Revolution Square is in central Bucharest, on Calea Victoriei which was known as Piata 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 Ceausescu and his wife fled by helicopter on December 22, 1989). In 1990, the building became the seat of the Senate and since 2006 houses the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform.
Prior to 1948, an equestrian statue of Carol I of Romania stood there. Created in 1930 by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic, the statue was destroyed in 1948 by the Communists, who later had to pay damages to the sculptor. In 2005, the Romanian Minister of Culture decided to recreate the destroyed statue from a model that was kept by Mestrovic’s family. In 2007, the Bucharest City Hall assigned the project to the sculptor Florin Codre, who is going to design an original statue of Carol inspired by Mestrovic’s model.
In August 1968 and December 1989, the square was the site of a two mass meetings which represented both the apogee and the nadir of Ceausescu’s regime. The 1968 moment marked the highest point in Ceausescu’s popularity, when he openly condemned the invasion of Czechoslovakia and started pursuing a policy of independence from the Kremlin. It was here, at around midday on December 21, 1989, that the Ceausescu regime began to crumble. A white marble triangle, with the inscription Glorie martirilor nostri (Glory to our martyrs), generally points to the low balcony above the entrance of the former Central Committee building (today the Senate) from where Nicolae Ceausescu held his last public speech. It is now difficult to imagine all that went on in the not so distant past, as the area is quiet, but the (deliberately preserved) bullet holes on the building opposite (above the Humanitas book shop) are a reminder of the madness of those December days. After initial protests here (which forced Ceausescu to abandon a speech) the crowd was fired upon, and dispersed, only to regroup in Piata Universitatii. When you visit the square, you will be standing at the place where the former President Nicolae Ceausescu was laid to rest.
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