More than 4 months after the fact, this is the beginning mega reportage Romania I promised to some. What you see here is just the beginning, I have already spent a lot of hours, and it will be complete within a few days. Finally, I already took a week to lay this part, so I know how long it will take me to finish everything. Patience … Patience
Finally, in fact, about Romania, there are only Bucharest (the capital), I have not left the city when I was there in early May 2005.
Contents of this report for the less edifying, terrible pictures representing the foulest of Europe buildings, but also completely rotten cars, some totally wild dogs, not to mention a foray into the daily life of some Romanian means. We will see together how the situation is evolving, in the current environment of course.
Go hop! We start out with a bang with the first thing that shocks when we get to Bucharest: Thousands of any big gray buildings, all ugly and everything rotten.
Yes, it is ugly … It is even very ugly … These are the buildings built by the Communists, since the 60s until 1989. About two-thirds of the city were destroyed at that time to be replaced by these concrete blocks.
Ultimately, it was the whole city, and throughout Romania, which had to be covered in these blocks. Each village would be destroyed, and a building like that built in place, all that to reach the great communist ideal of death! One in which the notion of private property no longer exists, and whose only role of the citizen is to serve the government (basically eh, I’m not a pro of the subject either).
These buildings, although the air all rotten, it seems are actually very strong, thanks to their sturdy structure in reinforced concrete maousse as we did more today. But I think at half … Most of the buildings that I saw were cracked everywhere, sometimes coating the exterior wall collapses, while these buildings are often younger than me (brrr, it dates me!). In short, besides being ugly ugly home is junk first class.
Another funny thing about these buildings is that often people close their balcony for one more room. Only it is anarchy, and they all do in their own way as they can with what they find.Result, every floor is different, and the buildings are really third world, it looks like DIY, and it seems sometimes it lacks a wall. I even saw balconies closed with car windscreens glued together. That is, as the Romanian ones are smart!
To make matters worse, these buildings do not belong to anybody, and therefore are not really maintained. Specifically, these buildings (like everyone) were in government at the time of the Communists. After the revolution in 1989, the apartment are logically income people who lived there. So each person owns are small flat in these buildings (such immense EPP), but the building itself is abandoned, there is no authority or anything that looks after and nothing is is maintained. Painting quail, the elevators are in an apocalyptic state when they walk, it’s dirty and it stinks … Yuck! About lifts my brother the chance to live in the same building as one of the responsible elevator of the city, so the elevator is still in working order (but not cleaner than others by cons ), while in other buildings, elevators operate fairly randomly.
Mailboxes, in true communist tradition … Too good, right?
Here are photos taken in one of the most atrocious places in the city: the gypsy ghetto. It’s ugly, everything is concrete, buildings have little windows, in short they look like prisons. This is an area in which the Roma (“Roma” is the most used name for Gypsies, in all languages), so hated by the Communists, were “settled” force, penned in buildings of a rather filthy kind.And I do not know why, but the soil is of the earth, almost no plant grows, it’s really ugly and dirty as a place. Yet people seem to continue to live as Roma: although settled, there area lot of people on the street doing nothing (see photos), and often are amazed to see someone taking pictures. The big attraction of the day somehow.
Roma are still hated today and victims of a rather elementary racism, gender beating by cops free, prohibition on access to full place, unable to find a job, and lots of other fun stuff not at all.So they can not really integrate into society and do not make much effort to integrate, as they have their own ancient traditions and cultures of which they are proud. So they are quite on the margins of society, very poor (but it suits them) and various odds and live, or sometimes stolen. Unfortunately they are a little small for that, since their traditional nomadic way of life, going from village to village to offer their services (like repairing saucepans or sell some horses) really has its place today. This is one of the reasons why racism against Roma Romanian is so strong, sometimes shocking, and also so hypocritical: one of national pride is music … Gypsy! Even the most super modern all rotten pipes that pass radio have some notes gypsy chorus, and the issuance of super stupid variety on tv often depict a kind of comedian disguised as Roma, with a small violin.
Blah blah blah … I’m not going to make a presentation on the gypsies here, but it’s still a pretty exciting topic, the gypsy was originally a nomadic people probably coming from India. If you want to know more, here’s an overview on “travelers” (very interesting) and a few paragraphs about the language of the gypsies , and for the furious, this site contains some all one wonders about gypsies. I’m a little off topic here, back to our photos.
