About Endless Column Complex
The Endless Column Complex is a set of three sculptures commemorating Romania’s war heroes from World War One. It is comprised of the striking 30 metre-high Endless Column, the Table of Silence and the Gate of the Kiss.
Endless Column Complex history
The work of Constantin Brâncuși (1876-1957), the ensemble is considered to be a masterpiece of art and engineering and is hailed as one of the great works of 20th century sculpture.
The monument was commissioned by the National League of Gorj Women in 1935 to honour the soldiers who defended Târgu Jiu in 1916 from the forces of the Quadruple alliance during World War One. Brâncuși was living in Paris at the time but embraced the opportunity to create a large commemorative sculpture in his homeland. He was so moved by the commission that he refused to receive payment for it. Construction was completed in 1938.
Despite the ensemble’s artistic importance, it was considered unfavourably during the Communist era. An attempt to pull down the column which ultimately failed left it tilted and cracked, exposing the interior of the structure to the elements. The ensemble was subsequently poorly maintained for years. In the 1970s development proposals threatened the sculptures yet ultimately preservationists were successful and the area was conserved as an open air museum.
By the mid 1990s the monuments were in desperate need of action to preserve them but there was a lack of consensus as to how this restoration project should be approached. The collection was included on the World Monuments Watch in 1996 and 1998 to focus attention on the deterioration of the sculptures and surrounding parks. Support was secured from a variety of sources and by 2004, the columns, visitors centre and surrounding area had been renovated.
Endless Column Complex today
Marking the location along the River Jiu where soldiers lost their lives, the collection’s structure suggests the journey from this life to the next. Visitors can behold the sculptors from the parks and walk between them. The scene is particularly striking around sundown when the sculpture is lit. The column has become a kind of cultural motif. An image of the artist and sculpture featured on a banknote in January 1991 and again in 1992.
Getting to the Endless Column Complex
A must see in Târgu Jiu, The Endless Column, is located in the Column Park at the eastern end of Calea Eroilor. It is around a 20 minute walk to the other pieces in the central park. There is free parking nearby and it is around half an hour drive from Vicele International Airport.
Explore the impressive history of Romania in our guide to the 10 best historic sites to see, including the supposed home of Dracula at Bran Castle and the imposing Alba Iulia Fortress.