Spotlight Festival Series: Atheneum And Kretzulescu Church Park

in photography •  10 months ago

Today is the last day of the Bucharest International Spotlight festival, an event which lasted for 4 days. It's a very interesting and dynamic event, mixing lightning and sound with abstract movies projections on various buildings in Romania's capital, Bucharest.

I will try to give you a little bit of a context, though. For the last few years, Romania has been dramatically affected by corruption and, after the last elections, in 2016, the population has been deeply polarized: the vast majority (including rural areas and small cities) is siding with the ruling party (which won the elections en fanfare), and a small, but vocal minority (big cities, entrepreneurs) is siding with a more progressive view, which favors, amongst other things, normal values (like honesty and entrepreneurship).

In 2017 there were huge street protests against some of the ruling party initiatives, which aimed at institutionalizing corruption (it sounds Sci-Fi, but, unfortunately, it isn't). Nothing really happened after that, the initiatives were just temporarily stopped, while the ruling party (which has a comfortable Parliament majority) is still trying to make them happen using other courses of action. At the same time, they are rolling more and more populist measures, some of them downright phantasmagoric.

The effects are starting to be seen: because they raised salaries across the supporting population spectrum, without any support from economical factors, the RON-USD rate spiked and inflation is heading towards 5%. On the front, the rulers are chanting economical growth, but on the back, they're desperately looking for money to close all those electoral deals they have to pay now. They're so desperate that, sometimes, ANAF, the IRS equivalent, is simply inventing more taxes and freeze people's bank accounts without any warning at all. I know a lot of people in this situation (not to mention that I've been there too, for almost the entire 2017).

This context generated one of the biggest emigration waves on Romania's post-communist history. Supposedly, around half a million people silently relocated from the country since 2016. Although we're not fighting on the streets for food, and you can still live a decent life (if you ignore the idiots and your bank accounts freezings), there is a very profound "ugly" vibe which tainted Romania's big cities. There's a lack of joy and a permanent state of alert: "what else are they going to do to us now?". People are barely smiling.

So, in this context, the Bucharest City Hall, in partnership with a few foundations, decided to deploy this festival. On the front, it is spectacular, and I commend the efforts behind it, while deeply enjoying huge parts of it. But once the festival lights are out, Bucharest gets back to its status of a decaying city.

Well, today I'm going to focus on the bright side, though, but I didn't want to do this without you knowing the big picture.

So, here is the first installment of pictures showing some of the iconic buildings of Bucharest being lit in Spotlight.

Romanian Atheneum

Here's how the Atheneum is looking during the day:


And here's how it looks during the night:


Kretzulscu Church Park

Right in the middle of Bucharest there is a brick-made church called Kretzulesc, and a very, very tiny bark behind it. Here's how the park looks during the day:


And here's how it looks during the night:


From the same spot, I turned 180 degree and took a photo of an administrative building, which also hosted some projections. Here's how it looks during the day:


And here's how it looks during the night:


That's it for the first installment, I'll be back soon with more pics and a couple of videos (which are even more spectacular than the shots).

I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.

Dragos Roua

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It looks like it was a wonderful festival but sorry to hear the context in which it happened.

The financial situation sounds a bit similar to what went on in Greece.

I hope you and @raluca can continue to thrive in such an environment. 💙

How are these iconic sights looking so beautiful in the day and at night looks so spectacularly beautiful. Romania, interesting, i will love to see and know more...thanks for sharing

That looking great , are you guys have it every year? i thinking about visit in Romania and this maybe a great chance for next year


It's the 4th edition already and I think they will continue to do it. If you want to come to Romania, I recommend spring (like now) or autumn. During winter and summer it's a bit uglier.

I sure that was very good one Bucharest is great city i been there 3 years ago and i have such great memories from there

I wasn't aware the situation is so dire in Romania. How about the president, isn't he progressive and supportive of "normal values"?


He looks like he is, but the Romanian Constitution doesn't give him too much leverage. Romania is a Parliamentary democracy and while there are a few checks and balances in place (the President accepts / rejects the PM, etc) not much can be done if a big majority has the Parliament. Slowly, they assimilate a lot of civil structures, which otherwise should be independent, so yes, Romania is heading towards an autocracy (like Hungary and Poland)...

The ruling party has Parliament majority thanks to its rural voters that are easy to fool and the lack of interest from the smart ones in voting.
Sometimes you don't seem to find a trustful figure to put that stamp on.


Not intending to start a political discussion here, as the tone of the post is rather optimistic (I did enjoy the festival greatly) but I don't believe in the "rural voters which are easier to fool" mantra anymore. If you look at the profile of the ruling party voters, you will see a lot of urban voters between 35-50, who have strong ties with the state apparatus (city hall clerks, civil servants, etc).

So it's more like a strongly pervasive mentality of "let them steal a lot if they leave us steal a little" than a really big discrepancy in the IQ of Romania inhabitants.

Romanian Atheneum is really beautiful and historical. The night view is awesome. Kretzulscu Church Park is such a beautiful place. If i get chance then i will must visit here. Thanks sir @dragosroua for sharing with us.

Well, tonight just enjoy the festival, tomorrow everyone might go back to the drawing table. But don't miss the celebration - it doesn't happens everyday. Does it?

Forgot to add: spectacular views, looks like you guys enjoy night life over day in Romania. I'll be waiting for the videos, I'm sure it's gonna put some smile on my face.

Wow i love them. Thanks for sharing my friend.

Very wonderful pictures and a very large theater
You are a professional photographer
I wish you all the happiness and spend the most beautiful times in the theater

The photos look great look like you had good time there

very excellent. i thinking about visit in Romania and this maybe a great chance for next yea

Romana travel place is quite beautiful and enjoy the trip to Romania in the joy of joy, otherwise you will miss a lot sir

Wow very amazing this hous ana excellent location.

Boring during the day..they become spectacular at night.

The picture is great but i prefer the night view , Cause the night view is much more interesting then the day view,,

thanks for share this pic.

Hope this festival bring back joy and happiness into the lives Romania's people.... Wonderful pics!... Looking forward for the second installment.

interesting shots you shared from there so good to know about it : )

Unsolicited proofreading

Right in the middle of Bucharest there is a brick-made church called Kretzulesc, and a very, very tiny bark behind it.


The concept and size of government is always a bigger problem than the integrity of the politicians.

Cryptocurrencies allow people to keep their money away from the greedy system.

Voting with your feet is an option you should not hesitate to take if you can afford it.


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Hello @dragosroua, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!

So, does progressive mean something different in Romania than say in the U.S., where what I normally understand it to mean (unfortunately), is the opposite of honesty and entrepreneurship. They don't usually admit to the former, but they do their level best to undo the latter.

The festival itself was very nice. The Atheneum in particular made a striking transformation. It was a good idea to take before and after images.

Maybe Romania could follow the way of the Spotlight Festival and simply transform? Okay. Still dreaming. I know. I wish you luck though. Thrive and stay safe.