Traffic turned to nightmare in downtown Bucharest starting Tuesday morning as preparations have begun for a car racing event due to take place in the vicinity of the Parliament Palace on May 18-20. But that is not the only issue: all trees along the route of the race, crossing an already arid area, have been cut down with little chance to be replaced.

The event is Vodafone Bucharest Challenge 2007, a Formula 3 race that is part of the FIA GT circuit.

Bucharest traffic police representatives told that traffic was closed on key routes such as the Libertatii Boulevard, 13 Septembrie Avenue and Unirii Boulevard near the Parliament Palace - better known as the Palace of the People, as ex-dictator Nicolae Ceausescu used to call this gigantic building.

This promises a very chaotic month of May for Bucharest traffic, as works are under way in several other areas such as the Colentina Road, the main route out of East Bucharest.

The Cultura magazine claims Bucharest District 4 mayor Vanghelie is the one to have ordered all trees along the racing route cut down in order to improve the view of the spectators. He allegedly promised to replace them as soon as possible, but that is unlikely as such events will start all over again next year.