Arcul de Triumf

Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest, public art

Public Art : Arcul de Triumf

Also Known As: Arche de Triomphe

Designed by: © Petre Antonescu

Architect: Victor G. Stefanescu

Sculptors: © Ion Jalea, Dimitrie Paciurea, Constantin Baraschi , Alexander Calinescu , Mac Constantinescu , Dimitri Onofrei and Costin Petrescu

Description: The 27m high Deva granite triumphal arch was built in honour of the Romanian Heroes of the War of Independence and World War I. On the south facade can be found symbolic carvings of "Victory" by sculptors Constantin Baraschi and Mac Constantinescu. On the northern facade there are allegories of  men and religion by sculptors Ion Jalea and Constantin Baraschi and also two victories sculpted by Cornel Medrea and Dimitri Onofrei. The pillars include staircases that lead to its terrace.

When the communists came to power in Romania they removed both text references of King Ferdinand's speeches which featured on the arch. On the south side, effigies of  King Ferdinand and Queen Marie, ​​by sculptor Alexander Calinescu, were removed and destroyed, later to be replaced with two enormous stone flowers. However, following the fall of communism in 1989, the stone flowers were removed and two bronze medallions depicting the faces of King Ferdinand and Queen Maria were added. The text references of King Ferdinand have yet to be replaced.

Date Unveiled: The Arcul de Triumf  inauguration ceremony took place on the 1st of December, 1936, on the 18th year anniversary of the union of Transylvania with Romania. The ceremony was attended by King Charles II , his mother, Queen Mary , the Crown Prince Michael and members of the Romanian government.

Cost : $7 million (US)

Funding : By public subscriptions launched in 1935 by the Ministry of Defence.

Location: The Arch de Triomphe is located on Arcul de Triumf Square in sector 1, at the intersection of highway Kiseleff , Constantine Prezan boulevards, and Alexandru Constantinescu Alexandru Averescu, Bucharest, Romania.

Background To The Arcul de Triumf : This triumphal arch wasn't the first erected in Bucharest . The first arch was erected in Bucharest in 1878, to celebrate the country's Independence. This arch was crudely constructed and made of wood. A second was erected following World War I, in honour of  the 40-year anniversary of the reign of King Charles I  and the Royal family's return from exile. A third temporary arch was erected in 1922.

The idea to erect a permanent triumphal arch was made in 1922 by the then mayor Matthew Gh Corbescu. As the cost of the structure was expected to be enormous they erected a concrete arch with reliefs made from plaster until sufficient money was raised. As expected the makeshift arch quickly deteriorated in the weather.

In 1932, following an article by Micael Mora in which he criticized the government for not completing the planned arch, the original architect Petre Antonescu was invited to finish it.

The Ministry of Defence launched a funding raising campaign, asking for support from the public and  associations and societies of former combatants of the First World War. The campaign eventually raised $7million(US).


The decorative works made ​​in 1922 by sculptor Davies Mataoanu , were not used in the final restoration of the Arch of Triumph.

Recently the mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu revealed that the City does not own the deed to the Arc de Triomphe and in theory who ever owns the deeds could come forward to claim it.

The arch is one of the reasons why Bucharest its called "Little Paris”

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Simon Akkerman and Doreena Nita for kindly providing the photos.


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