Regio UE GR MDRAP focsani fonduri-ue

“Maior Gh. Pastia” Popular Athenaeum


Location: Unirii Boulevard
“I sacrifice all my savings collected for 40 years and the frontispiece shall bear the name “Popular Athenaeum Maior Gh. Pastia” leaving me without any other advantage, everything is done by me for the nation and its culture” (Major Gh. Pastia – on Popular Athenaeum).
Designed to be a multifunctional space and an economic, cultural support of the communal theatre “Maior Gh. Pastia”, the Popular Athenaeum emerged in 1926 through the generous donations made by the philanthropist Maior Gh. Pastia from Focsani; who due to his desire to establish locally an institution which could cover fully the cultural needs of the community offered to Focsani the amount of 4 million lei.
The building should have accommodated inside several halls with various features, among which were stipulated: a cinema hall, a library, meeting space for the Cultural League and museum hall.
After a thorough analysis, the city (on 17th of May) agreed to build-up such an establishment on a land situated in Liberty Square (currently Union Square) with a slight extension to the Public Garden, up to the Macri property barrier.
On July 31st, the local council, under the planning agreement no. 9804 offered the project to architect Simion Vasilescu in Bucharest, assigning the monitoring role to the architect Fr. Hamel
On May 29th, the ceremony of the foundation act took place. At this event, besides the local community, three government ministers also participated: Octavian Goga, dr. Petre Groza and Ion Petrovici. Inspired by Major’s generosity and his desire to popularize the cultural act, Octavian Goga, in his speech, presents the Popular Athenaeum as “a temple of light and culture, whereas Major Gh. Pastia an educator of the masses, I bow before His Lordship. I am pleased that I am today in front of such a man.”
The Athenaeum construction shall be completed by 1937 and entered among the cultural storeyed buildings (basement, ground floor and first floor). The basement houses the cellar and the warehouse, while the ground floor contains the auditorium and the stage that is marked by a semi-circular arch being decorated with vegetal motifs in stucco. Upstairs the access is made through two-sided staircase towards a hall connected to the balcony of the performance hall and three rooms located above the entrance.
Despite his efforts, Gh. Pastia, failed to see the finality of the construction undertaken by his donation due to some litigations between him and the council, he departed this life in 1929 on 15th of October.
“Of the 4.2 million that shall be paid from the sale of houses in the Ghergheasa street no. 63 provided in the act of donation for this purpose, valued at 916,000 lei. I exceeded by far the amount that I donated. Therefore, I kindly ask the taking over of the Athenaeum building, with all the materials, clearing me out from any liability that I leave to the Communal Council. I do this for several reasons: firstly, because I was deeply offended by the attitude of the current communal council, whom, whenever they had the opportunity they have rejected my righteous complaints. Then, in order to dispense to me, especially now in my old age of all the nuisance I created to myself, thinking that I was making good things by sacrificing all my energy and savings. I do not want to see at the Athenaeum as well, this painful show for me, that I am now witnessing at the Communal Theatre …”
Currently, the building itself houses the concert and the performance hall, being a favoured place for the vintage ambience and excellent acoustics; the music festival “Florentin Delmar” is one of the many music events hosted by the halls of the Popular Athenaeum.