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The Statue of Carol I, CraiovaCod 1351

The bronze statue, sculptor Mircea Spătaru’s work, was placed in front of the highschool building named after Carol I in December 2007.

Carol I of Romania, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, in his full name Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, (born April 20th 1839, Sigmaringen- dead October 10th 1914, Sinaia) was the ruler and then king of Romania, who lead the Romanian principality and then Romania after abdication forced by a coup d’etat by Alexandru Ioan Cuza.

In 1867 he became honorary member of the Romanian Academy and between 1879 and 1914 he was protector and honorary president of the same institution.

In his 48 years of reign (the longerst reign in the history of the Romanian states), Carol I obtained the country’s independence, thanks to which his prestige grew immensely, rectified the economy, equipped Romania with a numner of modern state specific institutions and laid the bases of a dynasty. He built the Peles Castle in the Carpathians Mountains, who has remained one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. After the Russian-Turkish war (1877-1878), Romania won Dobrogea (but lost southern Bessarabia),and Carol ordered the raising of the bridge across the Danube, between Fetesti and Cernavoda, to tie the new province to the rest of the country.

The greatest downfall of king Carol I’s reign, as well as his succesors’ in the monarchal period of the countr’s modern history, was the failure to resolve tipical problems of a country whose economy was based on agriculture and whose population was represented by an overwhelming majority of peasants. After Carol I took the throne, the situation of the Romanian peasantry begins to seriously degrade, as the landowners, to be able to face the competition on the external markets, continuously raise the exploitation level of the peasantry. The unfair system for the overwhelming majority of the Romanian population of that time was also almost an exception in the region, which did not stimulate the sovereign to initiate a land reforme project, situation that lead to repeated social outbursts in the rural environment at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. The result was that the main field of the Romanian economy in the era, in which the overwhelming majority was prepared, ramained in a primitive state.

Mircea Corneliu Spătaru (born July 27th 1937, Epureni, Duda Epureni, Vaslui county – dead August 31st – September 1st 2011, Cluj-Napoca), was a Romanian sculptor, painter and ceramist, university professor, an important figure in Romanian art.

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