January 14, 1917 - Russians Tenaciously Defend Riga but Germans Advancing Again in Romania, Morale Very Low in Russian Army
Pictured - Dead Russian soldiers fallen near Riga.
The quiet Baltic front had heated up recently as German divisions probed the Russian lines at Riga. No break through yet, however. The Russians continued to man their trenches, fighting off a number of German attacks. Elsewhere on the Eastern Front, however, the Entente was in more dire straits. On the Central Front, in Romania, Russian and Romanian troops were handed a fresh defeat after the occupation of Bucharest in December.
Things were quiet elsewhere, but there was a tangible sense of impending disaster within the Russian ranks. Soldiers were beginning to retreat without permission and a flood of deserters left the lines. An amazing 1.5 million Russian troops had deserted in total the year before, and things continued to get worse. Most went home to their farms, where they had heard that 50% of the Russian population was starving. Many peasants had lost land to rich landowners, and peasant soldiers returned to maintain their territory. Elsewhere in the Russian Empire, Tsarist authorities persecuted minority groups, firing all Jews in government and sending wounded Jewish soldiers to Siberia.
We all know Gara de Nord in northern Bucharest. But did you know Bucharest almost had a Central station along the Dâmbovița river? Unfortunately it never got built. The building would’ve been spectaculair. The French architect Alexandre Marcel had great plans for it. And after Marcel, Victor Stefanescu tried to draw a new train station for the Romanian capital. But it was not to be.
Romanian architect Vlad Rusu has resurrected a “cultural palace” that was originally built in the 1930s but has sat in ruin for 20 years after being ravaged by fire. Rusu won a competition to overhaul the ageing structure in Blaj, a small city in central Romania. The aim was to create a multipurpose space suitable for a wide variety of events, from theatre performances to exhibitions and conferences.
A short series of photographs from my recent travels in central Romania.
Top to bottom, left to right: Mausoleum in Cluj-Napoca Cemetery, Church of Saint Nicholas in Brasov, Clock Tower of Sighisoara Citadel, Chandelier in The Dormiton of the Theotokos Cathedral, A corridor to a study in Pelisor Castle, The Church on the Hill in Sighisoara, two interiors - the grand entry, and a sitting room, in Peles Castle, Sinaia.
The Kilometre Zero monument (Romanian: Kilometrul Zero) located in central Bucharest, Romania, in front of Saint George’s Church, was created by Constantin Baraski in 1938.
The distances from Bucharest to other cities in Romania are measured from this monument. It is divided into eight sections, each representing a Romanian historical province: Muntenia, Dobrogea, Bessarabia, Moldavia, Bucovina, Transylvania, Banat and Oltenia. Among the cities inscribed on it are also Chişinău, Orhei, Tighina, which are currently in the Republic of Moldova, as well as Silistra and Dobrich (Bazargic) in Bulgaria, which were part of Greater Romania from 1913 to 1940.
Okay, since I’m on a roll. This is a typical house in a Roma neighborhood in central Romania. I happen to love Romania. Of course I’d love anywhere where the traffic is three ancient POS cars and a horse-drawn buckboard. And where life seems to have topped out about 300 years ago. But seriously, this roof treatment is insane, where does one find a contractor who has these mad ornamentation skills…?