Here is a relic of the communist time. No one actually saw a big cake that is like that in all neighborhoods of the city. These terrible things, which seem fairly straight out of an apocalyptic science fiction film, have an interesting history.
In the late 80s, when the tension was getting really tense between the population and the communists, especially because of Ceausescu (pronounced “Chao-chescou”), the local dictator who built a huge palace very expensive (see pictures below) while the population did not even have enough to eat. Then, in a burst of immense goodness (especially to prevent the people rebelled), he undertook the construction of “hunger circuses”, “circurile foamei” in Romanian, a community where people come to eat at specific times rather than wasting time to cook at home.
Bad luck for him, that was not enough, he got zigouiller with his government during the revolution of 1989, before finishing his stuff. All sites have been stopped, and these huge structures remain abandoned for over 15 years.
These circuses hunger were supposed to operate like a cafeteria and a super market, replacing both the kitchens in the apartments, and small corner stores. In other words, even a communist project to con.
Here are some pictures I took in venturing inside one of these structures. It was pretty funny, until in arriving in the big hall under the dome, I perceive that I was not alone and that there were several squatters around me looking at me kind “You’re on my territory,” and that I was only there in the middle with a digital camera … Glurp! So I just stood in that thing aillant air as calm and reassuring as possible. Too bad, I liked airais explore the basement of this kind of science fiction stuff.
In the first photo, it looks like one of those things, but finished. And the other two, it is a shopping center that is built on the site of one of these sites. The peculiarity is that the structure was not destroyed, on the contrary it is very strong and has been used as the basis for this mall. It would cost too much these days to build something like this, because the Communists are crazy. Another shopping center, Bucuresti Mall has been built on the remains of one of these buildings, result: a super mall in the US full of luxury boutiques, with rolling stairs in all directions, marble floor and even a fountain in the middle spurting water until the top of the dome, 4 floors above. It is funny to see a utopian communism icon transformed into a temple of capitalism and consumption, especially in the middle of such a city …
The Romanian specialists are not to finish construction sites, and there is not full of finished and abandoned buildings throughout the city.
Here the most famous buildings not finished in Romania: Ceausescu’s palace, or casa poporului . He may be seen around the air like that, but it was expected to be even bigger, with towers and full of crazy stuff. Anyway, it’s really huge. Romanians say it is the largest building in the world after the Pentagon. I do not know if that’s true, but short … it is huge what.
Ah well, some statistics that I have found on the net:
- The palace measuring 270m wide by 240m long.
- and rises to 86m high , over a depth of 92m below ground (wow).
- The palace occupies an area of 45,000 m2 floor, and contains 400,000 m2.
- The area was destroyed to build the palace and its surroundings is approximately a fifth of the city, 520 hectares .
- The project mobilized up to 20,000 workers , day and night.
- The construction began in 1984, and the palace was still not finished during the revolution in 1989.
- During these years, approximately 40% of GDP country were engulfed by the site.
- The palace has created such a demand for marble in the country that the tombstones have caused to be built with other materials.
The picture of the environment is so … Communist Romania a large empty space, a palace, and only sign of life, 3 cars parked all rotten in the middle!
Most impressive is the palace. Forbidden to take pictures (or, more precisely, it is necessary to buy a “permission” to 15 balls, anything). Everything is covered in super rare marble, bas-reliefs to the ceiling, chandelier that are 15 meters of embroidered carpets that are 500 square meters, and other stuff quite unacceptable when we know that the palace was built then that the people would starve.
The palace is located in a huge park surrounded by a wall, and extended by an immense avenue which was to rival the Champs Elysées being 2 meters wide (third photo), lined with luxury buildings. The avenue was supposed measured 500m originally, but finally did 3900. This avenue is more like a highway now, except cars and empty fountains, it’s pretty dead.
All this vast complex was built in the middle of the city, so they coldly destroyed entire neighborhoods bulldozed, real freaks. Sometimes people living in these neighborhoods were warned 24 hours before their house was razed and relocated rotten buildings, without water or electricity, and sometimes not even finished. Obviously, all the people who lived there at that time were not very happy, but hey, at least they had the right to remain silent. Supaire.
The National Library … Another huge palace, which it clearly is not finished and is abandoned in the middle of the city. Yet it seems that he would not take much to finish. It’s funny to see that a magnificent palace like this, under the marble slabs, is actually only a common brick building! And notice the plaque with the year of construction: 1989!
