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Favorite thing: I was amazed when I walked under the rain in the old city of Bucharest, mid March 2011; workings everywhere. . .
The neo-classical and baroque buildings bordering the streets in Lipscani area look quite nice, and certainly they will be nice to look at when walking in the future pedestrian zone; in some places, the houses in different styles look a bit like an architectural mess, but the mess is a bit in the works, you do not know where it begins and ends (picture 2), and when you think it is finished, the works machines have to come back, but great care is taken of the new pavements (picture 3). It is a bit difficult to go around and if you want to reach this wonderful restaurant you red about in a guide or a friend told you about, you have to take unusual paths (picture 4). The perspectives of the streets and the views of the big buildings are somehow spoilt(picture 5), but we can hope that in a few months the historical centre of Bucharest will look like a jewel in a new jewel case. . . . hopefully.
Written Apr 8, 2011
Favorite thing: Carol Park (Romanian: parcul carol) is a public park in Bucharest, Romania, named after King Carol I of Romania. For the duration of the communist regime, it was called Liberty Park (Parcul Libertăţii). The park was designed by French landscape artist Édouard Redont in 1900 on Filaret Hill and inaugurated in 1906. The park had an initial surface area of 360,000m², with a 20,000m² lake in the middle. It is officially recognized as a historical monument and is therefore protected by law. Administration of the park is undertaken mostly by the Bucharest City Hall, whereas monuments are in the care of the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs
Updated Mar 1, 2009
Favorite thing: You can't avoid them, most of the inhabitants of Bucharest still live in them - the grim, tenement blocks of the communist era. The blocks are huge, but Inside them the flats are small and uniform, generally measuring either 50 sq metres or 70 sq metres. The hot water supply and central heating systems in the blocks are centrally controlled and are not very reliable. Nowadays, the shortage of accommodation in the centre of Bucharest is so chronic that even a basic flat in a decaying tenement block can cost 600 euros per month to rent. According to a local newspaper the price of these flats has increased by an incredible 100% in the last 12 months.
Hopefully, one day they will all be pulled down and replaced by more attractive places to live, like the traditional rows of Romanian houses that you still find in the historic centre.
Updated Aug 9, 2008
Favorite thing: Bucharest's Centrul Istoric, or Historic Centre is the area around Strada Lipscani. It is the oldest part of the city and developed around the Princely Court from 1459 onwards. It is one of the most interesting parts of Bucharest to wander around, especially on a summer's evening, when the bohemian bars lining its cobbled streets come to life.
Although the streets date back to the fifteenth century, most of the buildings were rebuilt after the great fire of 1847. The most interesting streets today are Lipscani, Gabroveni, Smârdan and Stavropoleos.
Updated Dec 15, 2007
Favorite thing: The National Day of Romania is on December 1st, this is after the revolution in 1989. Before that it was August 23rd. On December 1st 1918 the three parts - Moldova, Transilvania si Tara Romaneasca - formed the united Romania. The signing of the unity was made in Alba Iulia.
Fondest memory: December 1st is national holiday so it's a non-working day. Many people go to the Arch of Triumph where the military parade is going under it, on the long 2km boulevard from Casa Presei to Piata Victoriei.
Check out the picture set, the blond smiling woman is Elena Udrea, a young (she's my age) politian in close relation with the current president of Romania. Next year (2008) we will have elections so it's an opportunity to increase popularity by taking pictures with people :)
Updated Dec 8, 2007
Favorite thing: Bucharest’s old town near Unrii square is currently partly under reconstruction. A fair few streets are open and look like archeological digs. You notice that this is a tourist hot spot as there are explanation signs of the sights.
I'm sure that it will be lovely once everything is in order again.
Written Oct 27, 2007
Favorite thing: In the last years of the Ceausescus' reign, the southern section of Bucharest around Piata Unirii was designed to create the new civic centre.
You can find many big fountains in this square, which are an embellishment
Updated Aug 23, 2006
Favorite thing: Former servants and agriculture workers for the Romanian landowners, gypsies have been recognised civil rights in the 1920’s, to be soon afterwards persecuted by the Nazis in the 1940’s and to have their savings (materialised in small golden coins) confiscated by the communists in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Land expropriation meant gypsies had much less working opportunities in the countryside, so they flew to the cities. Nowadays, gypsies account for a fairly large proportion of Bucharest inhabitants. They usually live in the ill-famed suburbs in southern part of the city (Rahova, Ferentari) and North to Gara de Nord in Basarab – Crangasi neighbourhoods. The can also be found living in central areas, especially in the historic centre, where they moved once owners were forced to leave their homes in the 1950’s.
Fondest memory: Despite of prejudices, they are usually friendly and open. However, be aware that buying something on the streets when (insistently) offered a product or service usually leads to either being robbed or tricked.
Written Jul 17, 2006
Favorite thing: Endless quarter of concrete blocks of flats, dozens of blocks built after the same plans all over the country.
Fondest memory: A reflection of the communist times, when once-farmers living in the countryside have been stimulated to move to large cities to help the “communist industrial development” of the country. From the point of view of the cities development, this meant that industrial parks were erected despite of pollution they caused, urban population increased rapidly to serve as workforce and replace the “old social order” and bourgeoisie-predominant population.
This is how entire dormitory quarters have appeared in the ‘60s and ‘70s, characterised by the 50sqm apartments built in matches-box like blocks. However, as time passed by, and following the earthquakes in 1977 and 1984, the construction standards and the rooms’ surface allowed to the working class living in these blocks have increased significantly (70sqm standard 2 rooms flat), while on the other hand, the dimensions of the blocks’ windows have continuously decreased, to make flats warmer during savings-driven heating shortages in winter time.
Updated Jul 16, 2006
Favorite thing: The river crossing Bucharest is quite small, as per the standards of other European capitals. However, Dambovita was changed its path and debit during the construction works in ‘80s, so that now the river passes below the park & fountains in Unirii square, between 2 subway lines and above an underground road tunnel.
Written Jul 10, 2006
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