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Ştei, Romania

Witness to a period of totalitarian post-war regimes

Constructed in the 1950s during the Soviet regime, today Ştei is an open-air museum, witnessing a period of totalitarian post-war regimes.

The town of Ştei (former City of Dr. Petru Groza) keeps in situ several buildings erected during the Soviet regime between 1952 and 1956. This urban ensemble almost perfectly preserved is witness to of a period of totalitarian post-war regimes. During the 1960s, the urban site was named after a high political figure of Communist Romania, Dr. Petru Groza. After the fall of the Communist regime in 1989 (precisely in 1996), the original name of the town was restored: Ştei.

Prosperous garden city

It was in Moscow that the Soviets had designed an entirely new town because of the rich and exceptionally pure uranium ore deposit in the area of Băiţa village. For ten years the area was militarized. During that time, the intensive exploitation of the uranium ore made Ştei a prosperous town, a tendency that continued even after the Russians withdrew. The result of this vast and intensive mining operation was a functional urban design, configured like a “garden city” and following a strictly rectangular street grid. The rich vegetation and trees (particularly poplars and walnut trees) of the green inner courtyards not only provided the inhabitants with fruits, but also absorbed the mining radiation.

Functional urban design

The urban design included large public buildings, blocks of flats, rustic houses, green neighbourhoods with three types of two-storied housing units, as well as wide streets, such as the central street V.I. Lenin, which is four lanes wide. The former City of Dr. Petru Groza is an outstanding example of functional urban design, making Ştei an open-air museum, able to tell the history of urban planning during the Communist period in Romania.