Yesterday, I noticed a remembrance altar with burning candles and stacks of 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’s bleeding”. Because the red paint is “inaccessibly high,” it has remained in place.
Ballet and Opera
I’ve been slow exploring Bucharest and 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!
Castles and Brasov
I also booked a day trip to Peles and Bran Castles and Old Town Brasov. That may be too much for one trip, but follow-up visits are a possibility. There’s so much to see and explore here!
Glad to hear you are settling in quickly. I agree the memorial is a little too abstract for my taste. I’m not overly keen on such outdoor art that needs explanation of what it is commemmorating. At first glance, I thought it was Soviet era brutalist architecture.
Revolution Square is beautiful, and I guess the remembrance statue is there to stay? Outside the city centre there are tons of the old Soviet-style brutalist apartment buildings as ugly as ever. Even the newer apartments have a bit of that look. I’m sure there’s more political history involved in the statue than I have time to research.