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.