As many of you already know, Romania has four big regions (Transylvania, Moldavia, Wallachia and Northern Dobrujda), which were once independent states. Only after the World War I, they agreed to form the country we now call Romania. The Arch of Triumph is a monument located in Bucharest, which commemorates this fact and serves as a symbol of Romania made whole.
Romania had a few Arches of Triumph throughout the history dated back to 1848, 1859, 1878 and 1918, but they were all temporary constructions and did not pass the test of time. This is why, after the Great Union when Transylvania joined the other big regions to complete the country we now call Romania, it was deemed necessary to build some kind of a symbol of this event. Actually, the arch commemorates the fact that Romania took part in the World War I on the side of the Allies and its consequences: the Great Union.
The Arch of Triumph from 1918 was made of a material that did not withstand the rain, so the mayor of Bucharest from that period suggested that they construct one made of wood until they gather the funds to build a long-lasting monument. This idea was not well received. In the end, the Arch of Triumph was designed by the architect Petre Antonescu and made out of the reinforced concrete, but the beautiful bas-relief and decorations were done in plaster because the arch had to be completed for the coronation ceremony in 1922 for King Ferdinand I and Queen Maria. The plaster did not withstand the weather, and by 1930 the Arch of Triumph was in a very poor state and inconvenienced the image of Bucharest, also known as “Little Paris”. In 1932, the plaster decorations were replaced by the new ones made out of stone and marble. The architect Petre Antonescu hired the artists to execute the details on the arch but gave them strict instructions. The artists that collaborated were Constantin Baraschi, Alexandru Călinescu, Mac Constantinescu, Ion Jalea, Dimitrie Paciurea and Costin Petrescu. The main body of the Arch of Triumph was also remade out of granite in 1936.
The communist regime mutilated the Arch of Triumph by destroying the side inscriptions, the words of Ferdinand I and the effigies that were done for him and his wife Queen Maria by the sculptor Alexandru Călinescu. In place of the effigies, the communists made two big flowers made of stone. After the revolution in 1989, these flowers were replaced with two bronze medallions depicting King Ferdinand I and Queen Maria, but the inscriptions were never recarved.
While visiting the capital of Romania, one should definitely take the time to see the Arch of Triumph and witness the history of the people from this country. The monument is a symbol of the Great Union from 1918 and stands as evidence that Romania was made whole.
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