Bucharest’s Triumphal Arch (Arcul de Triumf in Romanian) lies in a very busy intersection in northern Bucharest. Designed by the architect Petre Antonescu, the structure was erected in 1935-1936 to commemorate the creation of Greater Romania which took place in 1918. This arch is the third triumphal arch built in Bucharest. The first arch made of wood and cardboard was erected in a rush in 1878 to mark Romania’s independence from the Turks. Victorious troops marched under it on their arrival in Bucharest. This first arch was replaced by a second one, located on the same spot as the current arch and also designed by Petre Antonescu. It was erected in 1922 to mark Ferdinand’s entry into Bucharest as the first king of Greater Romania. In 1935 the arch was in pretty bad shape so it was thoroughly renovated and became the structure that we see today, built of concrete and granite. Portraits of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie decorate one face, while the names of battles fought by Romanians during the First World War can be seen on the other face. The portraits of the king and queen were removed during the communist rule but they were readded in 1992. The sculptures decorating the arch were created by leading artists of the day, including Ion Jalea, D. Onofrei and Constantin Baraschi. Sometimes, on special occasions, the arch is open for visitation.
In the last few years Bucharest’s Triumphal Arch became the site of a strange wedding ritual which I won’t tell you about right now, on the hope that one of these days I’ll make a photo that would better tell the story. If you’re really curious and want a sneak peak just follow these youtube links: one and two.