The Romanian Revolution of 1989

Between 6 December 1916 and November 1918, the city was occupied by German forces as a result of the Battle of Bucharest, with the official capital temporarily moved to Iași (also called Jassy), in the Moldavia region. After World War I, Bucharest became the capital of Greater Romania.

In the interwar years, Bucharest’s urban development continued, with the city gaining an average of 30,000 new residents each year. Also, some of the city’s main landmarks were built in this period, including Arcul de Triumf and Palatul Telefoanelor.[22] However, the Great Depression took its toll on Bucharest’s citizens, culminating in the Grivița Strike of 1933.[23]

In January 1941, the city was the scene of the Legionnaires’ rebellion and Bucharest pogrom. As the capital of an Axis country and a major transit point for Axis troops en route to the Eastern Front, Bucharest suffered heavy damage during World War II due to Allied bombings. On 23 August 1944, Bucharest was the site of the royal coup which brought Romania into the Allied camp. The city suffered a short period of Nazi Luftwaffe bombings, as well as a failed attempt by German troops to regain the city.

I.C. Brătianu Boulevard in the 1930s

After the establishment of communism in Romania, the city continued growing. New districts were constructed, most of them dominated by tower blocks. During Nicolae Ceaușescu‘s leadership (1965–89), much of the historic part of the city was demolished and replaced by “Socialist realism” style development: (1) the Centrul Civic (the Civic Centre) and (2) the Palace of the Parliament, for which an entire historic quarter was razed to make way for Ceaușescu’s megalomaniac plans.

On 4 March 1977, an earthquake centered in Vrancea, about 135 km (83.89 mi) away, claimed 1,500 lives and caused further damage to the historic centre.

Mihail Kogălniceanu Square in 1941

The Romanian Revolution of 1989 began with massive anti-Ceaușescu protests in Timișoara in December 1989 and continued in Bucharest, leading to the overthrow of the Communist regime. Dissatisfied with the postrevolutionary leadership of the National Salvation Front, some student leagues and opposition groups organized rallies.

Since 2000, the city has been continuously modernized and is still undergoing urban renewal. Residential and commercial developments are underway, particularly in the northern districts; Bucharest’s old historic centre is being restored.

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