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Culture and Creativity

Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest (Romania)

The foyer of the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, Romania

The Romanian Athenaeum is a major Bucharest landmark. It was built by the Romanian Athenaeum Society at the end of the 19th century to host a public library, conferences, classical music concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural-artistic activities as part of its mission to spread culture by any means.

Since 1889, the Athenaeum has been home to the Romanian Philharmonic Society (now the “George Enescu” Philharmonic), founded nearly two decades previously to disseminate musical culture and popularize the masterpieces of classical composers. These cultural societies and their emblematic building are part of the modernisation process in the United Principalities of Romania, declared a Kingdom in 1881 after gaining state independence from the Ottoman Empire at the end of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). 

Hosting concerts by great European composers and orchestras, the Romanian Athenaeum has been instrumental in disseminating European classical music since its creation. Since 1958, the Romanian Athenaeum has been hosting one of the world’s most important classical music events, the "George Enescu" International Festival and Competition, named in honor of the great Romanian composer. 

The Athenaeum also hosts public lectures by Nobel Prize laureates, renowned writers, and professionals from all over Europe, highlighting democracy and European values, and promoting culture and science.