The CEC Palace, known in the past years as the Palace of the Romanian Savings Bank, is one of the most imposing buildings in Bucharest, located on Calea Victoriei.
The headstone of the CEC Palace was laid on June 8th, 1897, before King Carol I of Romania and Queen Elisabeta, on the place that, until 1875, had hosted “Sfantul Ioan cel Mare” monastery and rest house.
The building was finished in 1900 following the plans of architect Paul Gottereau with end of the 20th century French architecture specific elements. A large part of the materials used to build the CEC Palace are Romanian: the mosaic in the central hall and the staircase are covered in marble from the Dobruja, the façade and main entrance are made of massive stone from the Dobruja, and the chandeliers and the baseboard of the stairs were made in Bucharest.
The construction holds five glass domes, four of them displayed on the corners and one in the middle, having not only an aesthetic but an acoustic role as well, given that the sound propagates vertically, so that whatever conversation held at the counters could not be overheard by the others. The counters were operational for almost 100 years, from 1900 until 1999.
The most beautiful and most elegant hall of the CEC Palace was and still is the Council Hall that kept its initial assignation up to the day. With an 8-metre height, the hall is decorated with sculptured wainscot and panels covered in green silk. The hall was painted by Mihail Simonidi, a Romanian painter of Greek origin.
Today, the CEC Palace hosts the headquarter of the CEC Bank and CEC Museum, where the items displayed render the historical evolution of this building. The CEC Palace is one of the most impressing building in Bucharest, and its architecture, by comparison to that of other buildings, did not suffer from the wars or earthquakes throughout time.