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Romania: Cismigiu Gardens

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Cismigiu Gardens | Romania | Europe

[Visited: October 2007 and before]

With the curious mix of old and modern, elegant and brutal, one old and crucial element of Bucharest has survived changes that were so drastic elsewhere in the city: Cismigiu Gardens. Once swamps where a pump was installed to provide for drinking water (cismigiu translates freely as manager of public fountains), Cismigiu Gardens were inaugurated in the mid-19th century as the first city park, and has remained the largest park of central Bucharest ever since. The swamps were conquered, the park was to have a formal and a romantic part - and it still has. The western side has long, straight lanes, with neatly planted trees and flowers, statues, while the eastern part has curving paths, lakes, and is generally less strictly organized and more picturesque.

Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Man walking in Cismigiu gardens

The architect of the park, Viennese Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Meyer, fell in love with the city, had a relationship with an army commander and died in the city at a young age. Trees were taken from other parts of Romania and planted in the park, it held a small zoo, and it soon became an important place for the inhabitants of Bucharest to meet. Cismigiu Gardens was the place to go for a stroll, for a moment of peace, for a chat with friends, or - inevitably - for lovers. The size of the park, 17 hectares, means it is big enough to hide, yet small enough to walk through. The park is littered with statues, for famous Romanian cultural persons, for French soldiers killed in action in Romania during the First World War, and others.

Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Reflection of statue in Cismigiu Gardens

Not much has changed over the years. When I first visited Cismigiu Gardens in the mid-1980s, it was cold, but still I found many people taking a walk in the park. During my last visit, the autumn weather was perfect, and I saw scenes that I could have seen a hundred years ago: old Romanians chatting on one of the many benches of the park, an drunken man hanging over a bench, completely wasted, girls playing hide and seek, Romanian men playing chess and other games, young couples walking circling the park, looking for a secluded spot where they could exchange their passionate kisses. Bucharest has known many changes in the last 150 years; Cismigiu Gardens is a beacon the people can trust will be there for them.

Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Sunny Cismigiu Gardens with resting Romanians
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Terrace with a view over Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Trees reflected in the lake of Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Romanians relaxing in Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Romanians playing games in Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Shady lane in Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Romanians under an enormous tree in Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Reading a paper on a bench in Cismigiu Gardens: old Romanian woman
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Romanian women on a bench in Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Romanian girl on the phone in Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Terrace in Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Statue in Cismigiu Gardens
Picture of Cismigiu Gardens (Romania): Romanian cultural personalities in the Roman Round

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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