March 5, 2016

2351 ROMANIA (Prahova) - St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Ploieşti

First church dedicated to St. John the Baptist was built on the site (at that time located on the town's outskirts, now in city's center) in the years 1810-1811. Being small and apparently of wood, after 30 years in the years 1840-1841 was erected in its place a brick building, slightly larger. In the early interwar period the authorities decided to erect a monument in memory of the heroes of the WWI, but also a cathedral appropriate for a city found in economic and cultural flowering as it was Ploieşti.

The two ideas were united in 1923 and thus was decided to be erected a monumental belfry for the church St. John the Baptist, as a triumphal façade, following that afterwards the old church to be replaced by a real cathedral. The project was entrusted to the architect Toma T. Socolescu, who created what can be see today: a 59m belfry in Neo-Romanian style, with Byzantine influences. The building materials used were brought from places where Romanian soldiers fought in WWI: stone blocks from Oituz, bricks from Mărăşeşti, and gravel from Doaga and Şuşiţa Valley.

Work began in 1923 and lasted until 1939, because of the economic depression. Due to the height, impresed at that time, the priests were afraid lest the building to collapse, so that the architect, in order to dispel fears, after concrete structure was completed, ordered to begon the settlement of the bricks from top to bottom, ie starting with the tip. The start of the WWII thwarted the building of the cathedral itself. Fortunately, despite the massive Allied bombardment which has undergone Ploieşti in 1943 and especially in 1944 due to its oil refineries, the cathedral didn't suffered any damage.

During communist times, the construction not only wasn't  resumed, but the belfry was even intentionally masked toward the center of the city by an apartment building, known to locals as Seven Floors. Not until 2006 started the build of the cathedral, architect in charge being Călin Hoinărescu. Socolescu's plans haven't been found, but the extension of the church to the proportions of the monument is done after some copies and sketches of the architect, who died in 1960. Unfortunately, the work was halted again, due to financial problems.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Flowers’ Clock I, about which I wrote here.

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Ploiesti - details and images - Direct Booking
Catedrala Sfântul Ioan Botezătorul (rom) - Arhiepiscopia Bucureştilor
Catedrala Sfântul Ioan (rom) - Republica Ploieşti

Senders: Dănuţ Ivănescu and the Romanian postcrossers who participated to the first train traveling Postcrossing meet-up which held between Bucharest and Ploieşti on February 29, 2016
Sent from Ploieşti (Prahova / Romania), on 29.02.2016
Photo: George Avanu / 2013

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