A very well-known building in Bucharest, very well known in Romania and not elsewhere, so that you don't expect something spectacular.
A building that gives the name of a square, the square in front of it. A symbol building, a building I don't like!
Casa Presei Libere
The House of the Free Press
This is a building only two years older than me and was built in the northern part of Bucharest, in the green area of the city. The construction, located on the site of a horse race track, began in 1952 and was completed in 1956. Horse racing, a symbol of the aristocracy, was replaced by a building that symbolized communism and totalitarianism. The name was House of the Spark!
There is not much to say about the architectural style, it is practically a copy of Moscow State University.
Making short and necessary documentation to write this blog, I also found out that Moscow State University was founded in 1755 by Mikhail Lomonosov, one of the most important Russian scientists! The most imposing building of this university was designed by Lev Rudnev, perhaps the most important architect of the Stalinist era. It was built to show the strength of the Soviets and was the tallest building in Europe until 1990.
This is the original building and model for the building in Bucharest.
By Dmitry A. Mottl (cropped by King of Hearts) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35852262
Returning to Casa Scanteii in Bucharest, what can I say? A copy, a building made as a tribute to his master Stalin. If the building in Moscow has the statue of Lomonosov in front of it, the building in Bucharest had the statue of Stalin. It was the 50s and 60s, the worst years of the proletarian dictatorship in Eastern Europe.
This building was built to host all information publications, newspapers, magazines, news agencies. In order to be more easily monitored by communist security. Because the dictators' biggest concern was to control the information. The most important newspaper of the time, the newspaper of the Romanian Communist Party, was called "Scanteia", meaning the spark. Hence the name of the spark house. This newspaper was the largest newspaper of that time, a very dangerous newspaper. If someone was written badly, that someone was in great danger.
After the Romanian revolution in December 1989, I said goodbye (did I?) To communism. All "clothes" were transformed, communist traces and insignia were erased and replaced with western ones.
The House of the Spark has become the House of the Free Press!
Inside remained the same newspapers and the same people, in new clothes ... the spark newspaper changed its name to the truth. But their minds have not changed easily, now, thirty years after the revolution, there are still many with communist sympathies. They did everything possible for Romania's transition to a democratic and modern state to be as slow as possible and, unfortunately, they partially succeeded!
Despite the opposition of the old guard, modernity has entered our lives as former communists. Accession to the European Union has had an enormous impact on the country's further development. This place, Piata Presei Libere, has changed completely.
Symbolically, the statue of Stalin was replaced with a memorial to anti-communist resistance fighters. It's called "Wings"!
It is a monumental work of the sculptor Mihai Buculei. Controversial, normally ... a real work of art must give rise to controversy, some detest it and others appreciate it. I like!
As if to try to erase the domination of the building that reminds us of the communist era and especially of the Soviet influence imposed by the power of the tanks, modern concrete and glass buildings have appeared around, bordering the Free Press Square.
This is the Free Press Square, it is actually a large intersection with a roundabout in the middle.
A new landscape has appeared in the last ten years. There are not many tall buildings in Bucharest because the capital of Romania is the most exposed seismic city in Europe. Devastating earthquakes occur every century, sometimes every two hundred years. The last major earthquake was in 1977 and I lived it to the fullest. Fortunately, I lived.
New construction technologies have now allowed taller and taller buildings to appear here as well.
Another neighbor of Free Press Square is Herastrau Park, the largest park in the city. I have to say, again, that it's my favorite. I tour the park at least once a week.
A good part of the walk through the park brings before my eyes the buildings I talked about earlier. Whether we like it or not, these buildings have definitely marked the configuration of the place and our perception.
The park is beautiful, a little wild, and a little untidy, but this brings a special charm and a closeness to true nature. A complete tour of the park, ie bypassing the lake, means almost eight kilometers. You can see the buildings in the square from almost anywhere.
Any round ends where it started, in this case in the Free Press Square.
Even if the central building, which gives the name of the place, is a building reminiscent of recent times, unpleasant and difficult for Romanians, this place is one of the most beautiful in Bucharest.
We humans have something that is both dangerous and sometimes beneficial. We have the ability to forget. Then let's forget the ugly and stay with what brings joy. In this case, a great place for a walk.
I chose for this blog not to present a certain building and its architecture. I chose a small part of my city to show how architecture matters, how it brings beauty and joy, memories, pleasant and less pleasant, from our history.