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Bucharest Mall

The Bucharest Mall is a modern shopping mall located in Bucharest, Romania.

The 4-story, 50,000 square meter mall opened in 1999, in a building that had been one of the incomplete, abandoned, domed "Hunger circuses" (officially "agro-alimentary complexes") left behind at the time of the downfall and execution of Nicolae Ceauşescu in 1989. The transformation of an unfinished hunger circus into a western-style mall was 40-million dollar project, under the aegis of the Turkish firm Bayindir Fiba SA. Located on Calea Vitan in Bucharest's Sector 6, approximately a kilometer outside of the city's historic center, the mall -- despite it's communist-era architectural origin -- now stands in stark contrast to the surrounding, undistinguished communist-era apartment buildings.

Some 70 stores (including a large supermarket), over 25 restaurants and cafes (most of them gathered together in a food court with common seating), the 10-screen Hollywood Multiplex Bucharest Mall cinema, a bowling alley, a child-care center, a video games arcade, a public library, and an exhibition space for young artists surround an airy atrium, with escalators running at skewed angles through the inherited, translucent, communist-era dome. A fountain located on the ground floor directly under the dome periodically shoots jets of water 4 stories up, almost to the roof. The parking lot has over 1000 spaces, in a city where having any parking spaces specific to a commercial building is a novelty.

Several western writers have remarked on what they see as the mall's relatively lackluster selection of stores (although many concede that the selection has been steadily improving), but Mihaela Gegea, writing at the time of the mall's opening in the English-language Romanian daily Nine O'Clock is probably more typical of Romanian reaction, writing of "how a sordid building was transformed... into a more than enjoyable place."