On my first visit to Ghencea Cemetery, on a chilly, grey winter afternoon, I had little time to search for the grave of the Ceaucescu's. After their mock trial during the Romanian Revolution, after they had fled Bucharest when a rally turned sour in December 1989, they were shot on the spot, and their bodies ultimately ended up in the cemetery I was walking in - even though there are still rumours that the graves of Ghencea Cemetery supposedly holding their remains, are empty. With the misgivings of most Romanians concerning the couple who held power for decades in Romania, it was decided that the graves of Nicolae and Elena could not be next to each other. In fact, on my first visit, I only spotted the grave of Nicolae, tucked away between other, more importantly looking, graves. A lone candle was lit on his grave, there were some flowers that obviously had started to wilt some time ago. As the day was coming to a close, and daylight was disappearing into the darkish December afternoon, the sight had a certain hint of tragedy.
During that visit, I was not able to locate the grave of Elena, and so it was that I returned to Ghencea Cemetery on a summer morning in search of the grave of the woman who is widely believed to have had an even worse impact on Romanian society during the dictatorship years. I found her pretty quickly, as she lies on the other side of the main aisle leading from the entrance to the chapel. But some security guards were circling around me, and after some time, approached me, talking to me in Romanian and, finally, pointing to my camera and saying "No photos, da?". I patiently let them walk away, and continued my exploration of the cemetery. I could not resist taking pictures of the cemetery, as I had come to appreciate the graves overgrown by flowers, the green appearance: Ghencea Cemetery definitely has a very romantic atmosphere.
I returned to the grave of Elena and took some pictures of this simple resting place before continuing to the other side of Ghencea Cemetery. I noticed that some of the graves had bluish propellor blades with a Romanian flag painted on top: they are some of the Romanian aviation heroes buried at Ghencea. Apparently, also the pilot who flew the Ceaucescu's to temporary safety from Bucharest in those dark days in December, is buried here. For sure, one of their sons, Nicu, is buried near to the main Chapel. I came across other security staff who saluted me. One of them, however, took out his walkie talkie, and before I knew it, his colleagues, the ones I had met initially, were on the spot. They were starting some nervous, unpleasant discussion with me, and I realized that the wisest thing to do would be to move on and leave the cemetery.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ghencea Cemetery (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Ghencea Cemetery.
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