Yesterday, I noticed a remembrance altar with burning candles and flowers near my apartment. The Memorial of Rebirth (Memorialul Renașterii) commemorates the struggles and victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989 and overthrowing Communism. The revolution claimed around 1,500 Romanian lives. I didn’t take photos, as small, solemn crowds had gathered, and I thought it would seem insensitive. I returned later and took the photos below.
“Bucharest’s memorial complex was inaugurated in August 2005 in The Revolution Square, where Romania’s Communist-Era dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, was publicly overthrown in December 1989.”
Revolution Square Memorial
The Revolution Square memorial was designed by Romanian artist and designer Alexandru Ghilduș. The monument features a 25-metre-high marble pillar reaching toward the sky with a metal “crown” on the top. The pillar is surrounded by a 600 m2 (6,500 sq. ft.) plaza covered by marble and granite. The small memorial in my neighborhood is simple and includes candles, flowers, and photos of victims remembered.
Monument Design Controversy
Although most Romanians were in favor of the remembrance memorial, there’s controversy about the design and statues erected at the base of the monument. Some objections were that the statues were “devoid of symbolism, too abstract, and didn’t adequately represent the suffering and magnitude of the 1989 revolution”.
Others didn’t like the “aesthetics” of the design. The monument has been described in negative ways, including, “the potato of the revolution, the vector with a crown, and an olive on a toothpick”.
“Owing to its relative unpopularity, the monument, a Pyramid of Victory. is guarded around-the-clock. Despite this, on the night of 12 May 2006, it was vandalized with a stencil graffiti figure representing the fictional revolutionary character ‘V’ on the side facing the National Museum of Art.”
After the May 2006 vandalization, the monument was defaced again in 2012″. Bright red paint was splattered at the bottom of the crown, “making it look like it was bleeding”. Because the red paint is “inaccessibly high,” it remained in place for some time but was eventually removed.
Ballet and Opera
I’ve been slow exploring Bucharest and am taking my time – first getting comfortable with my neighborhood. I’m very excited about ballet and opera appearing at the Bucharest Opera House and booked three ballets and an opera!