Monumental Night

Monumental Night

The Carol Park Mausoleum (Mausoleul din Parcul Carol), known during the Communist regime as the "Monument of the Heroes for the Freedom of the People and of the Motherland, for Socialism" (Monumentul eroilor luptei pentru libertatea poporului si a patriei, pentru socialism), is located on a plateau. Formerly, it was the site of the Arts Palace (Palatul Artelor) and later of the Military Museum (Muzeul Militar), with the fountain in front of the latter museum.

The mausoleum was built in honour of revolutionary socialist militants. Designed by architects Horia Maicu and Nicolae Cucu, it was inaugurated on December 30, 1963, the 16th anniversary of the Romanian People's Republic.

The base is circular and plated with black granite. Above rise five narrow arches covered with red granite. Inside the base there is a rotunda covered in red granite plates; the ceiling is decorated with a golden mosaic. Prior to the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the rotunda contained the crypts of Communist leaders Petru Groza, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Constantin Ion Parhon. In the semicircle around the monument were crypts containing the remains of a number of socialist militants.
When it was built, an eternal flame burned on an upper terrace near the monument, in a granite amphora. This was intended to preserve the memory of those who had fought on behalf of the working class.
The park drew national attention in 2003 when the Romanian government agreed to allot 52,700 m² to the Romanian Orthodox Church for the "Cathedral of National Redemption" project. The cathedral, although popular among the citizenry and supported by the government, drew criticism because it was to be placed on the site of the mausoleum.

Symbolically, replacing the mausoleum with a church was seen by some as a removal of painful memories, similar to the removal of other communist statues and symbols. On the other hand it was argued that it served as a reminder of Romania's fight for democracy. In addition, the building was seen as an architectural monument and drew the protests of Romanian architects. The cathedral site has since been moved next to the Palace of the Parliament.

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