Past and present come together in Romania

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Past and present come together in Romania

To celebrate Romania’s holding the Francophonie summit in 2006, as well as the country’s induction into the European Union in January 2007, there is a photography exhibit and film showing at the Korea Foundation’s culture center in Jung-gu, central Seoul. The exhibition, entitled “Bucharest ― The Capital of Francophonie,” is organized by the Romanian embassy in Korea and sponsored by the Korea Foundation. It features 49 photographs taken by 11 photographers, including Paul Buciuta and Aurel Virlan, who work for a national news agency in Romania called Rompres. Most of the photographs are of Bucharest, the capital of Romania, and some show different political leaders during the Francophonie summit last year. Black-and-white photographs of the city during the earlier part of the 20th century sit next to color pictures of modern day Bucharest. Between 1930 and 1940, the city’s architecture flourished, but both the world wars damaged many of the representative edifices. In the late 1980s, many of these were rebuilt. Visitors will get to see historic Romanian buildings such as the Parliament Palace and the Romanian Atheneum.
“I hope this will be an invitation and motivation to visit my country,” said Valeriu Arteni, the ambassador of Romania to Korea. The ambassador looked around the exhibition hall during the opening ceremony last Wednesday and commented on the different architectural achievements of the city. “This arch was actually built with wood but was rebuilt with stone. It is dedicated to the Romanian army’s victory during World War I,” he said.
During the ceremony, there were toasts made with Romanian cabernet sauvignon and Muscat Ottonel and congratulatory speeches by the French ambassador, Philippe Thiebaud, and Yoon Keum-jin, the director of the Korea Foundation Cultural Center. Mr. Thiebaud humorously opened his speech by saying “Even though it is a bit of a paradox to speak of Francophonie in English, I’ll do it,” going on to give his blessings to the opening of the exhibition and film festival. He added that he visited Bucharest twice and that Bucharest and Paris have enjoyed a long history of cooperation.
“In Korea, there are still many who have not had opportunities to appreciate the diversity and rich traditions of Romania. Today, when I looked at photos featuring the historic and beautiful French Renaissance-style buildings and dwellings in Romania, I was most impressed,” said Ms. Yoon.
Along with the exhibition, which will continue through Jan. 27, the film “Orient Express” by Romanian director Sergui Florin Nicolaescu will be shown at the center on Feb. 3, 5 and 7.

by Cho Jae-eun

The photography exhibition will continue at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center’s Gallery Nuri until Jan. 27. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. For more information, call (02) 3789-5602 or visit

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