The great escape: how Bucharest rolled entire churches to safety

By Kit Gillet in Bucharest

When Bucharest faced a radical redesign in the 1980s under communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, engineers moved complete buildings hundreds of metres on metal tracks to preserve the Romanian capital's architectural heritage

It must be startling to look out of your window and see a centuries-old church rolling by. Even more so if you are in communist Romania in the 1980s, where news is state-controlled and everyday items rationed. And yet, between 1982 and 1988 almost a dozen churches, as well as other buildings, were moved hundreds of metres in order to save them from destruction, as dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu went about radically redesigning the heart of Bucharest, the Romanian capital.

That a communist country would go out of its way to save churches is strange enough, but the method of saving them, when other countries would probably have tried to dismantle the buildings and reassemble them elsewhere, makes the achievement all the more impressive.

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Source: The great escape: how Bucharest rolled entire churches to safety