Union Square - Piata Unirii, Bucharest
If you come from the southern part of Bucharest, the Union Square (Piata Unirii in Romanian) is where the city center starts. Two of Bucharest subway lines intersect here and the square is the site of one of the city’s department stores, Unirea Shopping Center. Unfortunately this place was also Ceausescu's (the communist dictator) playground for experimentation, as the square was caught in his plan for “urbanization” and creation of the ugly soviet style Civic Center. To make way for it Ceausescu ordered the demolition of all the buildings located in and around Union Square. The Brâncovenesc Hospital (where yours truly was born), the Saint Friday Church, the Saint Spiridon Church, the Vacaresti Monastery and many others historical buildings and monuments as well as many private houses were virtually wiped out. Instead of these, Unirii Square is nowadays surrounded by grim, tenement blocks of the communist era, lined along the Unirii Boulevard which was built during the Communist era under the name of “The Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism” (against Bucharest), and renamed after the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Along the Unirii Boulevard, Ceausescu’s architects envisioned a series of ugly fountains.
Ceausescu wanted to transform the south side of the city, around Piata Unirii, into the new civic centre. Today it is one of the largest squares in central Bucharest, located in center of the city.
The square is a significant transport hub, containing the Piaţa Unirii metro station and a major interchange for RATB buses; there is also a tram terminal near the southwest corner. The Unirea Shopping Center is located on the east side of this square, while Hanul lui Manuc is on the north side, near the northeast corner. In the centre of the square there is a small park.
Ceausescu must have had an obsession with size. This square is just too big; it does not have the feeling of a square. The traffic here is terrifying, be carefull when crossing the boulevards. On one side of the square there is a shopping center; nowadays the architecture is covered with colourfull McDonalds signs and huge advertizing billboards.
Piata Unirii is a gigantic square built by Ceausescu (yes, that man again!) by flattening many blocks of old Bucharest, evicting thousands of people from their homes. It is large and impersonal, and now is full of billboards, as you can see in the photo.
From Piata Unirii, the Boulevard Unirii (modelled after the Champs-Elysees in Paris, but deliberately made 1 metre wider) leads to the Parliamentary Palace.
This enormous square is one of Bucharests most central points of commercial, offices, transportation and sights. In the Middle of the square stands a great fountain and smaller fountains of its type continues along Unirii boulevard.
In the squares one side you will find the Unirii Department store that made into a modern shopping center lately. If you continue west to the square you will arrive to the spectacular Parliament.
Piata Unirii is the central square of what is called the 'centru civic', a surreal area built by the great dictator in an attempt to create the ultimate communist city. The area is centered around the parlamentul and walking around can be a strange experience because of the unfiished buildings, the lack of pedestrians and megalomania that characterizes most of the buildings.
Unirii Square is the most expressive place of the megalomania of the Ceausescu. Huge concrete building flank the long boulevard leading to the enormous and cubical People's House now Palace of Parliament, the second huge building of the world.