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Bucharest marks Great Union centenary with EUR 17 mln statues

29. 07. 2017

The Bucharest City Hall will pay approximately RON 80 million (EUR 17.7 million) for four statues dedicated to celebrating the centenary of the 1918 Union. The 1918 Union took place on December 1, Romania’s National Day. The event saw several provinces, including Transylvania, Basarabia, Bucovina and Maramures, join the Romanian Kingdom of the time. The statues represent King Ferdinand I, politician and statesman I.C. Bratianu, and general Henri Mathias Berthelot. The fourth work is a monument dedicated to the Great Union. The statues were given the go ahead based on various initiatives, starting 2007 and until now, when the money for them will also be spent, according to

The Great Union monument (pictured as work in progress) will cost RON 50 million (EUR 11 million) and will be placed in the Alba Iulia Square of the capital. It will be 25 meters tall and have a diameter of 35 meters. Artist Ioan Bolborea was tasked with designing the monument after winning a contest in 2007. The artist said in June that a part of the future work could be seen as holograms starting next year. The statue of I.C. Bratianu, a leader of the National Liberal Party and former Prime Minister of the country, will cost RON 10 million (EUR 2.2 million) and will be placed in the Universitate Square, in downtown Bucharest. It will be 15 meters tall and will replace a former statue of Bratianu which was taken down in 1948, during the communist regime. The statue of French general Henri Mathias Berthelot, who was detached to Romania and served as an adviser to King Ferdinand I, will take a spot on the Bucharest street bearing his name, at the intersection with the Luigi Cazzavilan St. The statue is estimated to cost RON 2 million (EUR 444,500). The statue of King Ferdinand I will take its place in Victoriei Square, close to a former spot it held before being taken down, also during the communist period. It is estimated to cost RON 17 million (EUR 3.7 million). The statue will be designed by sculptor Florin Codre, who won a contest for it in 2009. Codre also designed the statue of Carol I, currently standing close to the University Library in Bucharest. He is also working on a Great Union monument for Arad. The work was commissioned by the Culture Ministry and costs approximately RON 10 million (EUR 2.2 million). The statues are only a part of the preparations the City Hall is undertaking for next year’s event. The City Hall plans a month-long event dedicated to Bucharest, including exhibitions, concerts, fairs and special tours of patrimony buildings.

A Centenary Square is also planned. This will be temporarily set up throughout 2018 in the Triumph Arch Square and will host photography exhibitions highlighting various moments of the unification process. At the same time, a virtual Pantheon, developed together with the Romanian Academy, will pay homage to more than 400 local personalities, the City Hall announced. Besides the statues dedicated to the 1918 Union, several others are planned for the capital, reported. One is RON 2.2 million (EUR 489,000) statue of Romanian ruler Vlad Tepes. Another one, of a similar value, will represent Romanian prince Constantin Brancoveanu.

President Klaus Iohannis said this week that Romanians are “very good at organizing festivities” and but it would have been “nice” if “we had had big projects with which to show that indeed, over these 100 years, Romania became not only big but also united” through highways.

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