University Square, Bucharest
One of the typical wide squares in Bucharest with a lot of traffic and monumental buildings. The old main building of the University is located here.
What is more important than the buildings is the historic significance of this square. It has seen two crucial demonstrations during the transition from a communist dictatorship to a country which finally made it into the EU. First, the protests of December 21st 1989 culminated in a clash with the police. The protesters were pushed back from what today is Revolution Square into University Square and Bulevardul Bratianu where over thousand were killed by government forces. Several crosses and other monuments are placed on the square and along the avenue.
The second demonstration was organized by students who did not want members of the former communist regime to take part in the new government. President Ion Iliescu called in miners from the Jiu Valley to break the protests. Over hundred people died at University Square. Here, again the victims were mostly students. The protests have been known as Golaniad, the violent clash with the miners as Mineriad.
The lyrics of the protester's hymn can be seen on one of the memorials:
Better to be a tramp than a traitor,
Better to be a hooligan than a dictator,
Better to be a hoodlum than an activist,
Better to be dead than communist
This area saw fierce fighting during the 1989 revolution. The graves of some of the revolutionaries are located on a traffic island next to the square. The square contains the university and a theatre currently undergoing renovation. It is a traffic clogged nightmare of a place but has a useful metro station. We saw this odd sculpture there. Not entirely sure what it is but it was quite intriguing.