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7 July 2011 / leggypeggy

A grand avenue in Bucharest

The Bulevardul Unirii viewed from the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest.

There’s no doubt about it—Nicolae Ceaușescu was a megalomaniac.

After seeing the grandiose avenues in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea, he set out to remodel Bucharest as ‘the first socialist capital for the new socialist man’ and to create a new administrative centre which was to be ‘a symbolic representation of the two decades of enlightenment we have just lived through’. Of course, it’s plain that he sought only to feed his own ego.

To bring this Centru Civic to life, he had one-quarter (about five square kilometres) of Bucharest’s historic centre demolished, with the excuse that the buildings were slums damaged in the 1977 earthquake. In fact, about 9000 undamaged 19th century homes were razed and their 40,000 inhabitants were relocated to developments on the outskirts of town. The world condemned this vandalism, especially because many old churches were also lost.

The core of the Centru Civic was completed by 1989, just in time for Ceaușescu to be overthrown and executed. The Bulevardul Unirii unites the two halves of the Centru Civic. The boulevard is four kilometres long and 120 metres wide, intentionally made just a bit larger than the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris on which it was modeled.

Mowing at the Palace of Parliament.

The photos here were taken from one of the balconies at the Palace of Parliament, which dominates the western end of the boulevard. The white marquee is where Bon Jovi will deliver his open-air concert next weekend.

As we approached the palace, we agreed that it desperately needed a mow, and they must have heard us. By the time we left, a mower was making the rounds.

If you have time, have a look at the Madman’s House and A bright idea.

And don’t forget to pick a number before 29 February 2012.

4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. tots2travel / May 10 2016 5:18 am

    It’s unbelievable that one street, one road, can reveal so much about a country, an individual and the history of a city.

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks

  1. Madman’s House AKA Palace of Parliament « Where to next?
  2. A bright idea « Where to next?

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