in 1874.
The two large halls of the Inn started being used for high-life parties of the Romanian capital socialites and important cultural and political figures and for various class events.
Here, at Hanuc’s Inn took place the discussions regarding the entry of Romania in the First World War, while hosting several meetings of political parties.
During the Communists era, the inn managed to survive the demolitions imposed by Ceausescu, thanks to several negotiation tumbling, and it turned into a nationalized institution which was a part of the catering establishment circuit.
With a history of over 200 years, Manuc ‘s Inn had suffered several changes and is still going through an extensive process of restoration and historic rehabilitation.
A local legend says that Manuc’s ghost is still haunting and place, giving friendly pieces of advice to the workers and cooks regarding how to prepare good quality food.
The Inn of Manuc is still one of the most popular places in the Romanian capital, being preferred for its idyllic atmosphere – which preserves the mark of its vast history -, for the traditional menu and excellent service, for the interesting and imposing architecture and the beautiful courtyard, always crowded with people during the warm season, and for the bohemian parties that always take place.
Photo source Picture 1: romaniidinjurulromaniei.ro; Picture 2: restograf.ro; Picture 3: citybest.ro; Picture 4: hanumanuc.ro; Picture 5: hanulluimanuc.ro; Picture 6: spatiulconstruit.ro; Picture 7: commons.wikimedia.org