Call over time: Personalities that invite you to Dolj
Dolj gave and raised, through the years, great scientists and people of culture, who have changed, the lot of them, life as we know it. We are actually wondering how everything would have been without them here, but also over the borders or even in the whole world. The answer is always identical: it wouldn’t have been the same.
The examples are many and resounding, but we have chosen to introduce to you a select few that had massive contribution to the areas in which they have been active. Thanks to them, Craiova looks different, and their inheritance, whether we find it on the streets we walk on or in our hearts, will last for a long time. We invite you to (re) meet eleven of them, in a list that it is not a top. Because, if we could, we'd put everyone in first place.
One of the most important contemporary writers, we owe to Mr. Sorescu the famous verse "Craiova seen from the cart is the most beautiful city in the world". The man was deadly serious. Contemporary Romanian literature would not have looked the same without him, and many foreigners have known him for a long time, because his work has been translated into dozens of languages. From poetry and dramaturgy to prose, Sorescu managed to leave an incredible heritage in Romanian literature, which he blessed with a unique style. The National Theater in Craiova bears his name and his memorial house is located in Bulzeşti, the place he was born, at a 30-minute drive from Craiova.
Many know the famous soprano thanks to the Romanian Opera Craiova which, until a few years ago, held her name. What many people do not know is that she was titled by the great Giuseppe Verdi as the first European voice of all time. Born in Craiova, she was the first singer in Romania to set foot on the stage of Teatro alla Scala in Milan. She continued, over the years, to make us proud all over the world. And when she returned home, she did her best to revive the theater that later on carried her name. In her honor, the International Festival "Elena Teodorini" exists for over 15 editions in Craiova, and is meant to carry on the beautiful lyrical art of Romania's first diva.
If you’ve ever heard of an automatic gearbox in a car, you must know that you owe that to George Constantinescu. Or Gogu, as he was called. Born in Craiova, his name is closely related to The Theory of Sonics, whose developer he is, and implicitly, to motors, pumps, hammers and sonic drills. He helped the English build the Bristol-type planes and he has around 400 patents for his inventions. We also need to thank him for The Constanța Casino, The Periş Water Castle, the bridges over Siret at Adjud, Răcătău and Roman, for the Patriarchal Palace, the Athenee Palace Hotel, but also for the "Carol I" Mosque in Constanţa. These are just a few of the buildings he built using reinforced concrete, Constantinescu being among the first people to use this material in Romania. And, frankly, we would not have done much without reinforced concrete. Thank you, Gogu Constantinescu!
We got so attached to both of them that we do not know who was the first one: Amza Pellea or Nea Mărin. Just joking! Amza Pellea is our dear actor, the true oltenian from Băilești, who has completely changed the face of Romanian cinema. He gave us Nea Mărin and Michael the Brave, Decebal or Horatio from Hamlet and many others and we cannot deny him this: thanks to Amza, the zaibăr (black, oily and tasty wine from southern Dolj) and the leek grew to be famous. Exactly in Băileşti, annually, the Festival of Zaibăr and Leek is being organized, and it begins, how else, with a visit to Amza’s house. That’s so we don’t forget where everything started.
The Sanitary School in Craiova bears his name, and not without a reason. Born in Cernele, close to Craiova, the renowned physician has laid the foundation for sanitary education, thanks to which, we have to admit, we have learned what prevention means and how to put it into practice. By what he has implemented, he managed to fight coal epidemics, diphtheria, in the meantime his work of fighting malaria being recognized. The whole country has applied his ideas, because he set up a school for health workers and wrote a regulation that has been copied by other schools across the country. In World War I, he was an ambulance chief and treated soldiers of typhus in a special pavilion set up and led by him. Thanks to Laugier, today, we are all healthier.
One of the most important and distinguished American film directors came from Craiova. Jean Negulesco, as he was also know, worked with resounding names of the American filmography, such as Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, Richard Burton or Sophia Loren. Throughout his life, he collaborated with Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers Studios, Universal Studios, and 20th Century Fox, managing to leave his own mark on film art. In Craiova, a historical monument cinema from the middle of the nineteenth century, now private property, bears his name.
Dolj has given great minds, and one of them is Nicolae Vasilescu-Karpen’s. The inventor of the Karpen’s Pile, which operates exclusively using the ambient heat, has performed pioneering work in the fields of elasticity, themodynamics, electrochemistry and civil engineering. According to the president of the French Physics Society, I. Solomon, Vasilescu-Karpen "invented the combustion shaft half a century before people would reach the Moon thanks to it". We should also thank Karpen for talking on the phone. He proposed, for the first time, the use of high-frequency currents for long distance cable telephony. And that happened in 1909!
Alexandru și Aristia Aman
Husband and wife, brother and sister-in-law of painter Theodor Aman, him - a magistrate, her - a philanthropist, were the ones who founded some important cultural institutions in Craiova, which we are proud of today. If we have the chance to visit the Art Museum or Oltenia’s Museum or if we read a book in the impressive "Aman" Library, which is named after them, this is due to their financial contribution and not only to the cultural life of Craiova. The Aman spouses have donated their fortunes to the city for which they have lived all their lives, to the support of cultural life and to the benefit of the less fortunate.
Not by accident, we have kept two places for some of our dearest ones, who are not from Dolj, but who have grown to be. For everything they offered to Craiova, to Dolj and to the whole country and world - what we can never give them back – they highest pedestals.
Constantin Brâncuși, originary from Gorj county, said that in Craiova he was born for the second time. The Arts and Crafts School in the capital of Dolj, where he studied for a few years, today bears his name. The greatest Romanian sculptor, with unimaginable contributions to the plastic language and vision of contemporary sculpture, can still be traced today, through seven of his original works, in the Art Museum from Craiova. In the same museum’s courtyard is built, today, a tribute-museum, unique through its unique aesthetic expression, which will be called the International Center "Constantin Brancusi".
Last but not least, we can’t end this list without the ones who managed to lift up the spirits on entire stadiums and who have brought the most beautiful colors in the world, white and blue, on the highest heights. We’re talking about the members of the football team Universitatea Craiova – Craiova Maxima, who brought home the trophy of the Romanian Championship, the Romanian Cup, but also the "title" of the first Romanian football team ever in the semifinals of the UEFA Cup . The golgeter from that time, Ion Oblemenco, has given the name of the impressive stadium in Craiova, inaugurated two years ago.
Their stories are bigger than this, and they are many, many more. Over time, for longer or shorter periods of time, through Dolj passed Sadoveanu, Macedonski, Maiorescu, Farago, Coșbuc, I.D. Sîrbu and many more. On their paths, we’re waiting for you to meet them at home, in Dolj.