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Demolition begins on tower block by St Joseph’s Cathedral, Bucharest

19 August 2022

Alamy

St Joseph’s Cathedral, Bucharest, and the offending tower block

St Joseph’s Cathedral, Bucharest, and the offending tower block

WORK has begun to demolish a 75-metre office block that overshadows the Roman Catholic cathedral in Bucharest, after the city’s mayor accepted court orders ruling that it was built illegally.

The Mayor of Bucharest, Nicuşor Dan, explained in a social-media post: “Since 2013, our City Hall has been compelled by final court orders to demolish this building — our goal now is for the site to be harmoniously reintegrated into Bucharest’s urban landscape.

“The expenses will be borne initially by the municipality, and then recovered from the building’s owners. After years of prevarication, I’m confident the move can now go ahead.”

Construction of the 19-floor commercial Cathedral Plaza tower was authorised by city officials in 2006, despite appeals by the Roman Catholic Church that it imperilled the 19th-century Gothic-Romanesque St Joseph’s Cathedral.

In a website statement, Archbishop Aurel Percă of Bucharest welcomed the mayor’s order as a victory “for not just Catholics but all citizens of Romania”. He hoped that it would spur other acts of reparation for “legal frauds”, which had damaged Romania’s historical heritage.

An executive of a demolition company, Dana Ioanitescu, said that a “delicate operation” lay ahead, involving the separate dismantling of each floor “piece by piece with the help of cranes”.

The 116-metre Besarab Tower, built in Bucharest under communist rule in the 1980s to test lifts for a new State Assembly, was demolished using similar methods in 2020.

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