For today we have two more shots of the statue of the king, this time taken at night.
When talking about Revolution Square back in May, I mentioned that prior to 1948 the square also hosted an equestrian statue of King Carol I of Romania. The statue was created in 1939 by the sculptor Ivan Meštrović and destroyed by the communists when they took power in 1948. In 2005 the City Hall decided to recreate the statue and sculptor Florin Codre was assigned to do the work. As of December 6th the king is officially back, mounted on his horse on his old spot in front of the Central University Library.
The Revolution Square (Piaţa Revoluţiei in Romanian) is a square in downtown Bucharest, located on Victory Road (Calea Victoriei in Romanian). In previous posts I’ve showed some of the buildings surrounding the square and the square’s artwork but I though I’ll write a few words about the square itself. Before 1989 it was known as the Palace Square (Piaţa Palatului in Romanian) because of the former Royal Palace which is located in the square. The name changed after 1989 to commemorate the Romanian Revolution because it was here, in the Revolution Square, that the collapse of Ceauşescu’s regime started. This is the place where Ceauşescu had his last speech on December 21 1989, from a balcony of the former Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, in front of 100.000 people, a mass meeting that turned into a protest demonstration and led to the popular revolt that followed. Ceauşescu and his wife fled the building by helicopter, never to return. The former Royal Palace (now the National Museum of Art), the Athenaeum, the University of Bucharest Library, Kretzulescu Church, Iuliu Maniu statue, the Rebirth Memorial are all located on the square. Prior to 1948 the square also hosted an equestrian statue of Carol I of Romania. It was created in 1939 by the sculptor Ivan Meštrović and destroyed by the communists when they took power. In 2005 the City Hall decided to recreate the statue and sculptor Florin Codre was assigned for the work but I didn’t hear any update on the project lately.
On the road and struggling with a slooow Internet connection so I’ll keep it short. Today’s photo shows the beautiful frescoes of the Kretzulescu church’s porch.
Kretzulescu Church aka Creţulescu Church is an Eastern Orthodox Church located on one of the corners of the Revolution Square, by the former Royal Palace. This red brick beauty is one of the oldest churches in Bucharest, being built between 1720-1722 by the boyar Iordache Cretulescu and his wife Safta, a daughter of prince Constantin Brâncoveanu. The church is built in the style created by Constantin Brâncoveanu, a seventeenth century ruler of Wallachia, who commissioned numerous buildings during his reign and set out to create a distinctive national genre of architecture. The exterior of the church was originally painted, but the paint was removed during the 1935-1936 renovations, conducted by architect Ştefan Balş. More renovations were done after the 1977 earthquake and the Revolution of 1989. During the communist regime the church was scheduled for demolition but it was saved through the intervention of architects.
Today is another crazy day when I’ll be traveling for 20 hours and I won’t have time for a lengthy post. But I didn’t want to miss the day so I decided to post a photo on a subject that I’ve already written about, just shot from another angle. This was one of my first posts so some of you might have missed it. Today’s subject is the Iuliu Maniu statue in Revolution Square and you’ll find the initial photo here.
In order to prolong the anniversary a little longer I decided that today I’ll post another postcard picture. This is the Central University Library (“Biblioteca Centrală Universitară” in Romanian), a beautifully ornate building located opposite the Royal Palace in the Revolution Square. The building was designed by the French architect Paul Gottereau who also designed the Royal Palace and the CEC Building (I have yet to post of picture of it). Construction was started in 1890 and the building was inaugurated in 1895 as the “Palace of Carol I University Foundation” being build on land bought by Carol I of Romania for the foundation that carried his name. In 1948 The Library of the University Foundation becomes The Central University Library, a state owned institution. The building was heavily damaged during the December 1989 Revolution when over 500000 books were lost in a fire. It was later restored and it opened again in 2001.
Nobody in Bucharest (besides its author) seems to like this monument which was added to the Revolution Square in 2005. Even though its official name is “The Rebirth Memorial Eternal Glory to the Romanian Revolution and Its Heroes from December 1989”, the citizens of Bucharest refer to it by various names including “potato on a stick” (the most common one) or “the donut/nut/meatball on a spike”, “the olive on a toothpick”, “the brain skewered on a spike” etc. Apparently its modern design has not appealed at all to the citizens of Bucharest. It is so controversial that last year some of the candidates for the seat of mayor of Bucharest declared that in case they will be elected they will move or demolish the monument.
Iuliu Maniu (January 8, 1873 – February 5, 1953) was one of Romania’s foremost politicians, serving as the Prime Minister of Romania for three terms during 1928–1933. He was an adversary of Russian influence and for this reason he was imprisoned in 1947 when the communists came to power. He died in 1953 in Sighet prison. His statue, the work of artist Mircea Spătaru is located in the Revolution Square, in front of the former Communist Party Headquarters which are now housing governmental offices. I like the statues because it is modern, expressive and full of pathos, something different among the standard 19th century statues which fill Bucharest.