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Bucharest Trajan Column tells the history of Romania

posted on 24th April 2010 under Culture, History, Travel Abroad

Bucharest Trajan Column in Romania #1 Traiana Columna or Column built in Trajan’s Forum in Rome, inaugurated on 12th of May 113, is one o f the best preserved monuments of antiquity – erected “for eternity”. It is to be admired at the National History Museum as a copy, brought into being by archaeologist Emil Panaitescu’s – the director of the Romanian School in Rome at that time.

When I was in Bucharest at the museum last weekend, I become aware of that it tells a lot about this country’s history and why it’s called Romania. With some of my photos and a bit of research, I gladly share it with you. Let’s start with the base of this monument:
Bucharest Trajan Column in Romania #2

Romanian History:
Romania is situated in Central Europe and its territory is marked by the Carpathian Mountains, the Danube and the Black Sea. With its temperate climate and varied natural environment, which is favourable to farming, the Romanian territory has been inhabited since time immemorial.

The territory of today’s Romania was inhabited as early as 513 BC by the Getae or Dacians, a Thracian tribe. Under the leadership of Burebista (70-44 BC) the Dacians became a powerful state which threatened even the regional interests of the Romans. Julius Caesar intended to start a campaign against the Dacians, but was assassinated in 44 BC. The Dacian state sustained a series of conflicts with the expanding Roman Empire, and was finally conquered in 106 AD by the Roman emperor Trajan, who defeated Decebalus. Faced by successive invasions of the Goths and Carpi, the Roman administration withdrew in 271.

All of this and a lot more are told as history engravings from around the monument. They are reconstructed at the museum, so let me give you some examples:
Bucharest Trajan Column in Romania #3
A group of low rank Dacian warriors beg for mercy to the merciless Emperor Trajan

Bucharest Trajan Column in Romania #4
Dacians returning to their homes

Different people from other kingdoms (or empires) lived with the Romanians, such as the Gothic Empire (Oium) from 271 until 378, the Hunnish Empire until 435, the Avar Empire and slaves during the 6th century. Much of Romania fell under the First Bulgarian Empire during the 9th through 11th centuries. Subsequently Magyars, Pechenegs, Cumans and Tatars also raided and settled in the lands to various extents. Let me give you some other photos from the museum to exemplify (click to bigify and enjoy):
Bucharest Trajan Column in Romania #5 Bucharest Trajan Column in Romania #6
Left: Chimney crowing from the Walphard – Right: Funerary Lion at Micia, Hunedoara County.

Modern Romania since 1989:
The Ceauşescu couple, fleeing Bucharest by helicopter, ended up in the custody of the army; after being tried and convicted by a kangaroo court for genocide and other crimes, they were executed on December 25, 1989. The events of this revolution remain to this day a matter of debate, with many conflicting theories as to the motivations and even actions of some of the main players. It still shows at the Revolution Square where I took some photos too:
Bucharest Revolution Square #1
Ceauşescu lifted from the top left of this building.

Bucharest Revolution Square #3 In December 1991, a new constitution was drafted and subsequently adopted, after a popular referendum, which, however, attracted criticism from international observers who accused the government of manipulating the population and even of outright fraud. A new constitution which took effect October 29, 2003, follows the structure of the Constitution of 1991. However it made significant revisions, among which the most significant are extension of the presidential mandate from four years to five, and the guaranteed protection of private property. Presidential and parliamentary elections took place again on November 28, 2004. In 2004 Romania joined NATO and then the European Union (EU), alongside Bulgaria, on January 1, 2007.

The photo to the left is kind of a monument symbolising the past and the present: The pyramid of victory as a part of the Revival’s Memorial – Eternal glory to the Romanian revolution and it’s heroes from December 1989.

So this is my last post from my wife DianeCA and mine’s trip to Bucharest last weekend. I hope you’ve enjoyed us taking you along and you may read the other three here:
About our culinary adventure – Bucharest in Romania a city of architectural contrasts – and Bucharest People or Parliament Palace in Romania.

I also recommend that you read DianeCA’s post from our trip too – in quite a different but interesting prospective: Bucharest, Romania in Spring!

17 Responses to “Bucharest Trajan Column tells the history of Romania”

  1. Some really interesting points you have written.Aided me a lot, just what I was searching for :D.

  2. robert says:

    I was born in Romania and I live here. Everything you’ve said here is simply truth. But our history is more complex. This is only a small part of it.
    Anyway, good post.

  3. That was a great post. I love all the history that you included. You have spawned new interests in me. I love to travel but haven’t been able to do much, at least I can live vicariously threw your travels!

  4. I like your travels, very educating. I hope to visit one of these places. You have really captured its history

  5. Everything except geography and history of Romania.I live in Romania,i’m a native speaker and i want to know what you think about this country

  6. Zhu says:

    I must admit I don’t know much about the country either, which is a shame considering it’s so close to France. Europeans don’t know their neighbors that well!

  7. Ginnie says:

    History is never totally real until you can go see it with your own eyes, Renny. Well, that’s the way it is for me, at any rate! Lucky you.

  8. Lifecruiser says:

    Great post Renny. History is so important to tell :-)

  9. Fascinating! There is just so much history that tends to be forgotten, and it’s not until someone like you points it out that we realise. Thank you for all your hard work in getting these posts ready.

  10. claudie says:

    Thanks for all those explanations about Romania’s history!
    I remembered still a little about ceausescu but didn’t know a lot about the older time. Thanks for the presentation of the Traiana Columna!

  11. TorAa says:

    Renny, when will you start your career as a Teacher in European History?
    This is a fabulous post about the changing history of central Europe and Romania in special.
    The most known for most people is Dracula and the mysteries from Transylvania.

    btw. I’m reading last years Nobel Litteratur Price Winner:
    Herta Müller. She was born in Romania by German parents, in 1953. She flew to Germany in 1987 to escape from the Ceausescu regime. Her books are about living as a German minority In Romania during that time. Fascinating reading…

  12. Lady Fi says:

    Fascinating history of a country I know so little about.

  13. expatraveler says:

    Very interesting history… After 1990 it is so different and you almost have to learn it for the first time… Beautiful photos.

  14. Comedy Plus says:

    And another fine history lesson. I knew the most recent events, but not the ones in the beginning.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug to you and Diane. :)

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