Along Calea Moşilor - where one can see many examples of Belle Epoque architecture - there once used to sit a merchant building in Neoclassical and Gothic Revival style which linked Bucharest’s Inner Town to the bustling Obor Market. With tired palatial doors and a peeling facade in the present-day, the architectural gem whispers tales of prosperous bygone days. This is none other than the Solacula Inn (“Hanul Solacoglu” in Romanian). It is a structure that is in very bad condition today, almost in ruins.
Created in 1859, the Solacula Inn once had luxury carriages entering and exiting through its two large gates. The building’s name and origin can be traced to the Solacoglu Brothers, merchants from the northern Bulgarian enclave of Svishtov who settled in the heart of Wallachia. During the War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire in 1877, Bulgarians found refuge within these walls. It is mentioned in a commemorative plaque by the Bulgarian embassy of Bucharest that Liuben Karavelov, leader of the Bulgarian revolutionaries, lived in this inn on the eve of the Russian-Romanian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 together with many Bulgarian volunteers. As a reflection of the shared aspirations that bound Romanians and Bulgarians as comrades, the quest for liberation against an empire that most countries opposed in this part of the Balkans is breathtakingly symbolic in this stunning building.
Unfortunately, at the turn of the following century, the building’s history is rather turbulent and ugly. In the 1990s, there was an endeavor to reclaim the building from the grasp of illegal inhabitants as well as to restore it. This did not happen, although the inn was then returned to the descendants of the Solacolu families. In 2007 though, the “tenants,” who happened to be Roma families, were discovered to be carrying out criminal activities, especially prostitution, on the premises. This scandal consequentially led to their eviction. Today, the Solacolu Inn is in serious need of maintenance. It can be seen from the outside, but like many buildings in Bucharest, it is wrapped up and under future renovation or reconstruction. It makes for an emotional visit.