miercuri, 3 aprilie 2013

Urban Archaeology in Romania

Romania is one of the few countries in the world where almost a half of the population still leaves to the countryside, and this is one of the reasons making this unbelievable country so attractive.

But I don't want to propose you this time another Romania Rural Tour. Not at all, even on the contrary. I love also the Romanian cities, and all of them have their obvious or secret charm for the hard workers searching for it. There is a very interesting thing to observe in every Romanian city, namely the circular structure. If the specific city you are visiting has a downtown, see the upcoming rings, estimating their age. A Romanian city is really like a tree, and you can guess its history and successive ages  judging only based on these rings.
I am becoming more and more a fan of the older Bucharest and its way of life. What do you think about it?

To be more specific, I would rather refer to Bucharest. The Downtown counts in its core buildings from the XVIIIth century, and even much older ones. 500 Meters further you will surprisingly see buildings from the late XIXth and the young XXth century in a charming mix of architectural styles. It is very similar with Paris, the visitors used to call Bucharest the little Paris. After other 500 metres discover the traces of The Ceausescu Era, who massively destroyed downtown for building modern luxury blocks of flats for his devoted nomenclature (about 1985).
The Romanian Television Central Office is already obsolete, but still very useful

Another 500 Meters away other blocks of flats, from the 1950's with much lower standards, for the developing working class of those times. These blocks of flats have big problems nowadays, when celebrating their 50th anniversary or more. The installations are not working properly anymore, and the destroyed Romanian industry doesn't hire any more. The inhabitants are old and poor, not able anymore even to paint the flats, neither outside, nor inside. The fact is that everybody's dream is to move away from these sad living silos, but only a few .can afford to do that.

You might be tired, you already walked a few kilometres through the Romanian history! Take a break in an underground bar from an old house, some of them are really charming with their strange atmosphere. Once refreshed, keep on walking or take a cab. You are looking now for the former huge industrial factories, the pride of the Ceausescu regime. After his fall, most of these factories showed themselves to be not able to compete or perform or to make a profit. Most of them closed their gates, and left behind huge buildings. Find them, they are amazing and overwhelming, as the creativity of the Romanians giving these huge spaces a second life. In some of them, between lathes and milling machines, one tried to start up a bar, club, wholesale or whatsoever. But huge surfaces are still available, maybe you can start a business in Romania!

Take a deep breath and a long walk on these sites, trying to figure their former life, full of  noises or fumes. Imagine the obsolete production methods, based on hard human work, and ask yourself if progress necessarily means better! And after this breathtaking visit, observe beyond the factories the last ring: building from 1990 up today. Mainly villas, very modern and sophisticated, but also some small or medium sized companies, looking very modern. To be honest, I like better and even love so much more the old factories and neighborhoods, they are full of life, joy and joy of life.

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