A small town in southwestern Romania, Targu Jiu holds one of the greatest cultural treasures of Romania. Of undisputed universal value, the Heroes Path Monumental Complex, created by Constantin Brancusi, is considered among the grand creations of mankind. The father of modern sculpture, Brancusi was born a short distance from Targu Jiu, in a peasant family of Hobita Village. Apart from the cultural heritage left by the master, Targu Jiu has a few other interesting attractions, making it the perfect day trip experience.
Targu Jiu (the fair on Jiu River) is the capital of Gorj County and has a population of about 70,000 people. It can easily be explored in just one day, with the architectural complex of Constantin Brancusi making for the highlight of an otherwise pleasant visit. Considered among the great masters of modern art, with works displayed in the world’s greatest museums and valued at millions, Constantin Brancusi has created some of the most famous sculptures in the world. Nevertheless, he left his most precious achievement in the city of Targu Jiu. The Heroes Path Complex consists of a series of grand scale sculptures disposed on an east-west axis that cuts through the center of the city.
I wish my works will rise in gardens and parks, for children to play over them, like they would have played over rocks and monuments risen from the Earth, nobody knowing what they are or who made them – but everyone feeling their necessity and friendship, like something that is part of Nature’s soul! – Constantin Brâncuși
HEROES PATH MONUMENTAL COMPLEX
The best place to start your visit is from the city park. A small green oasis with secular trees and shaded alleys, it also contains the first part of the Heroes Path complex. Right on the bank of Jiu River, the Table of Silence marks the beginning of a symbolic journey imagined by the genius of Brancusi. Walking east towards the park’s entry, the Chairs’ Alley connects the Table to the second grand monument, the Gate of the Kiss. Crossing the city center along the Heroes Path Street, you can easily reach the final monument, visible from afar. The impressive Endless Column is among the most famous monumental works of art in the world. These fascinating landmark, although easily exceptional on their own, have to be considered and admired as a whole, a homogenous artistic complex filled with deep meanings.
The Table of Silence (Masa Tăcerii)
The minimalist style of this masterpiece has been praised for decades. The perfect symmetry and circularity of the table and the surrounding twelve chairs creates a space of deep contemplation. Symbolizing the silence of deep thought and meditation, the table is created by two perfect stone cylinders. Around the table, at equal distance from it and from one another, there are twelve clepsydrae chairs. For some, the monument also symbolizes the Last Supper with Jesus at the center surrounded by the twelve apostles.
The Gate of the Kiss (Poarta Sărutului)
Following a charming alley through the park flanked by two rows of square clepsydrae chairs, the second monument is visible at a short walk away. The monumental gate at the entrance of the city is a symbol of love. The stylization of the kiss symbol has been a lifelong purpose for Brancusi. The stone gate is a sort of triumphal arch like many other around the world, but unlike others, it takes a humanly scale. Couples that pass through the gate have the custom of kissing under the arch.
The Endless Column (Coloana Infinitului)
On the same axis as the first two monuments but about 1 kilometer away on the other side of the city, the Endless Column is among the most famous and important monuments of modern art. The column was the only monument commissioned by the city to honor the heroes of World War I, but Brancusi created a whole complex that takes universal proportions. The absolute simplicity and perfect proportions of this masterpiece makes it to continue upwards for infinity, connecting the earth and the sky, the living and the departed. Made of cast iron, the column consists of 15 full square clepsydrae elements and two halves at both ends. It rises almost 30 meters high and weights almost 30 tons. Inspired by traditional motifs sculpted by peasants into their wooden house porches, the Endless Column has to be admired from all angles and distances, taking new forms and meanings.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS OF TÂRGU JIU
A beautiful and airy provincial town of Romania, Targu Jiu prides itself as being the city of Constantin Brancusi, keeper of the most impressive grand monuments created by the sculptor. Nevertheless, there are also several other interesting things to see in Targu Jiu. Lacking old monuments, most of the of the city center are modern. The most beautiful architecture dates from late 18th, 19th and early 20th century. The center of Targu Jiu is free of traffic and forms a charming area, with fountains and floral arcades.
