Yet another scandalous act of destruction seems about to take place in Bucharest and we are powerless to do anything to stop it unless we do so 'en masse'. At this rate there will soon be nothing left of the city to destroy. This time, it's the Matache Hall indoor market place (Hala Matache). Here's an article from Matthew Stoica I've translated below - please excuse any errors. I'm not a professional translator. Just a furious member of the public in love with a beautiful city being slowly but very surely slaughtered by the very idiots in office entrusted to protect it who care more for money than they do heritage and history... What Ceausescu didn't manage to erase, well, they are doing the job very nicely in his memory.
MAYOR Oprescu said the hall will be demolished to connect Piata Victoriei and Piata Parlamentului
The decision was taken after representatives of the Ministry of Culture gave notice of Hall Matache's downgrading on the cutural heritage register. (It is still on the list though it has been 'declassed'- Sarah's note).
Demolition is not final: the hall will be rebuilt a bit further up the road when the work is complete. (50m away - Sarah's note)
Apart from the market, there are also five other houses of historical heritage importance which prevent the commencement of demolition (demoltion has already begun - Sarah's note).
The mayor of Bucharest said they were waiting for the opinion of the Ministry of Culture. He told journalists there was no good reason for these houses to appear in the register of national heritage. (demolition has in fact already begun and scrap metal thieves have raided the building. Salvati Bucurest intends to press charges since the demolitions began before the outcome of the appeal to save several of the buildings targeted was even known . Bravo Nicusor Dan - Sarah's note)
Regarding the North-South highway, Oprescu says that work has been delayed by a month and a half due to both the bad weather and the complaints of criminality from the association, 'Save Bucharest'.
The 'platforms' for Bucharest which includes 40 non-governmental associations, and The Union of Architects of Roumania and the EU have protested. Letters have been sent to the EU Commission, the ministers of Justice, Culture and Development in Member States along with several embassies, all of which are pushing to stop this mutilation. The action has been described as 'Ceausescu's Urban Interventions'. In response, Oprescu has stated that he will sue the NGOs if they delay the work. Nothing short of megalomania.
It is perfectly true that road traffic in Bucharest is an issue, for the city was not constructed to stand such heavy usage. But plans could have been drawn up to avoid such mass destruction. 83 buildings will be sacrificed in all for this 'highway'. Whether or not these buildings have historic value (and at least 7 do - or did), this wreaks of times past and leaves a bitter taste in one's mouth and memory. Whilst London, Paris, Berlin and Prague do the intelligent thing by SYPHONING traffic from the centre of the city, the brilliant officials decide it's a marvellous idea to bring it slap bang through the capital, thus increasing vehicle volume (contrary to Oprescu's reasoning that this will be reduced) and pollution, accidents and the cost of road surfacing. Genius. While Roumania is so low on decent motorways throughout the country (has the one to Constanta been finished yet?), shouldn't they concentrate on those, along with a decent peripheral belt, thus keeping the centre freer and far less conjested - at the same time they could even make some money introducing a toll into the city which would again limit traffic coming and going. Vote for me for Ministry of Transport job. It makes absolutely NO sense at all.
The consultation, design and implimentation of this illogical project is at a total cost of 2.2 billion euros - money that Bucharest could certainly put to better use elsewhere in other services and departments that would also profit the poor, the infirm and not only those able to pay for cars and the petrol with which to feed them after the austerity measures have made life in Roumania ever more difficult. This so-called 'project' is nothing more than Oprescu wanting to leave his name on a city, although it was accorded by another mayor 8 years ago, Oprescu could have saved Hala Matache. He says there's no good reason for these buildings to be on the national heritage list. What is he now? A historian? An architect? Someone who loves and respects the city over which he 'presides'? I think not. See HERE for more details on the criminalities of the demolitions so far carried out. The happenings on and around Birzei are nothing less than urban brutality. Urbanism? Architecture? What's good or not for Bucharest? None of that bears any importance.
(Photo source) One of the old, historic indoor markets of Bucharest, Matache Hall stands on str Buzesti. But not, it seems, for very much longer. Crime after crime, scar after scar, demolition after demolition. The destruction of the hall has already begun, according to the French Ambassador's report. The history of this building is fascinating and varied. It has borne the names Small Square, Storks' Nest Market Square, St Voievozi, St Stephen's Square, and owes its present name to a well-known butcher, Matache Loloescu, who worked in the area around 1879. He made it a landmark for excellent meat shopping and was quite a character. Although at one point, the market was almost moved, it remained in place.
After a period where the market was damaged, it continued to function and remain faithful to tradition and the marketing of good quality meat and cuts. It was renovated, new stalls were added and it was even equipped with video surveillance cameras (which is more than can be said for most hospitals in the country). This project to 'widen' str Buzesti and str V. Parvan has already resulted in the demolition of Hotel Marna and the 'Constantin Radulescu' House (deemed illegal by Salvati Bucuresti - both of these were listed as historic monuments) and other buildings are soon to follow - one of them being the Hala Matache.
I would like to know why the people of Bucharest don't form a huge human chain around Matache? Why won't they brave the bulldozers, the police? Why won't they stand up for the history and heritage of their city? Why are there so few who stick their necks out? I know a handful who would, but not way enough. Has the spirit of Bucharest been demolished along with its buildings and historic monuments? Nicusor Dan cannot and should not have to fight this struggle alone. Oprescu is out of his mind and fooling everyone when he says the market will be rebuilt nearby. One cannot rebuild a historic monument from 1879 in 2011 whether or not one has the 'old plans'. What a load of tripe. And one cannot rebuild history truthfully once it has been destroyed. Annihilation of history, patrimony, class and beauty was the ideology of the communist regime - and it is the only heritage that seems to live on in Bucharest today...