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Winners Gallery | Magazine Photographer of the Year | First Place
First Place
Tamas Dezso Freelance / GEO

1 of 10

Boys kickboxing on the main street of Buzescu. The gypsy community created a bizarre cityscape here: they erect pompous buildings to show off their wealth, many of which stand uninhabited afterwards. 09/2005

Summary: Romania is preparing for a historic change. Shortly, with its accession to the European Union, it will be given the chance to catch up with Western Europe. At the same time, the phase of transition demands a huge effort on the part of Romania. Dictatorship and nationalism isolated this country from Europe for decades. A large share of its people is extremely poor, and, only recently, natural havocs such as floods or bird flu have added to their hardships. All the misery dating back to the former political era persists, and the regime change, instead of making life easier, created new burdens, in particular for the rural population who make up about half of the 22 million citizens. The people in the small, self-contained villages are tradition-bound, hospitable and open-hearted, and have an intimate relationship with nature and the land. When it comes to Romania, the attitudes of those who oppose EU enlargement usually range from rejection through prejudiced condescension to indifference. Those who are familiar with the cultural heritage and treasures of this country on the eastern edge of Europe will agree with the writer Peter Esterhazy, who described Romania as "the tattered and fantastic land of hope".



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