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Queen Marie of Romania. Regina Maria on Facebook

Queen Marie's tree house, Sinaia, the Transylvanian Alps (Valentin Mandache)

Queen Marie’s tree house, one of the just a handful of follies ever built in Romania, Sinaia, the Transylvanian Alps, early 1900s, old postcard (Valentin Mandache collection)

This post has initially been published on Valentin Mandache’s weblog: ‘Historic Houses of Romania’

The building follies are creative expressions of rich aristocrats and other wealthy people in developed countries having fun erecting on their property interesting symbolic structures, not primarily destined for habitation, resembling buildings from story tales or from far away exotic lands. In Romania, endemically a less developed country, the follies, are a very rare occurence and one such example was the tree house built following the suggestions of Queen Marie (Romania’s English queen, born Princess Marie of Edinburgh, granddaughter of Queen Victoria) sometime around 1900, when she was a crown princess and hence the name “Princess’ Nest” given to this folly. It resembles a Swiss chalet and had three small rooms (two receptions and a kitchen) together with a balcony and was built within the grounds of the Pelesh Royal Castle in Sinaia in the Transylvanian Alps. The house became a well known curiosity and was visited by royal guests at the Romanian court at that time (the crown prince of Germany, emperor Franz Josef, etc.) unfortunately the tree house did not survive long and was destroyed in a storm shortly after the First World War. The image above is from an old postcard published in its times of glory, in the first decade of the 20th century. ©Valentin Mandache