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Monday, 12 May 2014

A Passage And TheYellow Tulips

Dear friends,

Today we will have a small history lesson combined with some more StreetArt photography coming from the set of pictures I took while I was having a short vacation home in April. So stay put and let me tell you more about what I saw back home - pictures included ;) The pictures below are taken in a hallway of a block of flats, near Piata Unirii and they are an effort of a few students from the Academy of Arts, in Iasi.
The paintings depict the Palace of Culture combined with several other well know structures for the people in Iasi + the ending of a tram, all done in a brown-red color. That is one side of the hallway. The other side is much more colorful and it shows Alexandru Ioan Cuza with his wife, Elena Cuza, and one of our great rulers Stefan cel Mare - and another lady but to my shame I could not recognise her at all... but let me tell you of Alexandru and Stefan  instead ;)
Alexandru Ioan Cuza (anglicised as Alexander John Cuza; 20 March 1820 – 15 May 1873) was Prince of Moldavia, Prince of Wallachia, and later Domnitor (ruler) of the Romanian Principalities. He was a prominent figure of the Revolution of 1848 in Moldavia. He initiated a series of reforms that contributed to the modernization of Romanian society and of state structures.
Assisted by his councilor Mihail Kogălniceanu, an intellectual leader of the 1848 revolution, Cuza initiated a series of reforms that contributed to the modernization of Romanian society and of state structures.
His first measure addressed a need for increasing the land resources and revenues available to the state, by "secularizing" (confiscating) monastic assets in 1863. Probably more than a quarter of Romania's farmland was controlled by untaxed Eastern Orthodox "Dedicated Monasteries", which supported Greek and other foreign monks in shrines such as Mount Athos and Jerusalem (a substantial drain on state revenues). Cuza got his parliament's backing to expropriate these lands. He offered compensation to the Greek Orthodox Church, but Sophronius III, the Patriarch of Constantinople, refused to negotiate; after several years, the Romanian government withdrew its offer and no compensation was ever paid. State revenues thereby increased without adding any domestic tax burden.
The land reform, liberating peasants from the last corvées, freeing their movements and redistributing some land (1864), was less successful. In attempting to create a solid support base among the peasants, Cuza soon found himself in conflict with the group of Conservatives. A liberal bill granting peasants title to the land they worked was defeated. Then the Conservatives responded with a bill that ended all peasant dues and responsibilities, but gave landlords title to all the land. Cuza vetoed it, then held a plebiscite to alter the Paris Convention (the virtual constitution), in the manner of Napoleon III. His plan to establish universal manhood suffrage, together with the power of the Domnitor to rule by decree, passed by a vote of 682,621 to 1,307. He consequently governed the country under the provisions of Statutul dezvoltător al Convenției de la Paris ("Statute expanding the Paris Convention"), an organic law adopted on 15 July 1864. With his new plenary powers, Cuza then promulgated the Agrarian Law of 1863. Peasants received title to the land they worked, while landlords retained ownership of one third. Where there was not enough land available to create workable farms under this formula, state lands (from the confiscated monasteries) would be used to give the landowners compensation. Despite the attempts by Lascăr Catargiu's cabinet to force a transition in which some corvées were to be maintained, Cuza's reform marked the disappearance of the boyar class as a privileged group, and led to a channeling of energies into capitalism and industrialization; at the same time, however, land distributed was still below necessities, and the problem became stringent over the following decades – as peasants reduced to destitution sold off their land or found that it was insufficient for the needs of their growing families.
Cuza's reforms also included the adoption of the Criminal Code and the Civil Code based on the Napoleonic code (1864), a Law on Education, establishing tuition-free, compulsory public education for primary schools (1864; the system, nonetheless, suffered from drastic shortages in allocated funds; illiteracy was eradicated about 100 years later, during the communist regime). He founded the University of Iași (1860) and the University of Bucharest (1864), and helped develop of a modern, European-style Romanian Army, under a working relationship with France. He is the founder of Romanian Naval Forces.
Elena Cuza (June 17, 1825 – April 2, 1909), also known under her semi-official title Elena Doamna, was a Moldavian-born Romanian noblewoman and philanthropist. She was princess consort of the United Principalities and the wife of Alexander John Cuza.
The daughter of postelnic Iordache Rosetti (a high-ranking boyar of the Rosetti family, she was also closely related to the Sturdzas and other families of boyars. Born in Iaşi, she married Cuza in 1844 — their relationship soured soon after, as Elena was not able to bear a child. However, she later raised as her own children his two sons by his mistress, Elena Maria Catargiu-Obrenović.
She remained, however, very devoted to her husband in their public life, and was responsible for securing his flight from the country in 1848, after Prince Mihail Sturdza began arresting participants in the Moldavian revolutionary movement. They returned after the start of Grigore Alexandru Ghica's rule, but Elena suffered from depression after Cuza began engaging in adulterous affairs and left for Paris, France until 1853. After her return, she became almost completely estranged from her husband, who kept as his mistress Elena Maria Catargiu-Obrenović, the mother of Milan Obrenović (future Prince of Serbia).
Elena left for Paris and remained there until 1862, long after the ad hoc Divan had elected Cuza ruler; she had been persuaded to do so by the writer and political figure Vasile Alecsandri, who tried to extinguish the scandal provoked by Cuza's marital neglect. As wife of the head of state, she became noted for her charity work (the building of the Elena Doamna Asylum in Cotroceni, Bucharest) and adopted orphans, including the illegitimate children of her husband — Alexandru Al. Ioan Cuza and Dimitrie Cuza; Elena Cuza took over, furnished, and maintained the private residence in Ruginoasa, Iaşi County, and was responsible for the Neo-gothic style of its decorations.
During the coup d'état against her husband (February 22, 1866), she was isolated in her apartments by the conspirators, who burst in on Cuza as he was spending the night with Maria Catargi-Obrenović. Both she and Maria joined Cuza in his European exile. After her husband's death in 1873, she took care of their children, and lived to see the death of her two adoptive sons (Alexandru, was the husband of Maria Moruzi - she was later married, for just one day, with the National Liberal leader Ion I. C. Brătianu, and gave birth to the historian and politician Gheorghe I. Brătianu).
Stephen III of Moldavia (also known as Stefan the Great, Romanian: Ștefan cel Mare, or Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt, "Stefan the Great and Holy"; 1433 – July 2, 1504) was Prince of Moldavia between 1457 and 1504 and the most prominent representative of the House of Mușat.
During his reign, he strengthened Moldavia and maintained its independence against the ambitions of Hungary, Poland, and the Ottoman Empire, which all sought to subdue the land. Stephen achieved fame in Europe for his long resistance against the Ottomans. He was victorious in 46 of his 48 battles, and was one of the first to gain a decisive victory over the Ottomans at the Battle of Vaslui, after which Pope Sixtus IV deemed him verus christianae fidei athleta (true Champion of Christian Faith). He was a man of religion and displayed his piety when he paid the debt of Mount Athos to the Porte, ensuring the continuity of Athos as an autonomous monastical community.
Now to conclude this short history lesson I leave you with some lovely tulips I found in Iasi. They are all curly and happy and they smiled to me as they were reaching toward the warm sun. They told me not many people come to pay their respects at their beauty, but me and my mum dropped by and gave them a smile :)

Yours truly,
The LadyBug That Loves StreetArt/History/Tulips :)