Much fuss being made of late by the Dorobanti glitterati about the forthcoming demolition of Hala Matache, an old Bucharest market hall which stands in the way of Bulevardul Uranus, a much needed thoroughfare that will link the north and south of Bucharest, creating a new traffic flux to relieve pressure on Bulevards Balcescu, Magheru and Ana Ipatescu:
Around a third of the route of Bulevardul Uranus is new, while the rest requires the widening of the existing Strada Berzei. It is here that buildings, including Hala Matache, are having to be demolished.
Unlike a number of infrastructure projects planned for Bucharest, Bulevardul Uranus makes real sense, and is supported by a large majority of the city’s population. You can read about some of the other projects (in Romanian) here. The Mihai Bravu flyover – on which work began last month – seems particularly pointless, especially as there is so much congestion just a kilometre or so further south, at Piata Sudului, where there is a real need for a flyover or underpass.
As usual, however, a reactionary minority is opposed to Bulevardul Uranus, and, having seen the back of the Dambovita Centre (which will now not be built following the utterly predictable collapse of the developer) has focussed its efforts at protest on Hala Matache, which dates from 1887.
To us, it hardly appears to merit the effort. It is no great architectural beauty, and in our experience – we once lived nearby and used to shop here – was always a frightful place, rife with pickpockets and speculators. It was not a great market at all. It is an ordinary building on an ordinary street, which was surrounded by derelict houses and buildings – most of which have now gone. They will not be missed.
Of course, in an ideal world Hala Matache would not have to be demolished. But this is not an ideal world: this is a growing metropolis which needs to meet the needs of its inhabitants.
But for those enemies of rationalism who oppose any and all projects which offer very real, practical solutions for the needs of the people of Bucharest, that is not really the point.