Romania has several tall monuments which are real attractions for visitors.
Romania has several tall monuments which are real attractions for visitors. Some of those monuments have a short, even very short history, others a long one, depending on what those monuments represented at the time they were built.
The tallest stone sculpture in Europe features the Dacian king Decebalus, who ruled some of the territories making up today’s Romania, between 85 and 106 AD. The sculpture is 55 m tall and 25 m wide and was carved into the rocky wall of the Danube Gorges, between the villages of Eselniţa and Dubova, near the town of Orsova, where the river carved the Mraconia Gulf. The area is dotted by small waterfalls and is called the Small Cauldrons. Off the bank, near the statue featuring Decebalus, surrounded by trees, the River Danube is 120 m deep. As regards the sculpture, Decebalus’s eyes are 4 m wide and its nose is 7 m long. The monument cost over one million dollars, was ordered and paid for by the businessman Iosif Constantin Dragan, who passed away in 2008, at 91 years of age. The works lasted 10 years and were carried out between 1994 and 2004. The project was carried by sculptor Florin Cotarcea. At the bottom of the statue, there is an inscription in Latin, reading ”Decebalos Rex – Dragan Fecit” (”King Decebalus – Made by Dragan”).
In the village of Adamclisi in Dobrogea, south-eastern Romania, visitors can see the “Tropaeum Traiani” monument, that is “Trajan’s Trophy”. It is a mausoleum which was restored and inaugurated in 1977. The monument was built as a tribute to the Roman Emperor Trajan, who ruled between 98 and 117 AD, to mark the Romans’ victory against the Dacians in 102 AD. It was archaeologist Grigore Tocilescu who restored the blueprints of the monument in 1882. It is made up of a round-shaped pedestal, with a truncated cone-shaped roof and a hexagonal prism on top of it. A trophy made up of an armour and four shields is placed on the prism, on top of the monument. The mausoleum is 40 m tall, just like the pedestal, whose diameter measures 40 m. The names of 3,800 Roman military who died in the war against the Dacians were inscribed on the old monument.
One of the best-known columns in the world is undoubtedly “The Endless Column” by sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957). The column is approximately 30 m tall and is made up of 16 modules. Each module is made up of two truncated square pyramids joined in a common base. Its original name was “The Column of Gratitude”; It was built in memory of the Romanian soldiers fallen in 1916 in battles in Gorj County, on the bank of the Jiu River. The monument was inaugurated in 1938, commissioned by Aretia Tatarescu, one of the foremost members of the National League of Gorj Women’. The column inspired Spanish sculptor Santiago Calatrava when he designed the 120 meter tall obelisk, inaugurated in Madrid in 2009.
In the Carol Park, on the Filaret Hill, in south-central Bucharest, in the late 1930s, Romanian architects built a memorial to soldiers who had fallen on all fronts in World War I. In 1923, a monument to unknown heroes had been raised there, and the Military Museum was supposed to stand there. In 1944, works ceased because of the war, and the project had to wait until 1963 to be completed. The outcome was a 48 meter tall mausoleum with a funeral wall where the remains of some communist leaders were being kept.
The Cross of the Nation’s Heroes is yet another monument in memory of soldiers fallen during WWI. It was built between 1926 and 1928 on Caraiman Mountain, at an altitude of 2291 meters. It appears in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest cross on a mountain. The monument is solemn and impressive: the cross is 29 meters tall, on a 7 and a half meters tall plinth, with 7 meters long arms. The cross, made of steel train rails on a reinforced concrete plinth, was ordered by the Romanian Railroad Company in memory of its workers who gave their lives in battle. In 1938, a lighting installation was fitted up on the cross, with 120 light bulbs of 500 watt each.
The newest tall monument in Romania is the statue called “Jesus Christ’s Heart”, inaugurated in 2011 on Gordon Mountain, at an altitude of 953 meters, in Harghita County, in the centre of Romania. It is considered the biggest statue of Jesus in Eastern Europe, standing at 22 meters in height. It was built of iron and stainless steel by a local foundation and the owner of a dairy company. It has a spiral staircase inside reaching all the way to the top. In the last few years, it has become the most popular tourist attraction, due to the beautiful scenery surrounding it.