Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bucharest, Romania

I've been having a great time in the EU's newest member country. Contrary to what I expected, the streets of the capital, Bucharest, are not overrun with gypsies and gymnasts doing backflips on the sidewalk. The city likes to think of itself as the "little Paris of the east." There is a lot of French architecture and people say "merci" for thank you. Then, alongside these French buildings are concrete monsters from Ceauşescu’s communist "rebuilding" phase. (Not unlike Northwestern's campus really.) Then the National Village Museum transported dozens of homes from the countryside to this large open air museum to show how people live in different parts of the country. I was really impressed by a 300 year old church built entirely out of wood. There were "no smoking" signs everywhere.

The Palace of Parliament, Ceauşescu’s 1984 3.3 billion dollar behemoth,  is the world's second largest building after the Pentagon. Apparently, all marble production in the country for five years went to this building. The starving citizens were not amused by this, and Ceauşescu's rule was ended by a firing squad on December 25, 1989. I wonder if "All I Want for Christmas Is You" was playing in the background? 

There's  monument to those killed in the 1989 revolution. The locals refer to this modern art piece as the Impaled Potato.

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