Bucharest 2015

Almost exactly one year ago, I accompanied Marieke to a Humanist conference in Romania. I joined some of the sessions and talks but also had time to explore the capital for myself.

I had read about Bucharest being called the Paris of the East and it did indeed feel that way. Looking through the photos I took back then, it seems like I was fascinated by the decay and shabbiness of parts of the city. The warm weather, and the mixture of 1920s, art deco and Sowjet architecture felt like someone had taken an old version of Paris, placed in East Europe, and then left it at that for a few decades.

I know there are some big German companies located in Romania, because it is a cheap workplace while still being reasonably close to Germany. And even though it looks quite run down, they have very modern infrastructure, most prominently the fastest internet in Europa. It was weird seeing signs of Hornbach, dm, Raiffeisen Bank, and the likes all around.

With a history of communism under an authoritarian leader, a few famous projects have been started in that city. The Palace of Parliament is the heaviest building in the world and used up most of the country’s marble production. Underground is a more or less secret system of catacombs. Construction in the 80s mostly happened with forced labour and about 3000 workers are believed to have died in the process. The building is sometimes compared to the pyramids of Gizeh, and it’s actually very close to having the same size. The things you can do when democracy and human life don’t matter too much, oh well.

Bottom line: Bucharest is warm and has many facets to be discovered. It’s a short and cheap flight away from Berlin. Maybe go there.