The Black Eagle Palace is the most spectacular secession style architectural achievement in Oradea, Romania.
The story of the Black Eagle Palace is linked to the new urban development vision of the city, given the reorganization of the Small Square (St. Ladislau Square), today Union Square. In 1714, on the site of the building located at the intersection of Independence street (strada Independenței) with the Square, there was a one-storey venue, called the Eagle Inn or the Town’s Beer House.
The old inn hosted most of the city’s major public events: balls, meetings, theatre shows or political events. Until 1761 it was only a small building with three rooms that accommodated the town hall. Then, in 1807 it was rebuilt, extended and it was added another floor, and after a second modification, in 1835, it became an important hotel in the city.
In 1903 the City Hall started a design competition for the reconstruction of the Eagle Hotel. Three projects were awarded out of 13 that were submitted. In November 1907 the building was already covered, and it was finished in December 1908. The reception was made on 16th of November 1908, and the festive opening took place in 1909.
The building was located on two street fronts, with a high ground floor and four floors, made of two bodies connected by a glazed passage. The main façade on Union Square (Piața Unirii) is asymmetrical, consisting of two large, unequal bodies, that reveal the secession style. The glazed passage was inspired by the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan and connected three streets. The stained glass in the centre of the passage, with a flying eagle over green hills was made after the completion of the construction (1909) in Neumann K.’s glass workshop as an emblem of the architectural complex.
All the details and symbols were paid a great attention. However, the floral curvilinear style of the Berlin secession makes some concessions to a rather eclectic vision, with neo-baroque nostalgias, highly appreciated in that time. The ornaments are mounted on all interior elements (ceilings, vaults, windows, doors, paneling, railings, walls, columns, stained glass).