Archives July 2015

Alternative Bucharest: Halele Carol

For those interested in the alternative venues of the capital, Halele Carol make a good example of a re-conversion that turned the former Hesper plant into a culture and events site. Along with other former industrial sites of the capital, such as the Bragadiru Palace and Factory or Customs Warehouse – the Ark, it stands proof of attempts to recover the city’s industrial heritage.

The plant started as a small shop established by Swiss engineer Erhardt Wolff in 1877 in Ghencea and transferred in 1887 on its current site. Soon the establishment expanded its activity and started manufacturing military equipment and installations for the heating industry. In 1921 the plot upon which the plant stood had a 15,000 sqm surface, it had its own internal railway and was directly linked through a deposit line to the railway station. During the Second World War, the plant manufactured mainly army-related equipment, while afterwards the production was geared towards equipment for the construction industry. The changing activity of the site is reflected also in the various names it carried through the years, from the Wolff-Hesper Factory to Steaua Rosie (the Red Star) to the present day Hesper.

Halele Carol3Once a new the urban plan for the Carol Park area was elaborated, the site was included in the green area, where the existing constructions would be turned into multi-functional spaces, serving as locations for sports, exhibitions and performances. Since the beginning of the year Halele Carol accommodated music concerts of alternative bands, music festival Rokolectiv, a Nordic Film night and many other architecture and design events.

If you manage to visit the site by September you can still catch the current exhibition of works by Norwegian artists and architect. Tackling the theme of post-industrial design, the exhibition is organized in partnership with the Norwegian art center USF Bergen and includes five large wood and metal objects that are meant to improve the appearance of the space.

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The whirlwind Vida lake

Spectacular water colors and an unusual development are the trademarks of the Vida Luncasprie lake in Bihor county. What sets the lake apart is the overflow in its middle, creating the impression of a whirlwind.

The lake is actually the accumulating site of a dam, built with a funnel-shaped overflow, meat to prevent the lower the water pressure on the dam in case of heavy rains. The overflow now sits in middle of the lake and gives it its unusual appearance.

The surrounding woods mirror on the lakes six-hectare surface making it change its colors with the seasons. The lake is about two kilometers long, running alongside a forestry road from where the entire scenery can be admired, away from noise, crowds and traffic.

The Vida Gorge is nearby and is also worth a visit. For those with a drive to explore more, the Rosia valley in close vicinity is home to tens of caves, the best-known of which are the Farcu crystals cave and the Meziad cave. The roads nearby are used for off-road sports while the lake is a good destination for fishing.

How to get there: take the E81 and DN76/E79, passing through Ramnicu Valcea, Sibiu and Hunedoara. The route can be checked here.

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