Bucharest

All Aboard: The No. 32 Tram

20 Apr 2017

Starting in the south-western corner of Piata Unirii, Bucharest’s tram No. 32 runs to the very south of the city, to Depoul Alexandria. Often a garish pink colour, the trams which serve the 32 route depart Piata Unirii every 10 minutes or so and head along B-dul Regina Maria, whose small apartment blocks and once elegant villas give something of an idea as to how the rest of the capital looked before the bulldozers of the 1980s destroyed it.

Crossing Piata George Cosbuc, the tram climbs up Strada George Cosbuc, passing (on the right) Bere Rahova, once the largest brewery in the city. A wonderful example of late 19th century industrial architecture, the building cries out to be put to good use. So far, just one building at the rear has been renovated, but how! The Ark (Calea Rahovei 196A; www.theark.ro) is a shining example of what might be.

The building went up in 1898, the work of Anghel Saligny, most famous for his bridge across the Danube at Fetesti/Cernavoda. It today houses offices (media companies, mainly), concept stores and various regular events. There is a farmers’ market (www.targultaranului.ro) weekend mornings. By night, the Ark occasionally transforms into a club: check the website for details of the latest events.

Leaving the Ark behind, the No. 32 moves on towards Rahova, passing any number of derelict houses, and some which look derelict but which are in fact occupied by squatters. Look behind the peeling paintwork and chipped facades, and you can see that all of these buildings were lovely, once. Far more modern is the Liberty Centre, all glass and steel, and which unsurprisingly stands out amongst its surroundings. One of the largest shopping malls in the city, it houses a 3D, multi-screen cinema, and an artificial skating rink.

A little further on, on the other side of road, is the enormous Electromagnetica plant. Today both a supplier of electrical distribution hardware and an electricity distributor, it was founded in 1930 and was the first local company to produce telephone exchanges. It is one of the few major plants in the area (which was once the industrial heartland of Bucharest) that continues to operate.

You know you’ve hit Calea Rahovei when the garishly coloured blocks begin to appear. Borrowing an idea from Tirana, Albania, of all places, the colouful, barely literate mayor of this colourful district, Marian Vanghelie, decided some years ago to brighten the place up. That was done by painting blocks red, yellow, blue, green and just about any colour you can think of. The results are not quite spectacular, but they do give the place a bit of life. Done better (plastering the blocks before applying the paint might have helped…) it could well look rather good.

At the far end of Calea Rahova is Piata Rahova, one of the biggest produce markets in the city. Opposite is the madness of Centru Comercial Rahova, a flea market where you can find anything and everything. On Saturday mornings you can barely move, and entering is not for the faint hearted. Keep your hand on your wallet.

There’s not much more to see, but completists who want the full tram No. 32 experience should stay on board to the final stop, Depoul Alexandria. Don’t make the mistake of staying on board thinking the tram will immediately turn around and go back to whence it came (as it does at the other end of the line, at Piata Unirii). Here it could just as well head straight for the depot, you with it.

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Over a year ago
Edyta
Bucuresti
Tram no. 32 is real madness - you never have a spot there. Im leaving on Rahova since few months and this tram for me its a nightmare... At least I can recommend Piata Rahova :) Really everything that you possibly need in Bucharest :D
Over a year ago
LEONARD WELLS
,
Yes, love this tram ride. I adore the quaint tram system of Bucharest. Did you know the steel wheel on a steel rail is 600% more efficient than a rubber tyred wheel on a tarmac road? No wonder the planet is dying. The car manufacturers could'nt care less.In America they bought up railways and ripped up the tracks. They tried to do a similar thing in the UK.In my home town of Haslingden (30 miles -45 kms -due north of Manchester- we scrapped our trams in 1930! 80 years ago! We went backwards!
Over a year ago
mike jones
Bucharest for 9 years now
The building on Calea Rahovei where The Ark operates was never industrial, it was the headquarters of the Romanian Mercantile Exchange. It is not the only building in the area that has been renovated - the Bragadiru Palace and the Beer Factory have also been renovated (although the factory seems not to have found a buyer at the price the current owner would sell). And purple trams? There are maybe 2 left in the whole city - for 11 years now RATB's tram livery is white with some yellow inserts.
Over a year ago
Parmalat
Romania,
=)) keep your hands on the wallet! When are you travelling to Berceni? Please make one story of the same kind in Berceni :D
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