Originating in Oltenia, the Ştirbei-Bibescu family was one of the most important boyar families of the 19th century, who gave two rulers of Ţara Românească: Gheorghe Bibescu (1842-1848) and Barbu Dimitrie Ştirbei (1849-1853 and 1854-1856).
Owning large estates in Oltenia and houses in Craiova, the Bibescu-Ştirbei families settled in Bucharest towards the end of the 18th century. Their property spread to other areas as well (Prahova, Argeş, Ilfov, Bacău) as a result of matrimonial alliances.
The Ştirbei Palace in Bucharest was built around 1835 at the request of Prince Barbu Ştirbei, as a family residence. In 1849, when the prince was named Ruler of Ţara Românească, the edifice became Royal Palace.
The palace is built in the neoclassical style, according to the plans of architect Michel Sanjouand, the same who supervised the building in Buftea.
In 1881, the building was restored and a tower was added. In this palace, surrounded by splendid lilac bushes, the most spectacular balls of Bucharest were organized. In 1948, the communist regime came into power and confiscated all the properties of Ştirbei family; the palace became a Museum of Folk Art, hosting ceramic and glass collections in its rooms.
Only 20 kilometres away from Bucharest, in the town of Buftea, there is a family property, the Ştirbei Domain, with a palace in the middle. Initially designed as a turret with two exit tunnels, the 1850 construction underwent many important changes over time. Alexandru, the son of Barbu Ştirbei, completed the construction (in 1863), referring to a trendy architectural style in those times, the Tudor style.
The Buftea domain also includes a superb garden, where a splendid chapel with altar and repository was built, the Holy Trinity Chapel. Here there is the tomb of Ruler Barbu Ştirbei,that of his son Alexandru, and of other family members.
In 1920, a Water castlewas built in the domain’s park, according to the plans of architect Anghel Saligni, which besides the utilitarian function also brings along beauty to the architectural plan.
Today, the place is an important event centre that provides modern conditions in an environment full of history, culture and beauty.