It was just an ordinary Sunday.
I was looking at the phone with the thought that sooner or later it might ring. A strange hope, which with the passage of minutes was increasing. At a certain point, the call of a dear friend. Suddenly, the cloudy sky opened with the words: ‘Elvira, let’s go! Romania and Bulgaria, next week. ‘
I can not hold the joy and I start to jump on the corridor under the questioning sight of my other friends: ‘Maybe she is about to go somewhere…’
Just a week of preparations to draw up a cautious four-day schedule: cautious because we have decided to consider probable failures and long ,travel times.
On the eve of departure I sleep just four hours, on the plane not even half.
As soon as we arrive in Romania, we take the car right away and head towards Constanta. It is the city of the most beautiful abandoned casino in Europe.
The landscapes are really singular: brown fields scattered with waste, accompany some rough cement houses. The road is narrow, run by many lorries and old cars filled by Jesus crosses and every kind of saints.
Everything is firm: it seems to live in the past. Beyond a long iron bridge, we enter into a new landscape made of green hills and opaque colors caused by the uncertain light of the Eastern sun.
Finally we come to the Black Sea Pearl, which was to be one of the richest cities in the country. Walking around the center, we have the impression of walking in a city devastated by a post-war attack: ruined buildings stand alongside historic buildings and museums, skeletons of unfinished palaces dotting the European taste city center of Constanta.
After the first exploration in an abandoned Synagogue, we go down to the pier.
The pastel-colored sunset is accompanied by the strident notes of an Eastern violin that intertwines with the Black Sea wind, while the vitreous sea frames one of the most dreamed exploration destinations: the Liberty Cazino that is the most beautiful abandoned casino in Europe.
The large, dirty gray building looks like an elegant, round castle: it emanates its ancient glory by imposing itself into the present, as a testimony to a Belle Epoque that will no longer come back.
The next morning we finally enter the wooden door of Cazino and find us in front of a wonderful entrance that reminded me of the arch shape of a shell: the stairs from the red carpet, now smeared by pigeons, go upstairs, where you can admire sumptuous crystal chandeliers and colorful glasses.
The ballroom is a large space with a stained glass that resembles the conch shell of the entrance, while another lamp is placed in the center of the ceiling, which will never light up again the wooden stage with the heavy and dirty red curtain.
The marvelous wind comes from every broken window of Cazino, accompanying the visitor to discover the nakedness of this place, where degradation reigns: empty and decadent rooms , and finally I arrive to a service ladder. I step down the stairs closing my nose with the scarf due to the orrible smell that emanates the building, then, another large room: the bar.
Located on the ground floor, this space still features the large solid wood counter, the typically free glass bottle cabinet and three suspended ceiling chandeliers.
The color of the room speaks of ancient sobriety and elegance: the hazelnut walls blend with a worn out, wet greenery that gives a barely neoclassical gold to the Greek columns of the bar. If you focus, you can imagine how many people gathered in this place, weaving and shuffling stories, in the company of excellent drinks served in a context out of time.
On commission of King Carol I, the structure was built between 1904 and 1909 thanks to the project by the architect Daniel Renald. Opened in 1910, it still remains one of the best examples of Liberty style in the country and despite the high cost of maintaining, is needed a recovery plan for this pearl, which I was able to admire in this special day in the East .
The Cazino has been the gem of the city and of the whole nation until 1990, the year of its closure.