The CEC Palace, built in 1900 opposite the History Museum, is the headquarters of the national savings house C.E.C., nowadays called CEC Bank on the land formerly occupied by the Saint John the Great monastery and an adjoining inn.
The palace was built as a new headquarters for the public savings institution Casa de Depuneri, Consemnaţiuni şi Economie, later known as C.E.C. Romanian: Casa de Economii şi Consemnaţiuni), the oldest Romanian bank.
The construction works started in 1897, an event attended by King Carol I and Queen Elisabeth themselves, and the building was inaugurated in 1900. Paul Gottereau was the architect in charge with the design, and he successfully lent a prominent French Renaissance style to the building, such that at present the C.E.C. Palace is, without overstating, one of the most graciously beautiful buildings in Bucharest. The work of Paul Gottereau was complemented by the contribution of Ion Socolescu, a Romanian architect in charge with the execution of the works. The palace is, beyond all doubts, a jewel which complements the architectural patrimony on Calea Victoriei.
A unique feature of this structure refers to the glass and metal dome (the main dome, and the largest of all the other cupolas which overtop the four corner sections of the building) set on top of the main hallway. The overall picture of the C.E.C. Palace exudes, first and foremost, elegance and balance. The interior of the palace is embellished with pictorial works by Mihail Simonide. However, its aesthetic qualities aside, the C.E.C. Palace is said to feature one of the most solid bearing structures of all the buildings in Bucharest, a reputation put to test, amongst others, during the 1977 earthquake, when the glass dome was the only element affected, with little and insignificant damage to the rest of the building.
By now you must be absolutely mesmerized by the architecture, stories and hidden corners of Bucharest and have not realised you are now standing on the Romanian Champs Elysees – Victory Avenue.
HOW TO GET THERE
Address: Calea Victoriei 13
61, 66, 69, 70, 85, 90, 91, 336, 601 from University Square
104, 123, 124, 385 from Unirii Square
Night bus: N110, N115, N116