It was here, at around 10:30 on December 21, 1989, that the Nicolae Ceausescu regime began to crumble. A large crowd of well over 100,000 people which had been brought in to dutifully cheer Ceausescu in the time-honored way in fact jeered him – on live television. The dictator’s astonished face when he realizes he is being booed is captured on video seconds before transmission is cut and the Romanian revolution begins.
A white marble triangle, with the inscription Glorie martirilor nostri (Glory to our martyrs) points (slightly inaccurately) to the low balcony above the entrance of the former Central Committee building (today the Ministry of Internal Affairs) from where Ceausescu held his last public speech. He fled – by helicopter – from the roof of the building late the next morning.
HOW TO GET THERE
Walking: 2 minutes walk from University Square or Piata Romana
Metro: M1 Blue line Piata Romana or University Stop
Bus: Nicolae Balcescu stop: 122, 137, 138, 268
The revolution square is one of the places around the city with the most complex history. This is where the revolution of 1989 started. The statues around the square are elements of the story of the communist era in Bucharest. Around the square you will see:
- the former headquarters of the communist party,
- in the corner of the square you can see a fascinating building: old facade and modern ‘core’ – former conspirative house and nowadays the headquarters of the Order of Architects in Romania
in the middle of the square you will find
The statue of Iuliu Maniu
Iuliu Maniu (January 8, 1873 – February 5, 1953) was one of Romania’s foremost politicians, serving as the Prime Minister of Romania for three terms during 1928–1933. He was an adversary of Russian influence and for this reason he was imprisoned in 1947 when the communists came to power. He died in 1953 in Sighet prison. His statue, the work of artist Mircea Spătaru is located in the Revolution Square, in front of the former Communist Party Headquarters which are now housing governmental offices. I like the statues because it is modern, expressive and full of pathos, something different among the standard 19th century statues which fill Bucharest.
Opposite of the former headquarters of the communist party you will see the
The church was commissioned in 1720–1722 by the boyar Iordache Crețulescu and his wife Safta, a daughter of prince Constantin Brâncoveanu. Originally, the exterior was painted, but since the restoration work done in 1935–1936 (under the supervision of architect Ștefan Balș), the facade is made of brick. The frescoes on the porch date from the original structure, while the interior frescoes were painted by Gheorghe Tattarescu in 1859–1860.
The church, damaged during the November, 1940 earthquake, was repaired in 1942–1943. In the early days of the communist regime, Kretzulescu Church was slated for demolition, but was saved due to efforts of architects such as Henriette Delavrancea-Gibory. More renovations took place after the Bucharest earthquake of 1977 and the Revolution of 1989. To the side of the church now stands now a memorial bust of Corneliu Coposu.
Statue of Corneliu Coposu
Accross the street from the church, you will notice the bust of Corneliu Coposu – This was a liberal views politician of the communist era, after the set in of the communist regime was arrested and lived the rest of his life in jail.