The Casino

The casino is located in the historical center of the city, on the cliff of the peninsula, in the vicinity of “Regina Elisabeta” Boulevard. It is considered to be one of the most emblematic buildings of Constanta. In the area where it stands today used to be, between 1880 and 1902, a wooden construction, a “cazino” as it was called back then. The “cazino” represented a marvelous place for theater shows, balls, and was great tourist spot.

Sadly, in the winter of 1901, a heavy storm destroyed parts of the roof and the wall of the facade, thus highlighting the instability of the construction. In January 29  1902, the demolition of the construction was approved by the local council at the request of the local experts. In April 1902, the mayor Alexandru Belcic decided, through a verbal process, to organize the site in its own regime for the demolition of the “cazina”. In its place,in 1904, the building of another more modern casino with facilities similar other similar European buildings at the time began.

At the time of the inauguration, the local press was unhappy and criticized both the length of the works, as well as the appearance of the final result. The “Conservatorul” newspaper described it as an “ugly behemoth decorated with all kinds of nozzles, [which] from the point of view of architectural aesthetics, leaves very much to be desired, [because of] their complete asymmetries and the Babylonian mixture of styles”, and also “a monument erected in honor of ill-will and bad taste.”

On December 21, 1909, engineer Elie Radu and architects Ion Mincu and D. Maimarolu were asked to move to Constanta, in a commission meant to study the casino from all points of view. The result of the inspection was materialized by an important document containing the well-sustained opinions of prestigious personalities at the time. The observations concern the required addition of several spaces: a large room for the restaurant,a kitchen fitted with all the required tools, a restaurant that will be connected to the terrace behind the glazed door, which will not obstruct the wide open perspective on the sea. It was also suggested that the stairs of honor be enveloped by spectacular arch. Furthermore, the addition of entrances, changing rooms, and toilets was needed. The restoration and modernization of the Casino were carried out in 1934. The casino was further restored in 1986 by a group of plastic artists. The casino received fresh baroque paintings, a better structure and stained glass windows. The works lasted one year.

Immediately after the Revolution, the edifice is handed to the Ministry of Culture, which at the suggestion of Professor Mihai C. Bacescu (who got inspired by the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco) proposed a scientific rededication of the building. It was supposed to become the headquarters of a “Romanian Oceanographic Institute” which was in accordance with the plans of Grigore Antipa (the founder of the former Bio-oceanographic Institute of Constanta).Thus, the new international institution would have grouped together the Romanian Institute for Marine Research, the Marine Zoological Station created by Dr. Ioan Borcea and the Natural Science Museum Complex. Unfortunately, the cost of renovation, and  the hassle of restructuring the institutions ended both the plans of the Romanian oceanographers and the wish for custody of the Ministry of Culture. After a few months, the casino returns to its previous function: being restaurant and entertainment venue. In present day, sadly, the Constanta Casino is in an advanced state of degradation. The building is closed in order to avoid accidents and robberies. Although there are funds allocated for its renovation and rehabilitation, unfortunately, the miserable and petty interests of some organizations or economic entities lead numerous delays and interfere with workers doing their job.

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