Bucuresti: Macca – Villacrosse Passage


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The Macca-Vilacrosse Passage is a fork-shaped, yellow glass covered arcaded street in central Bucharest. Câmpineanu Inn once stood in the place nowadays occupied by the passage, in Doamnei (= Princess) neighborhood, partly neighboring the Mogoşoaia Bridge. The Inn was bought in 1831 by Petros Serafim, the Bucharest French Consulate’s translator (dragoman), and his brother Ioan Serafim. After the Chief Architect of Bucharest, Xavier Vilacrosse (a Catalan architect between 1840 – 1850 who had followed the French school) married Polixenia, the daughter of Petros, the inn owner (1843), the couple received the inn as a wedding present, renaming it with the architect’s name. Petros Serafim divided this estate as dowry between his daughters Polixenia and Anastasia, married with Xavier Villacrosse, state’s architect between 1837-1841, and, respectively, with furrier merchant and liberal politician, Mihail Macca. Toward the end of 19th century it was demolished, being replaced by a two-stories-high, ornate structure, in the style of Western passages. The passage designed by architect Felix Xenopol was completed in 1891.

 

The two narrow streets making up a two-tined, fork-like shape were covered with a glass roof, allowing the entry of natural light while providing shelter from the rain. The ground floor was meant for shops, while the rooms on the first floor were for rent. One branch of the passage was called Vilacrosse, while the other one was called Macca, after Mihalache Macca, the builder’s brother-in-law. The two-tined end opens onto Calea Victoriei, one of Bucharest’s main avenues; the other end opens toward the National Bank in the historic Lipscani district.

 

The land in front of Meitani House (today the Prefecture of Police) on Victoria Street has been sold to the Philarmonic Society, who wanted to build in this place a Philarmony Palace. The land was bought later by a Hungarian entrepreneur who built here the Hotel Stadt Pesht with nine rooms upstairs and downstairs with a large coffee shop, a restaurant and a café-chantant, of which Gh. Crutzescu notes in his volume “Mogoşoaia Bridge” that “it was the meeting point of all lively women and «jeunesse dorée» in Bucharest. During the winter, in a long, low hall, and during the summer in a garden that was situated between today’s passages and where Hungarian and German «artists» sang and performed”.. Still used until the end of the century under the name of Villacrosse Inn, this was however demolished being replaced with a complex of modern buildings and among them were built covered passages as those existing in other European cities (like Milano). Since the center of the complex was occupied by the Pesht hotel and the owner refused to sell, the passage was constructed with two wings around the two sides of the hotel, in elongated U-shape, covered with yellow glass for protecting it from rain and to provide it with natural light.

 

The Macca-Vilacrosse Passage hosted the first Stock Exchange House of Bucharest, before a larger and more appropriate structure was built. Between 1950 and 1990 the passage was called ”Jewelry Store Passage”, but the initial name was restored afterwards. Today it hosts several indoor/outdoor eating establishments, including an Egyptian-themed bar/restaurant, the Blues Cafe, a bistro, a Chinese restaurant, a few oriental cafes with water pipes and Turkish coffee and a wine bar.

Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse este un pasaj in forma de furculita, cu arcade acoperite cu sticla galbena, aflat in centrul Bucurestiului. Hanul Câmpineanu se afla odata in locul ocupat in prezent de acest pasaj, in mahalaua Doamnei, invecinandu-se partial cu Podul Mogoşoaiei. Hanul a fost cumparat in 1831 de Petros Serafim, translatorul Consulatului Francez din Bucuresti (dragoman), si fratele sau Ioan Serafim. Dupa ce Arhitectul Sef al orasului Bucuresti, Xavier Vilacrosse (un arhitect catalan intre 1840 – 1850 care a urmat cursurile scolii franceze) s-a casatorit cu Polixenia, fiica lui Petros, proprietarul hanului (1843), cuplul a primit ca dar de nunta acest han, si l-au denumit dupa numele arhitectului. Petros Serafim si-a impartit proprietatea ca zestre intre cele doua fete ale sale Polixenia si Anastasia, prima casatorita cu Xavier Villacrosse, care a fost si arhitect al statului intre 1837-1841, si, cea de-a doua, casatorita cu negustorul de blanuri si politician liberal, Mihail Macca. Spre sfarsitul secolului 19 hanul a fost demolat, fiind inlocuit de o cladire cu doua etaje, cu ormente ale structurii, in stilul pasajelor occidentale. Pasajul proiectat de arhtiectul Felix Xenopol a fost finalizat in 1891.

 

Cele doua strazi inguste alcatuiesc un mic Y, in forma de furculita cu acoperisul acoperit cu un tavan de sticla, permitand patrunderea luminii naturale in timp ce asigura adapost impotriva ploii. Parterul a fost destinat pentru magazine, in timp ce camerele de la primul etaj erau de inchiriat. O ramura a pasajului a fost numita Vilacrosse, in timp ce cealalta a fost numita Macca, dupa Mihalache Macca, cumnatul constructorului. Cele doua capete inguste se deschid in Calea Victoriei, una din arterele principale ale Bucurestiului; celalalt capat se deschide catre sediul Bancii Nationale a Romaniei in centrul istoric Lipscani.

 

Terenul din fata Casei Meitani (in prezent Prefectura Politiei) pe Calea Victoriei a fost vandut Societatii Filarmonice, care a dorit sa construiasca in acest loc un Palat al Filarmonicii. Terenul a fost cumparat mai tarziu de un antreprenor ungur care a construit aici Hotel Stadt Pesht cu noua camere la etaj si la parter cu un coffee shop mare, un restaurant si o “café-chantant”, despre care Gh. Crutzescu nota in cartea sa “Podul Mogoşoaei” ca “era punctul de intalnire pentru toate femeile de viata si «jeunesse dorée» din Bucharest. In timpul iernii, intr-o sala lunga si scunda, si in timpul verii intr-o gradina care era situata intre cele doua pasaje care exista in prezent, si unde “artisti” unguri si germani cantau sau interpretau scenete”.. Inca utilizat pana la sfarsitul secolului sub numele de Hanul Villacrosse, acesta a fost oricum demolat fiind inlocuit cu un complex de cladiri moderne iar intre acestea a fost construit pasajul acoperit urmand modelul pasajelor existente in alte orase europene (cum ar fi Milano). Deoarece centrul complexului era ocupat de hotelul Pesht iar proprietarul refuza sa vanda, pasajul a fost construit cu doua aripi in jurul hotelului, in forma alungita de U, acoperit cu sticla galbena pentru protectia impotriva ploii si pentru a asigura patrunderea luminii naturale.

 

Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse a adapostit sediul primei Burse din Bucuresti, inainte ca o constructie mai mare si mai corespunzatoare sa fie ridicata. Intre 1950 si 1990 pasajul a fost numit “Pasajul Magazinelor de Bijuterii”, insa numele initial a fost restabilit ulterior. In prezent adaposteste cateva resturante incluzand un bar/restaurant tematic egiptean, Cafe Blues, un bistro, un restaurant chinezesc, cateva cafenele orientale cu pipe de apa si cafea turceasca si un bar de vinuri.

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