Short history of Cismigiu Garden
I am glad to write about Cismigiu Garden, one of the most beloved places in Bucharest.
220 years old, this year, Cismigiu is one of the oldest gardens in Bucharest. It is 17 ha large and it lays downtown Bucharest. The history of this park begins in 1779 when
prince Alexandru Ipsilanti, bored with the continous floods of the Dambovita river and being sick and tired of the epidemics that followed every flood, ordered that during
raining days the installations of Bucharest should have clear water brought with great
expense from far away.
In these circumstances the prince built two fountains, one in the Boiangi Street and the
other one next the Sarindar Monastery. After 200 years the so called Eminescu's spring is
the remaining of one those fountains. The place where now lies a wonderful park used to be almost 2-3 hundred years ago the property of a wealthy merchant called Dura and it was a large place called garden because of the trees. In the middle of the garden it was a
lake swamp by the Dambovita's waters. Backside prince Ipsilanti's fountain a house
was built for the man in charge with the work, called after the Turkish custom Suiulgi-basa or the Great Cismigiu, but his real name was Dumitru. Dura gave the plan to the Sarindar
Monastery and the prince Ipsilanti could begin his work.
The Great Cismigiu started his work being helped by other craftsmen. The swamp was large, filled with frogs and rush and it was sought as a refuge by the thiefs and robbers,
who found a good hiding place on an island in the middle of the lake.
Only in 1830 the earl Pavel Kiseleff ordered to baron Borroczyn to do everything he could to drain the swamp and to transform it into a garden useful for the city. The drain works began in 1837, but in 1840 architect Fraiser realised that it was necessary to change the course of the Dambovita river before anything else.
That's why in 1844 the drain works began and then the prince Gheorghe Bibescu hired the scenery artist Friederich Wilhelm Meyer to create an English garden instead of the swamp.
Unfortunately Meyer died in 1852 at the age of 38 by typhoid fever. But in the same year Cismigiu Garden was officially opened.
Meyer's work was continued by the Swiss horticulturalist Louis Leyvraz (1863), the botanic
professor Mr. Hofman and many after. During the winter the lake was used as skating rink. In Cismigiu Garden a zoological garden was also placed that lasted until the late 50's.
During the 30's Cismigiu got another interesting place: Monte Carlo restaurant, famous for its dancing music. In our days Cismigiu lost something of its aristocratic air but is still one of the most popular and beloved spots in Bucharest.
Sent by Irina Vasilescu from Bucharest.
01/24/06 - Valentina Cuadrado