-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
-design Florin Alexandru Stancu
-special guest astrophotographer
(the introductory photo plus a few photos during the event)
Valentin Grigore-

On the morning of 1 November 2016,
Valentin Grigore (president of SARM) photographed Venus and Jupiter
over the heaviest building and the largest palace in the world,
the current seat of Romanian Parliament.

I have to confess that I hated this building for many years
because it was ordered by a cruel dictator in 1984,
and for this objective he destroyed much of historical Bucharest.

However, after more Romanian and international protests,
a few old churches from that area were saved during those times
by the brilliant initiative of an engineer, Eugen Iordachescu,
whose invention moved them out of the destructive storm.

The most important pearl of old Romanian architecture
which was moved (even 300 metres!) was the Mihai Voda Church,
made in 1594 by the first unifier of the Romanian medieval countries
(Wallachia, Moldova and Transylvania),
Mihai Viteazul (the Brave).

Thus, today I can see
a part of the past (the old church)
pushed from its original place
by a part of the present (the new palace)…

Only later I changed my opinion,
understanding that finally, after a bloody anticommunist revolution,
the genius of the Romanian people (the real constructor)
amended the initial sense of the giant building
(finished a few years after the dictator was killed)
from the immense pyramid of a totalitarian regime
into a colossal house of democracy.

However, having contradictory memories,
I still hesitated for about 20 years to visit the palace of parliament,
although I lived close to it.

But in the first part of 2016
I photographed its façade under
a moving dusk, the planet Venus and a tangent arc.

I also photographed its northern side…

…also with the planet Venus, a sunset and the Moon.

These were just the preamble
of a surprisingly positive gesture of destiny.

In 1 November 2016
I visited the palace for the first time,
accompanying Valentin Grigore as participants at the “Lights of the World”,
an international congress dedicated to
the International Year of Light and the UNESCO jubilee of 70 years,
an initiative that transformed the building into a palace of light.

Eager and thrilled,
in that week I found out another interesting position to photograph the palace:
at a distance of a few kilometers, from the direction of the sunset,
along the Dambovita River.

I caught it surrounded by the colors of the dusk,
and then, closer to it, under the Moon.

On the nominated day I saw
the Morning Moon and the Morning Sun,
and I followed Valentin Grigore
toward and inside the impressive palace,
where he had already arranged
a superb exhibition of international astrophotography
(including many of his own works).

Then Valentin Grigore presented a complex work,
Light from Universe vs. Light Pollution,
which I completed with a short intervention about Romania under Lights,
our series of astrohaiga
(mainly combining my astrohaiku and his astrophotography)
published by Astronomers Without Borders during 2016.

After that amazing experience
I asked myself:

My God,
what was in my mind
that I avoided for so many years
the largest palace in the world,
made by my Romanian compatriots
(hundreds of architects and tens of thousands of workers)
right in my native city?

And this time, full of a proud inertia,
I continued to photograph over there
sunsets and dusks until the beginning of 2016.

Then I returned for a few weeks to the last special position,
trying to hunt a quite satisfactory image
and to find a philosophical-poetical conclusion.

Watch the birds
As heavenly bodies.

And fly!

But don’t look for too much light
In earthly large palaces.

I’ll tell you why.

Just because the largest luminous palace
Is even the sky!


© 2016 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)