The Revolution Square is surrounded by the most important highlights, with the beautiful Saints Voivode Church, also known as the Cathedral Church. Built in late 18th century on the place of an older church, it has impressive interior and exterior paintings. An intriguing feature comes from the figures of antiquity philosophers painted outside next to the usual saints, a rare characteristic for an orthodox church. In front of the church sits the Administration Palace of Targu Jiu, a beautiful building dating from around 1900. A short distance from the square, right in from of the modern stadium of Targu Jiu stands the charming Town Hall, dating from 1932.
The most appealing street of Targu Jiu starts behind the Cathedral Church. The fascinating Tudor Vladimirescu Street is pedestrian and although short, it still holds its turn of the century look. It has the highest number of historical buildings, most of them dating from the beginning of 20th century. Similar houses and buildings can be found all around the center of Targu Jiu, the most interesting including the Tudor Vladimirescu College, Christian Tell Library, Barbu Ganescu House, Dimitrie Maldarescu House, Vasile Moanga House and others.
The small charming Holy Apostles Church is on the same Heroes Path axis as the monuments of Brancusi and also part of the whole complex. The sculptor considered the location of this church as part of his project, creating the other monuments on a line that also crosses the church. Other interesting attractions of Targu Jiu include the refreshing city park, a handful of statues or the buzzing central market.
Probably the most distinctive feature of Targu Jiu is the fact that it holds an impressive number of outdoor sculptures. Most of them were created by international artists during annual sculpture camps held in the memory of Constantin Brancusi. Almost all green corners and crossroads throughout the city are adorned with sculptures.
Thousands of pages have been written about the life and work of Constantin Brancusi. There are so many things to say about the “Colossus of Hobița” that a lifetime could not be enough. The artistic roots of Brancusi’s work can definitely be found in his childhood, influenced by the nature of his home village, the spiritual side of Romanian peasants and the traditional archaic art. Until 1894, Brancusi practices various jobs across Oltenia, although he is always drawn towards knowing more about the world. He then follows the classes of Craftsmanship School in Craiova, where he learns sculpture, continuing with the Art School of Bucharest, beginning to create his own style in sculpture. Brancusi prefers raw and pure form in sculpture, away from the exact reproduction of visual forms. Constantin Brancusi understands that Romania cannot cater to his artistic ideals and begins to work towards a plan to reach a bigger European capital. With not enough money, Brancusi leaves the country in 1903, passing through Vienna, Munich, Zurich and Basel on his way to Paris, the final destination. Much of the road was made on foot, creating a larger than life model of what drives an artist towards his higher creative purpose. He is forced to sells his watch and extra clothes to buy a train ticket and all along the way he takes various jobs but always visits every museums he comes across. Reaching Paris in the spring of 1904, where he works in various places, including the atelier of Auguste Rodin. In the years to come, he created many of his masterpieces in his small atelier, becoming known around the world for pieces like “Miss Pogany”, “Sleeping Muse”, “Bird in Space”, “Child’s Head” and many others. Today, his masterpieces are displayed in the biggest art museums of the world and sold at auctions with millions.
Best Accommodation in Targu Jiu
Rating 9.0 from 244 Reviews!
Located just 600 meters from the Heroes Path, this splendid boutique hotel features exceptional design with comfortable and fully-equipped rooms, an excellent restaurant, a bar and free parking for its guests!
Rating 9.5 from 205 Reviews!
One of the best reviewed and most appreciated accommodation in Târgu Jiu, it is located just 5 minutes from the masterpieces of Brâncuși. Apart from the excellent rooms, it also features one of the best restaurants in town!
Rating 9.2 from 272 Reviews!
Located right next to the park that features the first two monuments of the Heroes Path, this lovely guesthouse offers nice rooms with private bathrooms, a charming terrace and a delicious traditional restaurant!