Manuc Bei’s Palace is located in the south of the city of Hincesti on a slope with a northern orientation. It can be reached by climbing the palace steps, which are located in the foothills. This building is the only example of a dwelling house in the complex that can be assigned to the category of “palace”.
It is a two story, oblong building with rooms located in succession. The northern facade has three levels due to the landscape of the land the palace was built on. The architecture is in the spirit of French classicism with the presence of polyhedral volumes (polygonal in the plan), with large gaps in the windows and loggias, and is lined with arcades. The
Palace has terraces with balusters and niches in the wall thickness to install statues; it also has high roofs, which serves to emphasize the axis of symmetry.
The construction of the palace took place in the second half of the 19th Century, in 1862, and is a gem of an example of architecture executed in the Italian Renaissance style. The designer of the project, the famous architect Alexander Bernardazzi, has unique buildings present in several countries in Europe. The partner for the project was Ivan– one of the sons of Manuc Bei Mirzaian. In the palace one can also enjoy the sight of a large fountain. The Palace rooms were made in European, Turkish, Armenian and Moldovan styles. The walls were decorated with paintings of the most illustrious European masters. He also had created a large library with many rare and precious books. Additionally, the dome of the palace was illuminated by electricity.
All of the buildings were connected by enclosed glass tunnels and also with underground passages. These routes were kept underground until now and pass under all of Hincesti. They were meant for evacuation in case of a siege of the mansion.
In one of the halls one would have found a gallery of paintings where there was exhibited the works of European artists of high caliber, including paintings by I. C. Aivazovschi (Ogan Aivazian).
Historians assume that the palace walls were painted by I. C. Aivazovschi. Other sources tell us that a famous but unconfirmed marinist would prepare cards, after the interior of the Armenian Church was painted. Currently investments are made to find the truth.
Similarly, literati assume, the great Russian poet A. S. Pushkin, while in exile in Bessarabia, visited Manuc Bei’s mansion several times, since he was good friends with Manuc Bei’s bridegroom – Christopher Lazarev (Lazarean).
In the Soviet era, the mansion was used as the location of the Tehnicum of Mechanization (1949-1956), and then the College of Construction (1956-1991), which was later relocated to a new building.
Originally written by: Tudor Plăcintă
Translated and edited into English by: Matthew Hundemann