ROMANIAN ATHENEUM

Ateneul    Roman

The Romanian Atheneum Society was founded in 1865 by Constantin Esarcu, V. A. Ureche, and Ncolae Cretulescu. A portion of the construction funds was raised by public subscription in a 28-year long effort, still remembered today by the slogan "Dati un leu pentru  Ateneu!" ("Give one leu for the Ateneu!").

The building was designed by the french architect Albert Galleron on property that had belonged to the Vacarescu family. The overall
style is neoclassical, with some more romantic touches. The ground floor is an ornate conference hall as large as the auditorium above; the auditorium seats 600 in the stalls and another 52 in loge seating. Above the loges is a frieze and a group of 25 frescoes by Costin Petrescu depicting scenes from the history of Romania. In front, there is a statue of Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu.

On December 29, 1919, the Atheneum was the site of the conference of leading Romanians who voted to ratify the unification of Bessarabia, Transylvania, and Bukovina with the Romanian Old Kindom to constitute Greater Romania.