Posted: 9/2/2017
Title: PARIS OF THE EAST & MEGALOMANIA

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       When dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elana were shot by a firing squad on Christmas Day 1989 it was filmed and show on TV world wide. A few days earlier he had appeared on a balcony in a city square and was roundly booed by a large crowd. He and his wife were whisked away in a helicopter out of the city. They were later arrested and brought back for a short trial by revolutionaries and then shot.

        The dictator and his wife  allowed no opposition and opponents were jailed, tortured or just disappeared. On an official stay at the Elysee Palace in Paris they put valuable treasures in their luggage. The French premier phoned Queen Elizabeth, their next hosts at Buckingham Palace and valuables were removed from their suite in advance.

        After an earthquake in Bucharest in 1977 he buit a Monument to Megalomania, employing 700 architects, 20,000 workers, 5,000 army personnel and many 'volunteers'. What is now the Palace of Parliament is used by the government and some of its agencies but is still only 30% used. The electric bill is 6 million euros annually and there are 3,500 tons of crystal. You can take a tour for about 90 minutes but still see less than 10% of the palace,  The top of a mountain was cleared, the Dambovita River was re routed and 4,000 people foceably displaced.

         On a very hot Saturday afternoon I walked around this capital city of almost 2 million to see the sights for about 4 hours. I passed by Revqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqulution Square where there is now the Pyramid of Victory, a tall needle piercing a cloud of communism. A mixture of qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq style from the Ottoman Empire influence, Medieval, Art Nouveau, Communist and Art Deco are an interesting mix in and around the old town. Between the two world wars it earned the title of Little Paris.

          Before  Old Town I stolled down  Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue) which was closed to cars this day. There were roudside carts selling ice cream,  drinks, hot dogs, fruit, pancakes and more,  plus many street artists, portrait painters, an arts and jewelry market, kids enjoying games plus many people dressed in Art Nouveau clothes with parasels to shade from the sun.  After asking directions I was told to look for the street with many people on bicycles. I was not disappointed.

         I also visited the burial place of VLAD lll  DRACULA THE IMPALER  at the Annunciation Church of Saint Anthony, built in 1559 AD. He had earlier built a fortress next door, right in the the heart of Bucharest on French Street and called Curtea Veche..Old Princely Palace. Well worth a visit.

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