If you are interested in post-industrial architecture Bucharest and parts of Romania are a treasure trove of places. The main difference to other places in Europe or US is that in Romania the demise of the industry did not happen organically caused by the demise of the need of the respective products manufactured cheaper in other places but by the bribe-hungry and incompetent Romanian politicians who in cahoots with the real estate sharks sold the entire industry for pennies. Entire factories and industrial complexes, sometimes brand new, were razed and sold for scrap metal to be replaced by malls and apartment complexes of a questionable taste and necessity.
Luckily some factories were saved in successful privatizations, like the old Wolf Enterprises, a pre-war major manufacturer of heavy equipment, nationalized by the communists who sent home his Swiss trained personal and replaced the chief engineer with a Communist with a 4th grade diploma. Nowadays the old factory halls, with its unique brick and metal walls are renovated hosting impressive cultural activities being branded as “Carol Halls”.
Deep inside Carol Park are the buildings of the National Institute of Astronomy hosting the Bucharest Planetarium.
Inside one of the buildings was seated one of the first government of unified Romania at the middle of the 19th century.
On the same industrial platform are some of the country monopolies, minting, stamps that operated for a long time together with the matches factory.
In the basement of the stamp factory is preserved a bomb shelter built by the Germans before the war, with impeccably preserved German technology of the time.
A short walk away is located the largest ceremony hall in Bucharest inside Bragadiru Palace. The Bragadiru family who was able to recover the property, impeccably renovated the palace with the original decorative elements. The palace was built in the 19th century by a man who started as a helper in a factory and became during his lifetime one of the richest men in Europe. Owner of many major businesses including a famous brewery that lasted till very recently, he built the sumptuous palace not for himself but as an educational place for his factory workers who came here for concerts and opera. He never forgot his humble roots and his charitable efforts were well-known during his life time.
The tour I joined to visit these places that are mainly out of reach was organized by Zeppelin, an architecture, urbanism and culture organization that makes a huge effort in saving the city industrial and architectural patrimony.