Romania was once considered "the bread basket of Europe". Rich, fertile farmlands produced abundant crops. Much of this was stripped away when the communist regime required farmers to abandon their land and move to the cities. At one time, seventy percent of the GNP was used to build the Palace while the people starved.
Motivated by enormous greed, the dictator brought the country to poverty while his family enjoyed unlimited luxury. He developed the Securitatea, a secret police that became a feared tool of repression. He destroyed countless villages and churches in an attempt to erase people's history and beliefs, doing all this in the name of progress.
Ceausescu rebuilt much of the capital city, Bucharest, meanwhile erasing hundreds of historical buildings. One of the most famous creations of his time is Casa Poporului (House of the People, now known as Parliament Palace) in Bucharest, the second largest building in the world, after the Pentagon.
In December 1989, following the anti-communist upheaval of the Romanians, Ceausescu and his wife Elena were quickly judged by a military tribunal and executed.
Known as the "land of the orphans", Romania has this reputation largely due to the legacy of it's former ruthless dictator, Ceausescu and his wife and their pro-natalist policies. In his desire to build a large nation, Ceausescu wanted women to have at least five children. At the same time he robbed the people economically as he built his luxurious palace. Women gave birth to children they couldn't care for. Many women died in childbirth as a result of severe malnutrition and lack of medical care. Mothers abandoned babies, giving them up to government orphanages. Today, as a result of this legacy, there are thousands of abandoned and orphaned children trying desperately to survive on the streets. Many of these street children die from starvation, disease and exposure to the brutal Romanian winters.