This is not an urban park and it’s not the city seen from the outside.

This patch of wilderness has formed pretty much by itself, not far from downtown Bucharest, on the site of a huge construction project of the communist era. Trees began to grow, water accumulated and formed small lakes, reeds started conquering everything. And then foxes, rabbits, rats and hedgehogs and birds of all kinds made it their home.

All this life that has been pushed away by the city to its margins and towards extinction is now claiming its right to exist here. A few years ago, it has been finally granted the status of natural park and protected area.

A long time ago, I lived at some point close to what was then a deserted project site. I knew about it and I kind of circled it from afar, but I’ve never actually entered. To go there was to look for trouble.

In a Terry Gilliam movie (Twelwe Monkeys, 1995), nature takes over the deserted city, as most of the human population is wiped out by a virus. It’s the post-apocaliptic comeback of wilderness.

Fortunately, this wild area developed without Bucharest being destroyed. But part of it was. This used to be a residential area, with small houses, gardens and narrow streets. They were wiped out to make space for the wet dreams of a communist dictator, just as many other historical areas of the city. The project failed and then the dictator fell. And the area started a life of its own.

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