Competing Byzantinisms: The Architectural Imaginations of the Balkan Nations at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900
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The 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, where most of the Christian nation states of the Balkans erected their own national pavilions to resemble what each nation understood as a Byzantine-related national style, was undoubtedly the most conspicuous example of a wider cultural and political phenomenon of Byzantinism that had shaped national self-perception and represenation in the nineteenth century. At the Paris World Exhibition, the Byzantinized pavilions of Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece might be read as constructed images of national identity, with distinct ideological and political functions. Via the “Neo Greek”, “Serbo-Byzantine”, “Bulgarian-Byzantine” or “Romanian-Byzantine” styles, Byzantine architecture became the focus of the Balkan elites who, governed by the already-established patterns of nation-building historiography as well as by Western models of historical interpretation of the past, led the drive to fabricate a distinct image of national culture and to legi...timize nationalistic goals and imperialistic expansionist ideologies.
Keywords:Ephemeral architecture / Nationalism / Imperialism / Byzantium / National identity
Source:Ephemeral Architecture in Central-Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries, 2015, 107-122
- Paris: L'Harmattan