On the outskirts of Bucharest, there was once a romantic neighborhood called Văcărești with cobblestones roads and quaint little houses with small kitchen gardens. During the 1970s, the area was bulldozed as part of the brutal communist urban planning programme. A huge field was dug up in order to create a reservoir that was supposed to provide water for an enormous housing project that was never, leaving this vast area abandoned for decades. Through time and paradoxically, through the luck of being a country with economic upheavals, developers were discouraged from investing in this landscape, creating a unique opportunity for nature. Without any human intervention or planning, nature itself created a green oasis that stands in contrast to the highways and skyscrapers surrounding it. What used to be a gigantic mud hole in the middle of a concrete landscape has turned into one of Romania’s richest biodiverse ecosystems – a true sanctuary for 100 different bird species, and for Mr. Gică and his family who settled here 18 years ago.
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