Long ago, there was a moment in time when Calea Victoriei Road wasn’t Victory Road, but Podul Mogosoaiei Road, a time when the city was embellished with oriental aromas, gentlemen in top hats and ladies in elegant gowns, strutting along Little Paris boulevards in beautifully adorned carriages.
Then, when La Belle Epoque was the present and not a faraway glance of a past, our story unravels its course. No. 56, across the road from The National Theater, where 19th century travelers could find Grand Hotel Broft, a small stylish hotel built after the chic fashion of Parisian hotels.
Hotel Broft had become one of the meeting points for Bucharest’s elite and aristocracy particularly due to its french elegance allure so wildly appreciated by those times’ Romanian society. Prince Napoleon was also among the most famous guests, Napoleon the Third’s cousin, on a diplomatic visit with Carol First of Hohenzollern. And the renowned French merchant Jobin was hosted at the Broft, his mark on the fashion world of those times being so powerful that even to this day, Romanians call the top hat that he brought from France- a joben.
Grand Hotel Broft and 56, Podul Mogosoaiei Road have played a symbolic role in modern Romania’s history. At the end of the Russo-Romanian-Turkish war, coinciding with the defeat of the Ottoman troops at Plevna in 1877, Osman Pasa, the leader of the Ottoman army, was held in apartment 104 before being deported to Russia. An old tale tells us that during the victory march, when Prince Carol the First’s troops were passing along Podul Mogosoaiei Road, Osman Pasa saluted Carol from his apartment’s window.
That march would leave its mark on Bucharest’s history, changing the name of its most important boulevard into Victory Road (Calea Victoriei), name it carries even today.