Though officially called the Memorial of Rebirth, locals have given this monument a few unusual nicknames. It’s most commonly referred to as the “Potato on a Stick” or “Potato on a Skewer” monument, though some others compare the giant blob being pierced to an olive or a brain.
The unusual structure was commissioned in 2004 by the Bucharest City Hall and was inaugurated on August 1, 2005. It’s part of a broader monument that honors the victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, in which communism was overthrown.
Revolution Square features four parts of the monument. A small, paved area allows visitors to mourn and contemplate. There’s also the Wall of Remembrance, which holds a brass plate containing the names of all the victims of the violent events that occured in December 1989 that led to the arrest and execution of communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife. The Path to Triumph, an alley leading to the main pyramid, is paved with slices of oak trunks meant to symbolize strength and durability.
But it’s the monument’s centerpiece that garners the most attention. The white, marble obelisk has three sides and is surrounded by several statues representing the shadows of the people who wanted freedom and democracy. The rounded, nest-like structure the pyramid skewers is meant to represent the martyrs’ sacrifices.
In 2012, someone threw some red paint at the base of the “potato.” The vandalism left a red smudge that dripped down the facade, which somehow completes the symbolism of the monument. It was never erased by the authorities.
The monument was heavily criticized for being a mix of incompatible artistic elements and for being too kitschy. It also cost nearly $2 million.
Know Before You Go
The memorial is located within Revolution Square. The area is open 24/7, so you can stop by whenever, though it's best to go during daylight hours. Please keep in mind that the square is meant to be a place of remembrance, so do act respectfully.
The monument is part of Atlas Obscura’s Romania: Castles, Ruins, and Medieval Villages trip.