Emboldened by a visit to North Korea and determined to remake Bucharest in his own image, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu came up with a sweeping plan to create a new Monumental-Kitsch Civic Center for the Capital. Unfortunately, this involved the near total destruction of the Uranus neighbourhood.
Over the next 10 years nearly 40.000 buildings, houses, churches and hospitals, were torn down to make way for a new, monstrously large (the second largest building in the world, after the Pentagon) “People’s Palace”, today the Romanian Parliament. For the inhabitants of Bucharest, this became jokingly known as “Ceaușhima”, a portmanteau of Ceaușescu and Hiroshima.
This GitHub project
explores the extent of the destruction of streets and buildings in the eighties through map overlays.
After the collapse of Communism the surviving part of the Uranus neighbourhood was abandoned by the authorities, with streets falling into disrepair and many buildings being abandoned. However, over the past decade the area has started to undergo a process of urban renewal, with the old Bragadiru Palace becoming a hub for foodies (for more on where and what to eat there, see our handy Bucharest Guide
) while the Uranus Garden regularly hosts concerts and events, including a popular Balkan Music Festival. The area itself is on the verge of gentrification, with the small old houses with generous yards being sold off to developers and gradually replaced with new mid-price apartment buildings.
At the same time, the Romanian Orthodox church is building one of the largest cathedrals in Europe nearby. Plans have been drawn by members from one of Romania’s more progressive parties to turn the entire demolished area (the walled-off grounds of the Parliament and the nearby Academy of Sciences) into a sprawling urban park
celebrating the Uranus heritage
Code for Romania is proud to host the Heroes of Tech summit in a corner of Bucharest with such a rich heritage. We hope that you too will enjoy this unique part of Bucharest during your stay.