Oct 212009

Versiune în română

If you come from the southern part of Bucharest, the Union Square (Piaţa Unirii in Romanian) is where the downtown, 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 Ceauşescu’s playground for experimentation, as the square was caught in his plan for “urbanization” and creation of the ugly soviet style Civic Center. I’ve talked before about the extended demolitions that took place in order to make space for the Civic Center. All the buildings located in and around Unirii Square fell prey to these plans. The Brâncovenesc Hospital (where yours truly was born 🙂 ), the Sfânta Vineri Church, the Sfântul Spiridon Church, the Văcăreşti Monastery and many others historic buildings and monuments as well as lots of private houses were virtually wiped out. Instead of these, The 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, Ceauşescu’s architects envisioned a series of truly ugly fountains and on a stroll of the area yesterday afternoon I found one of them – the biggest – still working. They are usually being turned off in the cold season.

  4 Responses to “The Union Square”

  1. You got an nice photo from really poor material. The architectural story of Bucharest in these last years must be very interesting and a real battlefield of minds. Keep posting about this, if you can.

  2. How sad that so much of Bucharest's history and older beauty was lost during Soviet times. The way you've shot through the fountains makes the building look more attractive than it probably really is.

  3. The tacky coke ads on the rooftops are the perfect complement to the ugly buildings and fountains. You capture the facets of Bucharest really well.

  4. Phew, that's different! Dunno what to say. I must confess that I'm truly fascinated by this. There is something about gigantomanic architecture. The only thing that really bothers me when looking at it, is the knowledge that historic buildings have been demolished for this.

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