Civic Centre

The urban wasteland that is B-dul Unirii was intended as the Champs Elysee-style axis for Ceau^escu's civic project that saw him destroy an entire suburb to build the Palace of Parliament and Piata Unirii.

It runs east for 3.2km from the square -built deliberately 6m longer than the Parisian boulevard. The 'Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism', as it was originally named, leads to a square at its western end, large enough to hold 300,000 people. Government ministries, the state prosecution office and the Romanian Intelligence Service (the successor to the Securitate) are housed in the vast civic centre buildings bordering the square. The once-elegant and expensive apartments at the western end lie half-empty and devoid of life.

Some 26 churches, two synagogues and a monastery in the city's most historic quarter were bulldozed to make way for this project, and about 70,000 people made homeless.

On the southern side of the Palace of Parliament is the huge, half-built National Institute for Science & Technology (Map pp54-5; Calea 13 Septembrie), of which Elena Ceau^escu was president. West is the new Ministry of Defence (Map pp54-5; Calea 13 Septembrie).

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