Sunday 21 March 2010

Bucharest is a habit which is hard to shake

Bucharest is a habit which has survived. The Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu intended to demolish the entire city and rebuild it inspired by his state visit to Pyongyang. (Ion Iliescu who accompanied Ceausescu was dismayed by Kim Il-sung’s dreary statlet but Ceausescu had seen the future.) It would have made more sense to have built a new capital on green fields as the Kazakh dictator has since done, a Communist New Delhi or Islamabad. But like Strada Lipscani Bucharest’s despised spiritual centre, Bucharest continues despite wars, fires, earthquakes and changes of regime from Christian t Muslim, from fascist to Communist to democratic, always to preserve its very specific and not very high-minded character.

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