I would be unable to explain what happened in this building there. The one on the third picture is simple renovation.
The first photo is a slum hut here, in the middle of the city, between tall buildings, just before the entrance to the one where my brother lives. There’s even chickens who live there! Very good! It is impossible to have such a hideout in the middle of Geneva!
The other two photos, it’s just windows on buildings in poor condition.
Sometimes we find in the middle of mountains of junk sidewalk … Gruppe!
Well, so far I have shown that the worst aspects of the city … A super ugly city, monotonous, dirty, without urban planning … But there still has some places that remind the Communists, it’s over, and that Romania is a candidate to return to Europe (it’s been years that she is a candidate, but its entry is always postponed because decidedly it is too anarchy!).
Go hop, take a look at the first picture … it does not contrast well with the rest, right? And yes, there are some modern buildings in the city, in which are located large multinationals are eyeing on the Romanian market. Well, I have not seen more than 6 or 7 post-communist buildings throughout the city, but it’s something. It is even more surprising to see a whole glass clad building in the middle of a leper city.
There is also the old town which is pretty nice. It’s quiet, no huge avenues full of traffic, and buildings have reasonable sizes. Too bad I did not take more pictures.
Before the Second World War, Romania was a prosperous country, and Bucharest was a beautiful city, considered the “Paris of the East”, and this is what it feels like when we walk in some streets of the old city. But the Communists flatly farted all, there is only a small part of the city as it was. Everything else is the crumbling mud. It’s a funny feeling when you walk in the streets of the old city, and we think they managed to destroy a city like this to build these buildings crap.
Here is another place really connected to the city: the Unirea Shopping Center, covered with billboards. It is almost in time square! Inside, there are lots of shops and stores, some quite large, but I did not find anything very interesting … The clothes genre 80s fashion, electronics at no great rates dusty toys, souvenirs filthy kind porcelain plate with printed above palace … all in a setting not exactly enticing, warped linoleum floor, and under informed. The Bucuresti Mall (one that is built on the remains of circus hunger) is much prettier.
A few views of Unirea. It always surprises arriving in a corner too “capitalist” in the evening, with all its neon lights and all, compared to the rest of the city that is monotonous.
Some night views. Cool …
Here is the only modern building that predates the communists: the Intercontinental Hotel. It was used to welcome foreign visitors and their eyeful, to show them as Communism is good.Incidentally, it was also used to keep and monitor all foreigners in the same place so they do not go walking alone in the city.
3 Bucharest Streets. The first is the tram tracks. It’s hard to see from the pictures, but these rails are completely twisted, I do not know why. And everywhere, not just here. And it feels really when you’re on the tram (cross country atmosphere).
The second is a typical street of the city, in pavé. Many of the major arteries of the city are still paved, I do not know why. But the Romanians do not slow so far, highway is a main road and paved or not we drive it soon! Result, comfortably seated in a wheeled bin, it was a bit like having a butt massage, and the engine will unbolt and fall on the road. Note that above 80 km / h, vibrations fade and was more like flying over the cobblestones.
And sometimes there are tram rails parallel to the paved avenues, which they are not paved but covered with concrete slabs. And despite all the signs “prohibits cars,” many motorists prefer driving on the tracks of the tram because it is flatter. What is funny is that there are also those who continue to follow the same track when leaving the road to go into kind of “streets tram” with grass on the sides and everything. It’s total anarchy what.
And the last photo is a side street … Here, no question of rolling at full speed, because there are huge holes in the street, and it’s hard to overcome the 15Km / h without break the spine. It is also in this kind of street which is sometimes attacked by starving rabid wild packs of dogs which attack the car and throw themselves under the wheels to force us to stop. They are terrible these dogs is that dogs really!
So, I have no explanation. It is a small square in the middle of town with a little grass … Yes, but here, the grass burns! By full of smoke in the street! Nobody seems to be worried, and there even several people who are sitting quiet in the middle of the smoke, some are in the process of picnic … WTF?!
Voila, you just read the 37,000 characters that I tapped my little sausage fingers, and I think we kindly made the Bucharest round or at least pictures I took there. But that’s just the first post about Romania, I have many other things to tell. But I will make tickets a bit shorter.
The most furious of you, the diehard, hardcore readers, or those who have time to spare or nothing better to do, can still go for a ride in the gallery to see