The most glorious modern king of Romania: Carol I again in front of his palace. Rebuilt statue

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

The equestrian statue of King Carol I of Romania was rebuilt and placed once again in the Revolution Square, where it is surrounded by representative buildings of the dynastic era. Behind the statue there is the University Library (former building of the Royal Arts Foundation), in front there is the former Royal Palace (now the National Art Gallery), a few yards away there are the Atheneum(a concert hall of about the same time) and the former Interior Minister (used in different times as Senate or Central Comity building).

In fact, the abundance of monuments in this square seems an unsolvable problem for Bucharest’s municipality, which is struggling to harmonize different historic elements. There is a new monument commemorating the Revolution of 1989, a statue of Iuliu Maniu, the great conservative leader who died in a communist prison, and other smaller monuments. A solution for making this square opened to the public with respect for history as well as for practical issues like today’s traffic is yet to be found.

But the choice for remaking this old statue seems logical. It brings back some of the charm of Bucharest, which once had the title of Little Paris. The story of this statue is tumultuous. Done by Croat sculptor Ivan Mestrovic, the statue of Carol I was melted by the communists after the soviet occupation of Romania to make a gigantic statue of Lenin. That statue was taken down after the Revolution in 1989, and today lies on the ground in a green area near Bucharest. Its bronze would not be used for recasting Carol’s statue, but at least an act of reparation is done by reconstructing the statue of the Romanian king as it once was.

Carol I Hohenzollern was of German descent and was chosen by Romanian politicians to be the first foreign monarch to rule over Romania in the middle of 19 century. The country had just escaped the domination of the Ottoman and Russian empires and accomplished a partial unification, so Romanian elites saw a foreign prince from an important Western ruling family as a guaranty to its independence. The choice for Carol I was to prove a very good choice. Carol I ruled for almost half a century – 48 years – first as a prince and than as a king. He personally lead the army in the Independence war against the Ottoman Empire and proclaimed independence. During his reign, Romania saw unprecedented progresses in culture, living standards, architecture (building of Peles Palace or of Cernavoda Bridge over Danube), political emancipation, the creation of the first universities and many other.

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