de Rareş Constantin şi Şerb Sofia
foto: Victor Ignat
“I was strolling through the building when I suddenly heard some groans. I wondered what could that be. A loud voice shouted something incomprehensible due to the fact that it didn’t articulate every word… or maybe it was speaking a secret language, unknown to the oblivious commoner I am. It obviously made my blood run cold, but that did not stop me from my exploration. I was fascinated by the ruins, by the walls that once belonged to a hospital. My moment of concentration on the ominous surroundings was put to an end by the swoosh of a glass shard passing by my ear. I faced the direction it came from… in that instant my life flashed before my eyes. I started speeding towards the exit. Pebbles, gravel and shards were smacking against the walls. The walls were not the only ones affected by the attacker, my leg being pierced by the small bits of debris as well. I kept running until my spleen gave up and said “No I don’t want to run anymore. You can die, burn alive, whatever. I do not want to run anymore.” Being in an emergency situation, I swiftly grabbed a corroded brick and threw it behind me, where the shard came from. With a final blow, I defeated my assaulter and was able to get out of the building. It may sound like a movie but that’s just one of many adventures I had in phantom buildings.”
Abandoned buildings have been trending lately. Everyone seems to be interested in ruins, but not everyone is prepared enough for such an experience… and yet social media has been met with an overflow of pictures of their interiors. These places are urban artists’ and graffers’ favourites as well. The majority prefers them because drawing on ruins is more or less legal, without getting into trouble with the police. Most of the time they practice their newest sketches or make complex and coloured drawings they usually can’t make on the street without breaking the law. Even so, artists aren’t the only ones who visit these places, airsoft and paintball enthusiasts using the ruins as hideaway for shooters.
There are as many abandoned buildings as there are urban legends about them. The most common rumours circulating the neighbourhoods are the ones regarding the unusual and borderline occult rituals happening inside such places. There are no reliable sources confirming all of that, but what’s for sure is that strange things happen inside the nearly-collapsed walls. Homeless people along with other creatures such as rats, mice, bats and stray dogs take shelter there, people meet up to make illegal affairs because the police don’t patroll in such sites and, in the worst case scenarios, the wreckage serves as hiding place for corpses.
The most popular place of the sort is the “Adevărul Palace”, one of the most well-known press centers in Romania, projected by the architect Ștefan Ciocârlan, who followed the model of the Figaro palace from Paris, and inaugurated 114 years ago. Shortly after the inauguration of the building, it was confiscated by the German headquarters who printed there the “Bukarest Tageblatt” paper. In 1940, Constantin Mille sold the two publications the banker Aristide Blank owned, and Constantin Graur became the editorial director. The latter demolished the old body of the palace and replaced it with one made of reinforced concrete, bought a neighbouring building and linked them to make a greater press center. He equiped the typography with the most performant apparatus at the time and began printing here six other weekly publications, marking the age of glory of the gazettes later united and known under the name of “Adevărul”. The publication was suppressed in 1951 by communists and replaced by the “Luceafărul” newspaper, which was privatized after the Revolution. The current owners haven’t made their minds up yet on what to do with the building.
What do you think about abandoned buildings? Are they magical places, full of stories and adventures or just some bricks corroded by time and rain?