University Square, Bucharest
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Four statues can be found in the University Square, in front of the University; they depict Ion Heliade Rădulescu (1879), Michael the Brave (1874), Gheorghe Lazăr (1889) and Spiru Haret (1932). In the middle of the roundabout, stands of massive statue of Constantin Cristocea, one of the city's finest philanthropists.
The square was the site of the 1990 Golaniad, a peaceful student protest against the ex-communists in the Romanian government. The demonstrations ended violently when miners from the Jiu Valley were called in by president Ion Iliescu to restore order in Bucharest (see: Mineriad).
University Square marks the northeastern boundary of the Old Center of Bucharest.
In the 15th century, here was the northern limit of the city. Around 1700, the limit was already around what is today Roman Square. Thought to define the axes north-south and east-west of the city after 1880, "the great crossroad" (Romanian: marea intersecție, French: la grande croisée) follows the Haussmannian scenario of urban modernization – in the spirit of Parisian influence specific those times. This intersection has never evolved as a monumental square, but emerged as a road junction, the most important of the capital, by its location in the geometric center of the city.
Specific to the Bucharest boulevards of those times are the tram lines, and in the center of the intersection was placed the monument dedicated to Ion I. C. Brătianu, then the square bearing his name. Today this place is called 21 December 1989 Square, in honor of those who died during the Romanian Revolution. This Square was part of an axis full of important monuments on the east-west direction, starting with that from the Rosetti Square and culminating with the Kogălniceanu statue in the homonymous square. The University Square is open in 1857, during the initiation of work for the first body of the University of Bucharest (architect Alexandru Orăscu), its character being defined by four statues, made over six decades: Prince Michael the Brave (1876, sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse) and scholars Ion Heliade-Rădulescu (1882, Ettore Ferrari), Gheorghe Lazăr (1886, Ion Georgescu) and Spiru Haret (1935, Ion Jalea).
In 1679 was built here the Princely School, which in the 18th century will become Princely Academy (a sort of university) and in 1818 will become St. Sava National School, then in 1857 the University of Bucharest. The University was built in several stages, following aesthetic principles of neoclassical style. The facade existing today was constructed between 1921–1943 (architect Nicolae Ghika-Budești).
Passing on the opposite side can not be done only by University passage, realized in the socialist period during the development of M2 metro thoroughfare. On the space between the InterContinental and National Theatre, someday could be visited an outdoor circus, around which existed boutiques tempting with mititei and beer and a stum shop named Zori de zi. All this disappear when is established the realization of a representative hotel in this area, after an urban analysis that propagated the idea of developing the area through touring, cultural or administrative functions. Between 1968 and 1970 is erected Hotel InterContinental (architects Dinu Hariton, Gheorghe Nădrag, Ion Moscu and Romeo Belea), new National Theatre being realized between 1964–1973 in a manner contemporary to that epoch, the halls being equipped with top stage installations. Damaged during the 1977 earthquake, the Theatre is rebuilt between 1982–1984, under the aegis of Cezar Lăzărescu, in a heavy form and lacking spectacular elements. At the end of 2014, after a project of up to 65 million euros, the National Theatre has a new face, dominated by futuristic elements.
- "Retro: Piața Universității - acum și acum... 100 de ani". Metropotam (in Romanian). 1 April 2008.
- "Piata Universității, ieri și azi". Rezistența Urbană (in Romanian). 29 January 2012.
- Oana Bălan (28 November 2012). "Lucrările de reabilitare a Teatrului Național București întârzie un an". Adevărul (in Romanian).
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