Memorial Museum “Nicolae Balcescu”

In 1968, on the Valley of Topolog River, in the village where one can find the roots of the family of the great revolutionary, historian and patriot, a museum dedicated to his memory is being opened, within the building that was proudly donated to the Romanian state in 1948 by Radu Mandrea, in honour of Nicolae Balcescu, meant to be “a place of silence and study”. It is a traditional mansion built in the Gothic style, presenting some influences from the Brancovenesc style, with an area greater than 600 m2, whose construction, carried out in several stages, began in 1824 and ended in 1937. The museum, after being subordinated to Valcea County History Museum, became an independent institution with legal personality since 1991.

The collections of the Nicolae Balcescu memorial include over 15.000 cultural heritage properties, decorative art, Biedermeier furniture, paintings, an archive of inestimable cultural value, different items reffering to Nicolae Balcescu and his family, being an open book to the knowledge of the most genuine representative of a generation who identified himself until merging with his people whom he served with full dedication not only of the soul but also of his life.

The eleven rooms of the main exhibition were divided into two parts: in the first part of the exhibition the Balcesti Boyar House was arranged, where the atmosphere of that particular time is rendered using vintage elegant furniture, Oltenia carpets, Corbi or Curtea de Arges ceramics, some family pictures. In the literary salon, the dining room, Zinca’s bedroom or the offices, one can admire Biedermeier furniture, Venetian mirrors, painted pottery, wrought iron chandeliers, the portraits of Zinca Balcescu, of brothers Costache, Nicolae, Maria and Barbu, or of the successors Zoe Mandrea and Radu Mandrea, photos with family members including Nicolae Balcescu’s successor, Bonifaciu Florescu, the fruit of the relationship with Alexandra Florescu. The splendid stoves of cahle renane will also catch the attention, which were restored in 1937 within the workshops of Vacaresti, following the plans of Radu Mandrea, with different models for each room. The second part of the exhibition presents the life and work of the great revolutionary Nicolae Balcescu, here ancient books and documents, letters and manuscripts, studies published in the “Historical Magazine for Dacia” are being exposed, all of these illustrating the main role of Nicolae Balcescu within the revolution of 1848 in Romanian Country. The documentary centre preserves very rare specimens of Romanian historiography, works on freemason themes and also the Magheru fund. The art exhibition valorises works on historical themes related to the personality of Nicolae Balcescu, but also some creations of the artists participating in the camps painting “Art Campus” and “Rotonda of the Romanian spirit”.

In the mansion’s park there is a wooden church, brought here from Galtofani in 1974, a monument which is more than two centuries old. It is a church made up on a rectangular plan, with altar, nave, narthex and porch. The rustic walls are made out of oak beams closed in dovetail style and the roof is covered in shingle. The last phase of the construction – the porch – is a brick wall. On the inside, the church was painted by a team of painters from the village Schei. It was a place of worship until the late nineteenth century when Galtofani villagers have built another church of concrete. Near the church there are the graves of Sevastita Balcescu (transferred from the local parish cemetery) and of Barbu Balcescu (transferred from the cemetery Sineasca of Craiova).