Sunday, October 7, 2012


When our grandson, Tanner, sent Flat Stanley for a visit last fall, I did some research on Bucuresti.  One author said, "Bucuresti is a crime against concrete."   After living in Romanian blocs for almost 18 months I think he may have a point.

Our apartment in Buc is on the 8th floor of the bloc on the left.
Here is a closeup with me waving to Elder Wahlquist from our kitchen window.
In the early 1970's under Nicolae Ceausescu's communist regime, an urban planning program was carried out. Called systematization, it consisted of the demolition and reconstruction of existing villages, towns and cities.  Hundreds of villages were to become urban industrial centers.  Historical buildings and homes all over the country were destroyed so that concrete apartment blocs could be built to house the displaced citizens.  These buildings were required to be at least two stories high with the bloc having very little yard space so that the residents would not be able to plant their own gardens.  Most of the blocs we see are either five or 10 stories high.  Because of these blocs, Bucuresti is said to have the highest population density of any city in Europe. 
Eight square kilometers in the historic center of Bucuresti were leveled in order to make way for the immense Palace of the People which is claimed to be the second largest building in the world behind the Pentagon.  40,000 people, with only a single day's notice, were relocated to their new homes in concrete blocs so that this building could be built.
Because many of the people that came from small villages had homes without plumbing, Ceausescu told the builders that they didn't need plumbing in their new apartments either.

  So there are still Romanians that live in blocs like this without running water.
There are many of these blocs that were never completed and sit unfinished to this day.
But slowly, the government, with EU money, is trying to make these buildings not only more attractive but more energy efficient.  For some reason our bloc in Bucuresti was one of the lucky ones chosen.  So in November of 2011, the scaffolding went up for the renovations.  The severely cold winter slowed up the process but it was finally finished during the summer of 2012.  By then we had been transferred to Arad.
"Lipstick on a Pig"
This is our brand new apartment complex in Arad. It was built basically the same way as the blocs from the past, using big red blocks and concrete.  But it has lots of windows and is a great place to live.

1 comment:

  1. This post made me feel ill, thinking about those poor villagers forced to leave their homes and gardens to live in such crowded, unsanitary circumstances. So sad.