BUCHAREST’S MONTH AFTER 80 YEARS (1935 – 2015)

The first Bucharest’s Month event took place 80 years ago and was a grand event going beyond the limits of a simple festivity or exhibition. Bucharest’s Month had a great impact on the city’s progress, each new edition marking the opening of important edifices.

The initiative, inspired by the great European exhibitions of the time, was taken by Bucharest’s mayor Alexandru Donescu during the Cities Union Congress from Arad in 1934. This event was meant to take place every year and to be adopted by other cities as well. However, due to the historical context, only 6 such editions took place in Bucharest from 1935 to 1940, between the 9th of May and the 9th of June. The selected data roughly describes the period of time between two of Romania’s most symbolic moments: May 10th – the Royalty Day -, June 8th – the Restauration Day.

Furthermore, except the first edition, every edition that followed celebrated an important moment in the birth of the nation, with the purpose of asserting the identity of Great Romania which had only been founded (1936 – 70 years since the arrival of Prince Carol I; 1937 – 60 years since the Independence War; 1938 – 20 years since the Great Union in 1918; 1939 – the centenary of Carol I birth and 50 years since the death of Mihai Eminescu; 1940 – 10 years since restauration). This way, the Capital was given a character representative for the entire country. The purpose of this event was to attract visitors from the country who would get to know Bucharest and its recent urbanistic achievements, and also to stimulate economical growth.

The Bucharest Municipality Museum opens the series called Bucharest’s Month with an exhibition dedicated to the year 1935, wishing to imprint in the city’s collective memory the records of Bucharest’s celebrations that took place from 1936 to 1940. The first edition of Bucharest’s Month was dedicated to urbanistic and municipal accomplishments, as that was also the year when the Directive Plan for the Capital’s Systematization was approved. The main exhibition took place in the Carol I Park and was joined by other events throughout the city. The park, that had already been set-up for the Romanian General Exhibition in 1906, was kept as it was and new pavilions were added. While the 1906 exhibition was the moment of assertion for neo-Romanian style, we can say that Bucharest’s Month established modernism as the architecture of exhibitional pavilions. The exhibition was an opportunity for the local administrations to showcase their past achievements and future projects, as well as some on-going projects of public spaces arrangements. Also, on this occasion a few changes happened in the city: the Marshall Joffre market (currently the Liberty market) at the entrance of the park was rearranged by having the Zodiac Fountain placed in the centre. The fountain, which was to be the first out of a series, was designed by architect Octav Doicescu and decorated with mosaics by sculptor Mac Constantinescu. In addition, a series of urbanistic projects were completed: the arrangements at the North Railway Station, the enclosure of waste lands in the city, the arrangement of the Patriarchy’s Hill on the Maria Boulevard and the 11th of June Street, street pavings around the Carol Park, the widening and paving of Cotroceni Street and the neighbouring streets, the Botanical Gardens opening, the paving of University Square and its new arrangement on occasion of the statue of Spiru Haret being placed there, the unveiling of the busts of Dr.Brânză and Anton Pann. During this time 2000 tramway lines were built to serve the Carol Park and the O.N.E.F. stadium.

Arh. Monica Sebestyen

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