December 1989 - Revolution Tour
On December 20, 1989, Timişoara is proclaimed the first Romanian city free of communism.
In December 1989, the planned eviction of the protestant Hungarian priest Tokes Laszlo from his parish gave birth to a small protest in front of his church, in St. Mary Square in the Iosefin neighborhood. The next day, the situation heated up, the citizens started organizing themselves and marches began to call for more protesters. It soon came to clashes with the repression forces (military, police and secret services), and attacks on the local headquarters of the communist party were carried out.
Ceauşescu ordered fire on December 17. The order was carried out. By December 22, the official day of Ceausescu's fall, 73 people had died, and a few hundreds had been wounded.
The shootings didn’t take place only in the historical center. More than half of the martyrs fell in the big neighborhoods of blocks of flats, inhabited by the workers of the big socialist factories. The fights were real urban wars, with tanks chasing the revolutionaries on narrow streets, as well as heavy shooting. As we walk through the “socialist” quarters of the city, we can encounter crosses erected in memory of the heroes.
The massacre on December 17 brought about general agitation. The army refused to shoot and, as the people of Bucharest joined the protests on December 21, the end of the communist regime was imminent. In the general confusion after December 22, another 20 people were killed, and 73 wounded. Moreover, about 1000 people spent a few nights in prison.
The 1989 December Revolution Tour starts on the trail of these events in recent history, answering some questions: “What happened?”, “When?”, “Where”, also following the revolutionarie’s footsteps.
The Association Memorial of the 1989 Revolution
built more monuments in the hot points of those days:
We start the tour from Iosefin district, in
Beyond the bridge we soon reach 3 the
the crowd of people (the army stopped firing, virtually the entire city was on the streets) and from the Opera balcony a clear list of demands was made. It demanded Ceausescu’s withdrawal and prosecution of those responsible for the murders in the preceding days. Across the street from the Opera, on
We pass between the Opera and Timişoara Hotel. In the hotel’s parking lot violent fights were fought, like in 7 “
We are heading to
It is reported that a tank chased the demonstrators through the square. The demonstrators alternately advanced and retreated on and off the streets. The military command wall (on the right side of the square) is the memorial plate of one of the martyrs – this woman was shot at from a distance, without any notice, she and her husband being struck by bullets. Close to this place, on 2B, Oituz Street is the Revolution Memorial Museum (which moved here from the former location, from
The monuments mentioned so far have been raised thanks to the “Revolution Memorial of December 1989” Association, fighting so that the memory of the
We go on to
Somewhat larger, in Continental Hotel’s parking lot, 11 the “Evoluţie” (“Evolution”) monument reminds of the battles fought by the demonstrators that they wanted to reach 12 the former county seat of P.C.R. (currently the Prefecture). This was the target of true sieges from the revolutionaries ever since the night of December 16: a human pyramid was formed to tear up the party emblem on the wall – a first symbolic victory of the city! Then, on December 20, the demonstrators entered the already devastated building for “talks” with the Prime Minister. The boulevard in front was crowded by thousands of people, and the army had already virtually lost control. As the Prime Minister had no power of decision, people in
To prevent access to the party headquarters towards the Student Campus troops were placed also on 13 Decebal Bridge. Here many died and were wounded in the sad day of December 17, 1989. Seven people of the ones who started to move towards to the strategic objective “P.C.R. headquarters” died. There were dozens of wounded. One of the wounded recalls: “They shot at us for about three to four minutes, continuous fire”. This was the site of the first victim of the Revolution. In front of the Neptun Baths there is 14 Peter Jecza’s monument “Pietá”.
With this monument we conclude our proposed tour. However, not far from the Neptun Baths, continuing the direction of movement, you will arrive in
But by far, the most important landmark dedicated to the heroes of the Revolution is 15 “The Memorial Complex” from the
We must point out that the fights which resulted in victims did not only happen in central areas of the city. There were heavy fights in the neighborhoods of blocks:
There are also other monuments raised by the Revolution Memorial Association. They worth our attention. They are in other districts of Timisoara, so they are not included on the attached map, but they can be visited quite easily using the means of public transportation:
- “Deschidere”(“Opening”) – a creation of the famous German sculptor Ingo Glass (born in
), on Timişoara Martirilor Road, in the square where the boulevard begins. In the area bloody fights happened with the repression forces sent from the military unit in Giroc. Residents of the Martirilor Roadcaptured six tanks belonging to the army, but 14 people were killed.
- Somewhat closer to the center there is the students’ reverential monument (author Ştefan Kelemen), in the Student Campus on the
- At the opposite end of the city, on
Lipovei Roadyou can find “Eroica” (artist Paul Vasilescu).
- And on Take Ionescu Bd. there is the dramatic statue “Învingător” (“Winner”), created by Constantin Popovici..
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