Bucharest became the capital of Romania in 1862 and is its largest city. It also is the center of Romanian media, culture, and art. In Bucharest we can get an architectural shock – a mix of neo-classical, Bauhaus, art deco, Communist-era, and modern. In the period between the two World Wars, the city’s elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite, Bucharest earned the nickname of “Little Paris”.
Although buildings and districts in the historic city center were heavily damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes, and above all Nicolae Ceaușescu’s program of systematization, many survived. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic and cultural boom.
Tomasz Oginski, Bucharest tourist guide, describes Bucharest as a time bomb… A metropolis full of contrast that surprises and absorbs at every corner. A sexy, assertive, uninhibited city. A city that is looking for a new scenario for itself.
People of Bucharest. So close to me but at the same time so far away. With their views, dreams, goals, mentality. From my point of view a bit Slavic, a bit Latin. Pursuing the western modern of life. Enjoying growing fast economy and fast pace lifestyle. Fascinated by American pop culture. On the other hand, still remembering cruel Ceausescu dictatorship. Curious about foreigners, absorbing everything that doesn’t belong to their tradition. But at the same time feeling nostalgic about Mărțișor and Dragobete.
Truly open-hearted. Ready to help you at all hours. Sometimes passive but then brave enough to fight with ignorance and corruption in their country.
Malgorzata Rejmer in her book “Bucharest: blood and dust” writes that Romanians are resigned but they can deal with every misfortune, they can stand everything. They can stand everything until finally explode.
These people will stay in my heart forever.
I left Bucharest at the beginning of 2017. The city that became my home for one year and always a place to come back.
I remember exactly the day when I touched down at Otopeni. I remember the smell of the air – I could feel the dust in my lungs. The sound of a language that was like a strange combination of Italian, French, something Slavic… The terrifying speed of the taxi that made me nauseous. Back then, I didn’t know what to expect from Romanian capital. I had no plan, I didn’t know how long I’ll stay. I just went there with an open mind and an open heart, ready for better and worse days.
Bucharest welcomed me with its chaos, dirt, noise, difficult topography, huge traffic problem. And what did I do? I fell in love.
I was mesmerized by its diversity, mismatch of architecture, green zones, musical events, rich social life.
Nevertheless, I know that if I hadn’t met some bunch of people on my way I wouldn’t have felt so attached to this place. People that not only became my friends, my shelter, my inspiration, my teachers, my students, my guides, the reason I wanted to better myself every day. People that showered on me an unbelievable amount of positive vibes. For me, these people create the city.
I think that Bucharest is one of those places you love or hate. It can be confusing, overwhelming, annoying but interesting, absorbing and vivid at the same time.
M. Rejmer, Bucharest: blood and dust.