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Vasile Cotovu Complex, HârșovaCod 1188

Vasile Cotovu Complex consists of two monuments: the former school and housing of the principal. The building was built under strict supervision of the architect Anghel Saligny, its  inauguration being attended by the King Charles I himself, and its rooms have housed the first library and the first regional museum of Dobrudja.

The complex Vasile Cotovu from Hârşova was built during the early twentieth century upon the initiative of the illustrious teacher Vasile Cotovu, son of Ioan Cotovu and observed, such as the church behind it, the architectural plans of Anghel Saligny. The inauguration on 1st  May 1904 of  the building was performed with volleys of cannon and royal presence. The museum institution on the Danube bank has also an unique element: it is the only museum from Romania opened in different historical periods and circumstances, by three kings. Thus, the Museum from Hârşova was inaugurated on 1st  May 1904 by King Carol I and Queen Elizabeth, who were taking a trip on the Danube, together with the Royal Family and Government members. And so, there were also opened the doors of an impressive state school that had 8 huge classrooms, four  for girls and just as many for boys, teachers’ room and outbuildings. It also housed a school library with 5.000 volumes, and a museum with 15.000 pieces, not just archeological. It was considered then the first regional museum of Dobrudja. After World War I, the complex suffered great damages, and the museum was moved to the teacher’s house. Vasile Cotovu has restored the old collections, has gathered new pieces and has reopened the museum in his own house,  it operating in this location also during the  interwar period.

During the year 1926, King Ferdinand and Queen Marie attended the reinauguration of the museum, and the local authorities and people honored the event with a marble plaque, that was placed on the gable of the building. During the early years of communism, Vasile Cotovu died, and the museum was closed, his house becoming an annex of the school in the city and the marble plaque was covered with mortar. The old school operated until 1962, then it was converted into a boarding school of  the  highschool in the city, and eventually it was closed.

The architectural complex can be seen from the cliffs that cover the banks of the Danube, being not only the cultural emblem of Hârşova city, but also of the entire Dobrudja.

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