“Book at the Metro” and “Book of Triumph” are events held in Romania this year to encourage reading.
World Read Aloud Day on 1st February, followed by “Book at the Metro” and, most recently, “Book of Triumph”, are some of the events held in Romania this year to encourage reading. Literature lovers from across the globe celebrated World Book and Copyright Day on the 23rd of April, with Barcelona marking the event with the San Jordi Festival which combines the Christian feast day of St George with the modern celebration of books.
On the same day, Bucharest saw the launch of the “Book of Triumph” campaign, the result of the collaboration between the Bucharest City and Litera publishers. On this day, the Arch of Triumph, a symbol of the Romanian nation state, opened its doors for books and readers. Endowed with reading areas and a multimedia cultural information centre, the monument provides visitors with an interactive experience. Oana Zaharia, the director of Bucharest’s department for monuments and tourist heritage, tells us more about this campaign:
Oana Zaharia: “The Book of Triumph is an idea we have developed together with Litera publishing house, our partners for this event. They have run the Night of Open Books for the last six years on 23rd April, on World Book Day. This year, which is Book Year in Romania, we wanted to do something special and came up with the idea to transform the Arch of Triumph into a library and open the site to readers, young and old, who also have the chance to visit the Arch of Triumph.”
The Arch of Triumph has been on Bucharest’s tourist map for a long time, but many don’t know it can also be visited, says Oana Zaharia:
Oana Zaharia: “Many don’t know it is open to visitors, that you can actually go inside the Arch of Triumph. Everyone is extremely impressed when they go up the arch, with the view they get from up there as well as its interior, which is hard to imagine by just looking from the outside. You go up the Arch of Triumph through one leg of the arch, go out on the roof top and then go down through the other leg of the arch. At the moment, it is arranged into spaces for reading and areas where little children can draw. The sets and props all focus on books and the idea of reading. It’s quite an unusual event and we’ve had only positive reviews. It’s what we wanted, of course, but we never expected the event to be so successful.”
The opening events on the 23rd and 24th of April included video mapping shows that transformed the Arch of Triumph into a virtual library. The 3D animations projected onto its facade centred on themes such as history, the arts and books, providing spectators with a magical universe. Famous works, rare books and new books came together to create an interactive allegory of colours, lights and sounds. Oana Zaharia tells us more about the opening event, the Night of the Open Books:
Oana Zaharia: “On the opening night on the 23rd of April, 5,000 people visited the Arch of Triumph between 7 pm and 11 pm. It was extremely busy. Everyone wanted to make the most of their visit, to spend some time enjoying the moment and to look around, while others were waiting outside in a queue. It was a bit difficult to ensure a steady flow, but overall it was a successful event.”
The Arch of Triumph in Bucharest will remain open until mid-June and those interested in visiting it are invited to bring a book from their personal collection. The books collected this way are going to be donated to disadvantaged communities. According to Oana Zaharia, there are more surprises in store for those willing to participate.
Oana Zaharia: “This year we are running more campaigns aimed at whetting people’s appetite for culture, and the Arch of Triumph will probably play venue for more such events. Book launches and other small events have been planned until June 15th and we’ll hopefully integrate them in this project which turns the Arch of Triumph into a library. After these events, the building will host various exhibitions. All these campaigns are aimed at encouraging mainly children and young people to read and accumulate information for the future development of their personalities.”
Oana Zaharia also had some advice to give to our listeners:
Oana Zaharia: “To read and be widely-read. At the same time they should keep an eye on us because these campaigns are designed for them and we want as many locals and tourists as possible involved in these projects.”
A complex experience, through which those interested are encouraged to discover the marvelous universe of books against the historic background of the Arch of Triumph in Bucharest.
(translated by: Cristina Mateescu, Daniel Bilt)