Casa Mita Biciclista: Bucharest’s Iconic Historical Villa, from Courtesan Glamour to Cultural Hub

A grand villa located in the heart of Bucharest has been making a splash for quite some time now, especially around the winter holidays, due to its impressive Christmas decorations with exquisite ornaments and breathtaking lights. We are talking about Casa Mita Biciclista/Mita the Biker’s House, situated somewhere in Piata Amzei, in the Piata Romana-Victoriei area of Bucharest.

The house, classified as a historical monument, was reopened last year and reentered the city’s cultural circuit. This historical residence, now transformed into a cultural space, quickly became, since its reopening, a point of attraction for locals and foreign tourists alike.

A century ago, this imposing building in the heart of the capital served as the residence for the famous courtesan Mita Biciclista. Built in 1908, according to the design of architect Nicolae Mihaiescu, the Casa Mita Biciclista provides a glimpse into the opulent past of early 20th-century Bucharest.

With its 26 rooms and an area of 1,400 square meters, this architectural gem represents a symbol of an era of elegance and refinement. At the age of 23, Mita Biciclista became the mistress of this exceptional house. However, in the early 1940s, due to financial difficulties, she was forced to rent out most of the building. This marked a period of change for the house that once hosted lavish parties and social gatherings.

Today, Casa Mita Biciclista has officially reopened its doors to the public and has become a venue for important events such as exhibitions. It also offers a day bar for socializing, and free-entry parties are held on weekends.

On the occasion of December 1st, 2023, Casa Mita Biciclista was adorned with decorations and lights. Additionally, the exhibition “Monica Lovinescu: The Voice We Were Given” can be visited on-site.

Casa Mita Biciclista in Piata Amzei was built in the early 20th century, in the neobaroque style with an Art Nouveau façade. After communist nationalization, the building remained abandoned until it was returned to the heirs of Maria Mihaescu.

Subsequently, the building was sold to a real estate developer who began a process of consolidation and partial restoration. It was then sold to the current owner, who made it available to cultural NGOs.

But who was Mita Biciclista?

Maria Mihaescu, known as Mita Biciclista, was born in 1885 in Didești, Prahova County, into a modest family. Her story began with an unexpected proposal from a German plumber working for her mother, suggesting that she participate in the international cycling tour on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Her win was attributed to the fact that the leather on the carriage whip was adorned with flowers, turning the event into a memorable spectacle. Rumors about Maria Mihaescu’s beauty and charm quickly spread, sparking the interest of prominent figures. It is said that King Manuel of Portugal asked for her hand in marriage, and she was even rumored to be the mistress of King Leopold of Belgium and King Ferdinand I, who gifted her the beautiful house in Piata Amzei.

Regardless of her romantic connections, Mita Biciclista became a well-known figure in Bucharest, defying the conventional norms of the time by riding a bicycle. She is said to be the first woman to cycle dressed in pants in Bucharest, a revolutionary gesture in the 1920s.

George Ranetti, a journalist enamored with Mita Biciclista, gave her the famous nickname “Mita Biciclista” in 1898. Engaged in the highest political circles of the time, Mita Biciclista organized artistic events in her house in Piata Amzei.

With servants, carriages, a coupe car, and dinners at Athenee Palace, Mita Biciclista lived a life of luxury and eccentricity. She bathed dressed only in a bikini, a revolutionary act for that era. However, Mita Biciclista’s downfall coincided with the onset of communism. Only marrying in 1940 to General Alexandru Dimitrescu, wartime economic troubles forced her to maintain her lifestyle by renting out the house in Piata Amzei, while she took refuge in the attic.

With the establishment of communism, the house was nationalized, and her last significant source of income disappeared. Mita Biciclista died in poverty at the age of 83.

bicycleBucharestCasa Mita BiciclistaChristmascourtesancultural hubcyclingMaria Mihaescupiata amzeivilla
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