Today's senate building was once the building of the Central Committee of the Communist party. The first uprisings against the communist regime have started in Timisoara in mid-December 1989.
Ceaucescu intended to talk down the revolution by a pro-Ceaucescu rally in Bucharest. He held a speech on December 21st from here - his last speech. The mood turned unexpectedly against him and After fierce protests, he was forced to flee with a helicopter. The police however crushed the demonstrations and more than thousand protesters died on the infamous December 21st 1989.
Have a look at the several plaques around the balcony. The most famous one has the inscription “Glorie martirilor nostiri” (glory to our martyrs). There are several monuments dedicated to the victims of the events around December 21st 1989 as well as the communist dictatorship in general. These are described in a separate tip.
Revolution Square was once known as Palace Square and is flanked by the Ministry of Interior which was once the headquarters of the Romanian Socialist Party. It became famous when Ceaucescu held a speech on December 21st 1989 which ended in a revolution and later resulted into death sentence for Ceaucescu several days later. A plaque commemorating December 22nd (the day Ceacescu was finally overthrown and fled from the building with a helicopter) is placed on the building. In front of it, there is a triangle-shaped monument commemorating the victims of that very day.
The best-known monument is called “Memorial of rebirth”, a marble spine with an iron crown which looks more like a chocolate donut on an oversized toothpick. I don't understand the symbolism, but was told that it has something to do with the rebirth of the Romanian Nation after the fall of communism. Some locals call it “Revolution Potato”. There are wooden tiles in the marble floor marking a cross, the “Memorial of Rebirth” is located in the middle.
Finally, there's the “Broken Man”, a statue dedicated to former Prime Minister Iuliu Maniu. The conservative politician was a fierce opponent of the Fascist Antonescu dictatorship and the post-WWII comunist regime. This resulted in imprisonment and later death. The symbolism is clearer here: Maniu was broken (the bronze sculpture is obviously made of several pieces), but still sits upright. It therefore is also dedicated to all those who fought for their ideals during these two dictatorships.
From Wikipedia " Revolution Square (Romanian: Piaþa Revoluþiei) is a square in central Bucharest, on Calea Victoriei. Known as Piaþa Palatului (Palace Square) until 1989, it was later renamed after the 1989 Romanian Revolution. The former Royal Palace (now the National Museum of Art of Romania), the Athenaeum, the Athénée Palace Hotel, the University of Bucharest Library and the Memorial of Rebirth are located here. The square also houses the building of the former Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (from where Nicolae Ceauºescu and his wife fled by helicopter on December 22, 1989). In 1990, the building became the seat of the Senate and since 2006 it houses the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform."
The Memorial of Rebirth is a marble obelisk with a crown "skewered" at the top and represents Romania's rebirth as a nation after the fall of Communism. I don't quite get the symbolism, but it is certainly interesting to look at. By the way, according to our guide, the red stains at the bottom of the crown are NOT there to symbolize blood - apparently, it is rust from the crown staining the marble.
Revolution Square (Romanian: Piaţa Revoluţiei) is a square in central Bucharest, on Calea Victoriei. Known as Piaţa Palatului (Palace Square) until 1989, it was later renamed after the 1989 Romanian Revolution. In August 1968 and December 1989, the square was the site of a two mass meetings which represented the apogee and the nadir of Ceauşescu's regime.
The 1968 moment marked the highest point in Ceauşescu's popularity, when he openly condemned the invasion of Czechoslovakia and started pursuing a policy of independence from Kremlin. The 1989 meeting was meant to emulate the 1968 assembly and presented by the official media as a "spontaneous movement of support for Ceauşescu", erupting in the popular revolt which led to the end of the regime.
Revolution Square was quite fascinating to visit because it has experienced so much of recent history. It was from the former Communist Party Headquarters here in 1989 that Ceausescu made his famous speech that went out live on Romanian TV. During his speech he was booed and heckled by the busloads of miners he has bussed in to support him. You can look at the balcony he made this speech from. On the opposite side of the square is the former royal palace - now the art museum. In the centre is a monument to those killed in the revolution which is irreverently called the olive on the stick by locals. There is also the university library, the former securitate building which was rebuilt after the revolution with its original stone bottom and a modern glass top. In addition there is the beautiful Cretulescu Church.
We walked here after taking the metro to University Square.
The Revolution Square (Piata Revolutiei in Romanian) is a square in downtown Bucharest, located on Calea Victoriei. Before 1989 it was known as the Palace Square 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 Ceausescu’s regime started. This is the place where Ceausescu 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. Ceausescu 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 1930 by the sculptor Ivan Meštrovic 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. The replica will be unveiled in about a month, on December 1st 2010.
