The city of Ploiești as remembered by its people

the city of ploiești as remembered by its people Recent publication brings together recollections of Ploiești residents about their city.

Once known as "the capital of black gold" in Romania, Ploiești, a city located just north of Bucharest, has had a troubled but interesting history. Thanks to the crude oil reserves on its outskirts, the city developed quickly beginning with the end of the 19th century. Large imposing buildings began to be built and the prospect of enrichment started to attract a variety of people, including from other countries, who settled in Ploiești and contributed to the local life. A recent editorial project from the Association for Education and Urban Development consisting of four volumes focuses on the recollections of people who were born and grew up in Ploiești but who have ended up living elsewhere. The latest book in this series was published recently under the title Ploieștiul amintirilor noastre ("Ploiești in Our Recollections"). Historian Lucian Vasile, who was involved in the project, tells us more:

"The book is a natural continuation of an endeavour that began five years ago. We didn't imagine at the time that we would come this far, but the response from readers and those who were willing to share their memories and their family and personal stories was extremely positive. The latest book in the series continues some of the stories from previous books and also contains texts from new contributors. The authors come from different backgrounds, have different professions, are of different ages and write about different places and periods. The stories cover almost an entire century of the city's history and the whole city, from its outskirts, where the oil refineries are located, to what has remained of the historical centre."

The latest collective volume dedicated to Ploiești contains the contributions of 11 authors, some of whom also contributed to the previous volumes and who belong to inter-war, post-war and contemporary generations. Historian Lucian Vasile is back with more details about the different authors:

"One of them is a young man who writes about the city as he knew it in his childhood in the 1990s. An older author writes about the city's merchants almost half a century ago, while another remembers what Ploiești used to be like during the communist period. The latter's account is quite amusing, although it also refers to the dramatic events of 1989. The entire Romanian society has undergone radical changes in recent decades. For the very young, the stories about the 1990s sometimes seem unbelievable. They are still part of our recent history and a piece of the jigsaw puzzle when it comes to local history. History is not only about what happened hundreds of years ago or 80 years ago, but also about what happened 20 or 30 years ago. And this is history we need to know about and understand in order to be able to understand our present."

Apart from publishing books, the Association for Education and Urban Development is also involved in organising guided tours of the historical part of Ploiești and the urban transformations, often unfortunate, which they city saw during the communist period. These tours are popular not only with local residents, but also with people from Bucharest and other cities. Historian Lucian Vasile explains:

"Our tours are primarily about history. The stories we tell in our books and our guided tours complement the information provided by local museums. As a matter of fact, Ploiești has some excellent museums which are different from the museums in other parts of the country in terms of theme. I'm thinking about the Clock Museum and the Hagi Prodan Burgher's House Museum. The recent past still generates heated debate and I think Romanian society is yet to reach a consensus or a common, universally accepted view about its recent past. At the end of the day, however, it's only natural to have different views. For some, the radical transformations that began in 1945 were disastrous and tragic, and the crimes and destruction that followed cannot be denied. For others, however, the same events were also an opportunity to climb the social ladder. Places and buildings that appeared in the wake of the destruction of historical heritage and which are seen by some as very ugly are considered by others to be an integral part of an improvement in living standards and housing in the case of apartment blocks. Each view has its own reasoning, and we must understand and accept it."

That was historian Lucian Vasile from the Association for Education and Urban Development, which recently published a fourth book in a series dedicated to the history of the city of Ploiesti in the last 100 years as seen by former residents.
Publicat: 2021-01-10 14:00:00
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