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Revolution Square, Bucharest
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Revolution Square (Romanian: Piața Revoluției) is a square in central Bucharest, on Calea Victoriei. Known as Piața Palatului (Palace Square) until 1989, it was later renamed after the 1989 Romanian Revolution. The former Royal Palace (now the National Museum of Art of Romania), the Athenaeum, the Athénée Palace Hotel, the University of Bucharest Library and the Memorial of Rebirth are located here. The square also houses the building of the former Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (from where Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife fled by helicopter on December 22, 1989). In 1990, the building became the seat of the Senate and since 2006 it houses the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform. Prior to 1948, an equestrian statue of King Carol I of Romania stood there. Created in 1930 by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović, the statue was destroyed in 1948 by the Communists, who never paid damages to the sculptor. In 2005, the Romanian Minister of Culture decided to recreate the destroyed statue from a model that was kept by Meštrović's family. In 2007, the Bucharest City Hall assigned the project to the sculptor Florin Codre, who is going to design an original statue of Carol inspired by Meštrović's model (most consider it a plagiarism). In August 1968 and December 1989, the square was the site of a two mass meetings which represented the apogee and the nadir of Ceaușescu's regime. Ceaușescu's speech of 21 August 1968 marked the highest point in Ceaușescu's popularity, when he openly condemned the invasion of Czechoslovakia and started pursuing a policy of independence from Kremlin. Ceaușescu's final speech, 1989 was meant to emulate the 1968 assembly and presented by the official media as a "spontaneous movement of support for Ceaușescu", erupting in the popular revolt which led to the end of the regime.
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