Explicitly Communist architecture gets a unfairly bad rap from critics. Sure, builders behind the Iron Curtain were overly fond of dismal panelaks and other multi-dwelling units that reeked of dingy misery. But when the last true believers in the dictatorship of the proletariat decided to go the triumphalist route, man, did they ever pull it off with quirky verve.
The most famous example of this may be the equestrian statue on Prague’s Vitkov Hill, which actually conceals a secret meeting room where party apparatchiks once gathered to machinate. (We know this because we once snuck into said room circa 1996, only to discover the filming of an English-language Pepsi commercial.) But our favorite example of triumphal Communist architecture is definitely the Prometheus statue at Romania’s Vidraru Dam. What better way to celebrate man’s mastery over flowing water than by commissioning Constantin Popovici to build a 10-meter-high statue of the man who gave us the gift of fire (and subsequently paid for this transgression in the most grisly fashion imaginable)?
We probably shouldn’t have expected anything less than grandeur from Nicolae Ceausescu, though. The man definitely had a thing for oversized structures; pity that he didn’t dedicate similar passion to ratcheting down his own evil quotient.