Targu Jiu, the capital and biggest city of Gorj County holds a rich cultural heritage, a wealth of architectural and artistic monuments. Although dominated by the masterpieces of Constantin Brancusi, the destination has several other highlights, splendid buildings and works of art that make for excellent attractions. The old houses and buildings, beautiful sculptures and statues, as well as other architecture and art landmarks of Targu Jiu form a complete cultural experience. Overall, the city of Targu Jiu can be regarded as a fascinating cultural destination, a city of sculpture following the memory and legacy of Constantin Brancusi. Most of the historical monuments date from the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. The most interesting features of art and architecture of Targu Jiu are presented below.
Modern Sculptures of Targu Jiu
Targu Jiu has become an artistic destination over the years, after Constantin Brancusi created the stupendous “Heroes Path” Monumental Complex. The tradition has been continued and the city has gained world-wide recognition for sculptors and artists. Each year starting from 2001, an International Sculpture Symposium is being held in Gorj County, the most representative works being displayed in various parks and spaces of Targu Jiu, creating a veritable open air museum. Over the years, renowned artists from around the world come to Targu Jiu and to honor the memory of Brancusi and create their masterpieces. Among many others, some of the sculptures that can be admired today in Targu Jiu include: Waters Gate – Tatsumi Sakai, Totem – Juan Carlos Lisana Careno, Continuity – Petre Marian, Toaca – Ilarion Voinea, The Beautiful Japanese – Akihira Sakai, Marine Symbol – Iorgos Iliopoulus. Beyond their purpose of embellishing the look of the city, the sculptures as a whole also have an immense artistic value.
“Baniei” Architectural Complex
The landmark is located in the northern part of Targu Jiu, several kilometers from the center, a little walk from the Ecaterina Teodoroiu Blvd. The architectural complex is also known as the “Baniei Fortress”, is a lesser known but important cultural attraction. The historical monuments include the House of Cornea Brailoiu, a beautiful church, the outside walls, the stables and a little chapel. The complex features a splendid Brancovenesc architectural style, being built around 1700 and restored throughout its existence. The House of Cornea Brailoiu is a massive structure with two levels and 1 meter thick walls, sustained by two large columns. After the death of the noblemen, it changed property and various modifications have changed its initial look, some of them reducing the architectural value. The church nearby was built at the same time and renovated in 1741, with a Byzantine architecture and paintings. It also had fortress like features with strong doors and hidden places. The nearby chapel has been built later and has interesting neo-Byzantine paintings. In the last years, the whole complex has been completely restored and renovated, making it an interesting architecture of Targu Jiu attraction.
Administrative Palace of Targu Jiu
Initially built to house the city hall, the beautiful building is today the county administration. The Administration Palace of Targu Jiu is a relatively new construction, being built between 1898 and 1904, the final added piece being the outside clock. On the inside, the moor style council hall is truly impressive, while the exterior has an elegant façade and two side wings. The front of the palace opens up into Victory Square, the center of Targu Jiu. The building was recently renovated and embellished, giving it a much more pleasant exterior, with small palm trees brought during the summer.
City Hall of Targu Jiu
The city hall of Targu Jiu is located very close to Victory Square, with easy access from the center. It was built starting with 1932, its initial destination being an apprentice dorm. The city hall features a very interesting and attractive architecture, recently renovated and forming a homogenous complex with the other buildings of the city center.
Tudor Vladimirescu Street
Tudor Vladimirescu St. is the most fascinating street of Targu Jiu, preserving a large number of beautiful houses and buildings from the start of the 19th century. It creates a special atmosphere, travelers having the opportunity to see the architecture of Targu Jiu as it was a century ago. There are around a dozen monuments with exceptional architecture to be admired on this street.
Tudor Vladimirescu College
The impressive building of the Tudor Vladimirescu College is located in the busiest roundabout of Targu Jiu, close to the city center. Built between 1891 and 1894, it is one of the most imposing and impressive historical monuments of Targu Jiu. It has been extended over the years, but keeping the beautiful original architecture.
Barbu Ganescu House
It is located in Victory Square of Targu Jiu, adjacent to the Administration Palace. Built in the 18th century, it housed Constantin Brancusi in 1937-1938 when he stayed in Targu Jiu to create the “Heroes Path” Monumental Complex. In the courtyard, there are several sculptures, including the first version of the Table of Silence.
Statue of Constantin Brancusi
The history and spirit of Gorj County have been influenced by the artistic genius of Constantin Brancusi. The bust statue of the great sculptor was placed in the city center, on Traian St. The monument was created by sculptor Ion Irimescu in 1976 for when the city celebrated 100 years since the birth of the great artist.
Statue of Tudor Vladimirescu
The statue of Tudor Vladimirescu is located in the most important crossroad of Targu Jiu, in a small park at the intersection of Union and Republic Blvd. This was the spot that in 1821, the “panduri” (fighters from Oltenia) of Tudor met and continued the revolution. The monument is a beautiful bronze cast in Milan, being the oldest statue in Targu Jiu.
Mausoleum of Ecaterina Teodoroiu
Ecaterina Teodoroiu was a woman heroine of the First World War, born in Targu Jiu and serving bravely in the Romanian Army until her death. The monument is located in the center of Victory Square, marking the tomb created in 1921. Created by a female student of Brancusi, the monument is sculpted in white Italian travertine.
Other Monuments of Targu Jiu
The city offers many other attractions of architecture and art, old houses and buildings that can provide interesting tourist highlights. Among the most interesting, the Christian Tell Library building is located along the “Heroes Path”, the Vasile Moanga House was built in 1770 and hosted an important historical event, the Dimitrie Maldarescu House was built in the 18th century and is located on T.Vladimirescu St., while the Grigore Iunian House is located at 1st Republic Blvd. There are at least two dozen other houses and buildings in Targu Jiu that are listed as historical monuments. All these make the art and architecture of Targu Jiu an enticing travel discovery.