Few cities have as many secrets among the back streets and alleys that Romania’s capital, Bucharest. A few steps to the side of one of the city’s main streets is all that is required. Suddenly it’s completely quiet and stuffy. Here is the passage that housed Bucharest’s oldest brothel and more.
This dark and narrow passage was built by the jeweler Joseph Resch in 1855. Joseph was well off and worked as a jeweler for King Carol the first. Jewelry business lasted until 1875. The memory of Joseph Resch craftsmanship lives on today in the form of old military medals from Romania that are popular in collector circles.
The building was then abandoned for 10 years. Then started the contractor Grigore Eliade a hotel. During transformation to a hotel, the construction workers added a through-passage. The hotel was named the English Hotel. But business was not brilliant, because of the competition from the many new hotels in central Bucharest.
The year when the transformation to a brothel started is not known, but any major transformation was hardly needed. Several rooms and balconies were already on spot because of the earlier hotel business and probably the brothel started parallel with it
The advantages of the brothel placement made the concept successfully. Thanks to the narrow entrance directly from the main street Calea Victoriei, the more noble people of Bucharest could inconspicuously sneak in and out. On the balconies were the prostitutes who showed up and offered their services.
One of the most famous customers was the Romanian King Caroll II. The brothel continued to operate until 1947 when the communist regime made prostitution illegal.
Today there are a lot of small shops, homes and a really shabby pub selling beer for 50 cents per bottle.
The brothel also served as the atmospheric setting of the movie Dracula II: Ascension, a sequel to Dracula 2000.