Coltea Settlements (1888)
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The Sword Bearer Mihai Cantacuzino, great Christian and philanthropist, and also a scholar of his time who studied humanist disciplines in Padua, Italy, erected at his expense, between 1695-1698 a stone church, and later established around it a monastery, a belfry, a school and a hospital.
The Coltea hospital was the first great hospital in Romanian Principalities, and has been functioning uninterruptedly ever since. Coltea Hospital sheltered and treated the wounded of the Independence War (Plevna) in 1877, of the war for Cadrilater region (Southern Dobrudja) in 1913, of the Great War for Reunification (1916-1918), of Don Bend and Tatra Mountains’ battles in 1940-1944. To this hospital were brought nearly all the young men injured in the Romanian Revolution in December 1989.
The hospital building, recently restored, dates from 1888, being among the first edifices rebuilt after the proclamation of the Kingdom. Unfortunately, the very same year the City Hall decided the demolition of what might have been today the emblem of the city, the Coltea Tower. The tower had sheltered the church’s bell and served as a fire watchtower, since it was the tallest building in Bucharest. In the 18th and 19th century, the romantic, Gothic style Coltea Tower, was the pride of the city, much admired by travellers visiting Bucharest. Despite many protests from the city’s inhabitants, the Mayor of the time decided on the demolition of the tower which, already dilapidated after repeated earthquakes, was preventing the widening of the boulevard that was going to be the North-South axis of the city.
The fine statue of the founder Mihai Cantacuzino, the oldest monument of this kind in Bucharest (1869, sculptor Karl Storck), stands next to his church. It is worth noting that Mihai Cantacuzino is also the founder of the renowned Sinaia Monastery.
Coltea Church (1699) is among the most beautiful churches in Bucharest and a representative monument of Brancovan art.