The Romanian Athenaeum, The Romanian National Art Museum, Kretzulescu Church, The Senate and The National Library – you can visit them all by stopping in Piata Revolutiei.
The Square is crossed by Calea Victoriei.
This is where Romania’s heart was for a long time: the center of the monarchy – the Royal Palace.
This is where historical decisions were made concerning Romania’s independence.
This is where communism began when king Mihai abdicated, but also where it ended: it’s from here that the communist leader Ceausescu and his wife fled away in a helicopter to the place where they met their death sentence.
In Romanian language this is "PIATA REVOLUTIEI" meaning the Revolution Square. The building there was the headquarter of the communist party led by Nicolae Ceausescu.
It was right here on December 21st 1989 when Ceausescu was speaking to the crowds (that were as usual planned to gather there with flags and cheers) and the unthinkable happened, there was first a rumor, voices, some still cheering and clapping, some brought the flags down and started shouting anti-Ceausescu remarks.
The historic images we all watched live on TV (I remember vividly this and brings back shivers on my spine), Ceausescu with his hand in the air, saying "ALO..ALO", trying to calm down people and not understanding how this kind of mutiny is possible, where are the people in charge with "crowd control". They were probably out because as you might know there would have been no revolution in 1989 in Romania without a master plan of some kind to take Ceausescu down and replace the regime with another.
In a few minutes Ceausescu was dragged to the helicopter on the roof, live images showing the heavy helicopter (probably too many people) struggling (almost going down) to take off. That was the leaving of a dictator, from that building in "Piata Revolutiei".
Later in the evening, more people came to the square, with flags of which the communist sign in the middle was cut up a hole, going to the balcony where Ceausescu used to speak. Then it was chaos, shots fired, all live on TV. We all watched in horror but with trust for a better times. Which were to come slowly in the next 20 years.
Bullet holes are still to be seen in buildings around the square (as well as in buildings around the National Television headquarter, north of Bucharest)
Behind the Memorial to Corneliu Coposu, in the grounds of Creţulescu Church, is another memorial. It is a headless, multi-armed torso, commemorating those killed in the 1989 revolution. On the plinth is written simply, "Decembrie 89".
The controversial Memorialul Renasterii, or Rebirth Memorial, is not popular with the citizens of Bucharest. In fact, because of its modernistic design, it is viewed as something of a joke and has been nicknamed the Potato of the Revolution, because it looks like a potato skewered by a spike although, to my eyes, it looks more like the Basket of the Revolution.
The white marble obelisk is 25 m high. It was designed by Alexandru Ghilduş to commemorate the Revolution of December 1989. It was built in 2004 and inaugurated in August 2005.
When your view over the Revolution Square is obstructed by a 25-meter-high marble pillar, stop and stare: that's the Memorial of Rebirth, inaugurated in August 2005.
Designed by Alexandru Ghidus, this monument is suppose to symbolize the struggle and pain the heroes of 1989 went through but also Romania's rebirth after Communism.
The pillar is surrounded by a 600 m² plaza covered by marble and granite.
This monument is not particularly popular among locals or artists out of various reasons: either because Al.Ghidus was a designer more than a sculptor, or because some said it lacked symbolism or was too abstract.
While you're there please make an imagination exercise and try to de-code its meaning. Then, drop a line. I'm curious about the interpretations foreigners could give it.
"Eternal Glory to the Heroes and the Romanian Revolution of December 1989"
The Humanitas-library is known for the marks of fighting that are still visible beside and above the windows of the library. On the opposite of the library there is a church, which also has bullet holes in its concrete basement.
All these are sad marks and remainings of the 1989 fights between Romanian folks and the Securitate-forces.
The 1989 revolution started in the Piata Revolutiei. It is also interesting to see the balcony from where Ceausescu held his last speech before he had to flee (first inside the building and finally to the roof from where he had to be rescued by a helicopter).
Many monuments tell their sad stories about the phases of the revolution; when those wanting the revolution and the Securitate-forces (of Ceausescu) ended up to fight with each other.
Actually, the monument is informally refered to as "Teapa", because of it its' look like a torture stake or thorn.
This odd monument is officially called The Revival's Memorial, erected in the memory of the people who died during the events of 1989 following the fall of Ceausescu,
This building concentrated the communist power for abotu 50 years.
Ceausescu flew by helicopter from the roof of this palace, while people were breaking an entrance at the groundfloor.
Hosted the Senate between 1990 - 2002.