History of Bucharest - Communist Era

Communist Era

The Communist regime was firmly established after the proclamation of a People's Republic on December 30, 1947. One of the major landscape interventions by early Communist leaders was the addition of Socialist realist buildings, including the large Casa Scînteii (1956) and the National Opera. As a tendency for the entire period of Communist rule, the city underwent massive geographical and populational expansion: it began extending, westwards, eastwards and southwards, with new, tower block-dominated districts such as Titan, Militari, Pantelimon, Dristor, and Drumul Taberei.

During Nicolae Ceauşescu's leadership, much of the historical part of the city, including old churches, was destroyed, to be replaced with the immense buildings of Centrul Civic - notably, the Palace of the Parliament, which replaced about 1.8 km² of old buildings (see Ceauşima). Alongside buildings characterised by a continuation of Socialist realism, Bucharest was home to several large-scale ones of a more generic modernist style (Sala Palatului, the Globus Circus, and the Intercontinental Hotel). By the time it was toppled, the regime had begun constructing a series of huge identical markets, commonly known as "hunger circuses", and started digging the never-finished Danube-Bucharest Canal. The Dâmboviţa River was channeled for a second time, and the Bucharest Metro, noted for its compliance with official aesthetics, was opened in 1979.

In 1977, a strong 7.4 on the Richter-scale earthquake in Bucharest claimed 1,500 lives and destroyed many old lodgings and offices. On August 21, 1968, Ceauşescu's Bucharest speech condemning the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia led many inhabitants to briefly join the paramilitary Patriotic Guards - created on the spot as defense against a possible Soviet military reaction to Romania's new stance.

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