Otetelișanu Mansion from Benești

Benești, județul Vâlcea

The village of Beneşti is mentioned for the first time in two documents dating from April 16, 1613. Other documents reveal realities prior to this date, as well as the fact that the Otetelish family owned the estates in this village even before 1600. The mansion was built at the end of the century the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century. Its structure is of a cul-de-sac, with elements from Brancove.

The Benești mansion was built by the Otetelise boyars, a family of great patriots, philanthropists and lovers of national culture. Among them, Ilie Otetelișanu (who, in 1720, founded the church of Saint Ilie in Craiova), owed his heirs "to clothe the poor, to take the debtors out of prison, to feed the sick". Iancu Otetelişanu, who received, in 1845, the direction of the National Theatre, encouraged the creation of an original repertoire in Romanian, supporting the troupe founded by Costache Caragiale.

In this mansion lived the brothers Iordache and Grigore Otetelișanu, great book lovers, who, in 1835, founded together, at their own expense, the first elementary school in the village of Beneşti. In the same year, the two built, with funds from the Epitropia of the Church of Saint Ilia, a primary school for girls, a boarding school based on the Western model, the first school of this kind established in Craiova.

On January 10, 1799, Petrache Poenaru was born in this house, Romanian pedagogue, teacher, engineer and mathematician, member of the Romanian Academy and inventor of the tank holster, patented in Paris and Vienna in 1827. Together with Tudor Vladimirescu, on who accompanied him throughout his Campaign, Petrache Poenaru created, following the French model, the current Flag of Romania and initiated and printed the first Romanian newspaper, which was called "Foaie de Propagandă".

Tudor Vladimirescu also passed by the Otetelișanu Mansion, just a few weeks before he was arrested and killed by Eterie, in May 1821.

Next to the manor there is a small church, founded by the nobleman Barbu Otetelişanu, in 1746. It was designed as a court church, a paradise for the noble court, where the noble watched the service. The place, which also functioned as a necropolis for the lord of the court and his family, still functions today as the village church.

It is not known who designed this mansion, but from the monographs made by historians, it was restored by the architect Iancu Atănăsescu. The Otetelişanu family lived in the mansion until nationalization, after which, during the communist period, it became a museum.