Monday, 31 October 2011

86 Bucharest

We searched the internet for places to see in Bucharest, bearing in mind that we have visited so many churches and other landmarks that they are blurring into one big mass. TripAdvisor did not come up with much so we selected what was available and despite approaching the place with an open mind, we were very dissapointed.  The city has no soul. Unlike other cities that have a seedy old town centre that tourists and residents alike flock to for an evenings entertainment or to see old architecture, this place lacks that completely. An extract from their own tourist web site offers an explanation:

.............. Bucharest had taken significant damage from the Allied bombing during World War II and the earthquake of March 4, 1977. However, neither of these events changed the face of the city as much as the redevelopment schemes of the 1980s, when eight square kilometres (about the size of Harlow) in the Old Historical Centre of Bucharest were leveled, including monasteries, churches, synagogues, a hospital and a noted Art Deco sports stadium. Some 40,000 people were evicted with only a single day's notice to make room for the construction of these Stalinist apartment buildings topped with neoclassical follies.

The photo below is a Google Earth screen shot of one of the residential tower block systems put up by Ceausescu. This place does not even have borough names like Tottenham, Chiswick or Grenwich. Instead it has sector numbers. The photo shows "Sector 2".
The Bucharest borough of Sector 2. The area is an urban disater. So bad that it is included in the 3D part of Google Earth. Tottenhams Broadwater farm is not !

This city has serious problems in the tourist attraction depertment. The mix of old and new has not been well addressed with some buildings having both. On top of that the infrastructure is a complete mess, with the wiring around the city all hanging down like a scene from a western tornado movie.

Museum of Romania

Good and bad side by side.

Modern day architect on drugs.

It was not all  bad

This defied belief. It was everywhere. Hanging in the streets and most of the lamp posts. It was a complete mess.

To balance all this bad news up somewhat, the people have been fantastic. They have all been courteous and helpful whenever we have had the chance to interact. For example: We attended the "Revivals Memorial" where there is a monument to all those who lost their lives in the 1989 uprising. Whilst there a man came up to us (we were obviously tourists) and gave us a short history of the overthrow of Ceausescu. He went on to explain that the log heads that made the path, were different sizes as that denoted the victims, ie, the men were large log heads, the children small and women were the middle size.  He also went on to state that although Ceausescu was gone, the country was still ruled by communists, only the name had changed to "the Social Democrats". (SDP)
Revivals memorial. The block behind is where, from a window, Caeusescu saw the scale of the demonstration outside. He was so shocked that he and his wife took a helicopter from the roof but were captured soon after. Days later they were executed immediately after their two hour trial on Christmas day.

Half  finished or half destroyed - who knows ?

Even these beautiful buildings were daubed with huge gaudy adverts.  People live in the flats behind these banners.

This was a nice touch though. An open air, second hand book market. It was huge.

Originally the "Peoples Palace". Built by Caeusescue, presumably called so as it was paid for by them. This is the second largest, by floor area, office buildiing in the world. Only beaten by the pentagon.

Opposite is the biggest kids playground in the world. (Joke)

The day was rounded off with a couple of large Jack Daniels and a beautiful sunset.

No comments:

Post a Comment