“Vasile Alecsandri” district from Baia Mare

Text created by WP3 in PRECWORK project, through the exploratory field visit in July and August 2021

Researchers: Enikő Vincze și George Zamfir

The former Hatvan district, which all inhabitants of Baia Mare have been calling the “skid row” even before the 1970s, called Vasile Alecsandri today (after the known Romanian poet), is a very heterogeneous neighbourhood in terms of the built environment.

The old blocks of flats and the former non-family workers’ hostels (constructed from the end of 1970 to 1989) are combined with new ensembles made recently by the real estate development company Revolution Residence, but also with new housing blocks from the old state fund renovated by the city hall (called social housing blocks today, from the Melodiei-Rapsodiei area and the Grănicerilor area), as well as with blocks made by the National Housing Agency (some of them finished, like those from Mărăști Alley, and others in construction, on Grănicerilor Street) and with the informal settlement Craica.

The area of “Vasile Alecsandri” also includes small industrial areas (with halls rented out to some transport companies or others) and the territory of the furniture factory, meanwhile demolished, or the remains of Antrepriza de Instalații și Montaj (Installation and assembly enterprise) on Mihai Eminescu Street (named after Romanian national poet).

In his south-east corner the district is very close to the eastern industrial area of the city. To the West, it borders the Train Station and Traian neighbourhoods (which have a long tradition as working class neighbourhoods), as well as the Progresul district (which includes the New Centre of the town), and in East, the Old Town also.

The social status of the inhabitants of “Vasile Alecsandri” district is also very diverse and uneven: from the former workers of various factories and combines that had bought apartments from the state before or after 1990 (some of them already retired), through the impoverished workers living in the informal Craica settlement from the South-East edge of Baia Mare, close to the Eastern industrial platform of the town, to middle class people that can afford to buy an apartment in the new blocks, or to young couples that had the chance to receive a place in an ANL (National Housing Agency) construction, with state-subsidized rent.