Ionel Pleșia House, today the Omnia French Library
Monument / Architectural attraction
The Ionel (Iancu) Pleșia House is an architectural monument of the late 19th century in Craiova, located in the historical center of the city, near the former Victoria Store. An architectural jewel both on the outside and the sumptuous interiors, Pleşia House is hosting the headquarters of the Omnia branch of the National Library of Romania.
Ionel Plesia House was built between 1890-1892 in an eclectic style of neoclassical predominance at the façade and neo-baroque at the interior. The architect is unknown, but the impressive building is supposed to be the work of the Frenchman Albert Galleron, who also designed in Romania the Romanian Athenaeum and the Palace of the National Bank of Romania in Bucharest, the Constantin Vălimărescu House in Craiova, the Dimitrie Ghika Palace in Comăneşti and numerous boyars' houses in Bucharest and the province. According to other sources, the Ion G. Pleșea houses were built in 1905 following the plans of the architect Iohan Goetz.
The building was seized in the 1950s by the Romanian state. After the seizure, the building had different purposes. In September 1989, a conference presided by Zoia Ceaușescu was held in the Mirrors Hall of the Pleșia House and, fascinated by the beauty of the building, she would have proposed to Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu to turn it into their third residence in Craiova (along with the Barbu Drugă House and the Jianu House). Apparently, an investment of 2-3 million lei was immediately approved for the preparation of the house in order to begin the redevelopment, which lasted until December 1989 when the works were stopped by the coming of the Revolution.
After the fall of the communist regime, upon receiving a fund of books donated by the EquiLibre Association and following countless petitions from a group of people of culture in the city (Marin Sorescu - editor-in-chief of Ramuri magazine in Craiova), Craiova City Hall provided a space for their hosting at the ground floor of Pleșia House. This is when the prestigious cultural institution, which is today the French Omnia Library, was set up. On May 25, 1990, following the order signed by Andrei Pleșu, then Minister of Culture, the Omnia Library became a subsidiary of the National Library of Romania. The official inauguration of the library took place on July 23, 1991, in the presence of prestigious guests, personalities of the cultural and political life of Craiova, from the country and from abroad. Since 2000, the building has returned to the patrimony of culture following a Governmental Decision.