Romania Diary



Saturday 5th September

Visited various sights around Bucharest. Started by buying a hat from H&M as I forgot mine and it was sunny. (38c yesterday 36c today). Bucharest centre
Then we went on to the palace, and Sorin stayed outside while I went on a tour. Being called 'palace' I assumed it used to be used by royalty, but it never was. The communist regime started building it in the early 80s, then the revolution came in 1989 before it was finished. They decided to finish it anyway and use it as their parliament. So that's what it is today. So, going on a tour meant going through airport style security and handing in my passport. But the tour was in English and was fascinating. It's the largest parliament in the world, the most expensive civic building in the world, and the 2nd largest civic building after the pentagon. In one room we saw a chandelier with 1000 bulbs. The tour guide told us about five people who wondered away from their tour and got lost. They were found 24 hours later. She then warned us all to keep up! We walked 2km during the tour and saw 3% of the building. The People's Palace
Vlad the Impaler After that we went and had a kebab for lunch. Very tasty and more authentic than what you get in a kebab place in Britain.
We wandered for a bit and went past the ruins of the castle that Vlad the impaler ruled from, which included a bust of Vlad himself. He was a member of the house of Draculesti, and was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's most famous bad guy.
We went into a tiny orthodox church in which every part of the wall inside was painted with religious and Biblical imagery. Romania is overwhelmingly orthodox, with Catholic and Evangelical accounting for a similarly small proportion each. An Orthodox Church
Then we went onto revolution square where Sorin explained what led up to the revolution in in 1989. Early in December of that year the ruling communist party wanted to remove a pastor from his house because he had criticised the government, and the local people came together to prevent it. This was happening in another part of Romania, but people in Bucharest heard about it on pirate radio and unrest started to spread. Ceausescu was abroad but came home to calm things down. On 21st of December he gave a speech from the balcony of the central committee building overlooking a large square to 100,000 workers who had been bussed in and told to cheer. They started to boo and chant anti-communist slogans. Ceaucescu tried to calm things but couldn't. All this was being shown live on Romanian TV. A riot started and the soldiers opened fire, killing a lot of the people. Eventually the crowds dispersed but returned in even greater numbers the next day. Ceausescu tried again to talk to the crowd, but by now the police and army were on the crowd's side. They stormed the building and Ceausescu went to the roof and barely escaped in a helicopter. Later that day he was caught and brought back to Bucharest. On Christmas day he was put on trial, found guilty and immediately shot.

Revolution square now has a monument that is a white spike spearing a black mass, which represents the evil that was destroyed.
The Orthodox Cathedral After revolution square we went to the orthodox cathedral in which we saw some women in a line to take their turn to kiss a relic, then have the priest bless them with oil. Outside was a container of holy water with a tap on the side. A Container of Holy Water

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