The Ministry of Defence and the association formed by two companies, one Romanian and the other Italian, have signed the contract for the restoration and refurbishment of the Caraiman Cross in Busteni, a monument included in the Book of World Records.
The Ministry of Defence and the association formed by TOP LINE CONSTRUCT S.R.L. (leader) and IMPRESA DI CONSTRUZIONI ING E. MANTOVANI S.p.A signed, on 7 May 2018, at the ministry’s headquarters, the contract for the restoration and refurbishment of the Caraiman Cross. The association of companies was selected as the winner of the tender procedure carried out through the Electronic System for Public Procurements, the contract having a value of RON 13,750,923.13, VAT not included. The investments entailed by the project will span a period of 36 months, and the works are set to be coordinated by the Sibiu Centre for Domains and Infrastructure, part of the Directorate for Domains and Infrastructure.
The announcement concerning the refurbishment of the Caraiman Cross was made in the spring of last year. More precisely, on 23 February 2017, it was officially announced that Ionut Vulpescu, Culture and National Identity Minister at the time, endorsed the restoration, refurbishment and conservation of the Commemorative Cross for the Romanian Heroes of the First World War – the Heroes’ Cross on the Caraiman Peak. The endorsement also stipulated the construction of an exhibition area, as requested by the Defence Ministry’s Directorate for Domains and Infrastructure. According to the document, the project consist of restoration and refurbishment works on the platform trims, the exterior and interior trims, the metalworks, and the woodworks on the pedestal. Likewise, the installations will be revised, the cross’s lighting system will be replaced, and a high-tech system will ensure protection against lightning. Investments will also go into the creation of an exhibition area inside the monument. Through this announcement made by the Culture Ministry, the decision had been basically taken for the value of the symbol of the Caraiman Peak to be restored, against the backdrop in which, in July 2016, the Romanian Government had also approved a Government Decision to include the Caraiman Peak Commemorative Cross in the centralised inventory of public assets, to place it under the management of the Defence Ministry and to update Annex no.4 of Government Decision no.1705/2006 on the approval of the centralised inventory of public assets. In this context, in its capacity as legal manager of this monument, the Defence Ministry will carry out, until 2020, the project titled “Restoration, refurbishment, conservation and furnishing of an exhibition space within the Commemorative Cross for the Romanian Heroes of the First World War Monument – the Caraiman Cross,” co-financed from the European Fund for Regional Development through the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020. The financing contract was signed by the Defence Ministry and the Regional Development, Public Administration and European Grants Ministry in the summer of last year.
A historical monument built from 1926 to 1928, the Caraiman Cross has been designated the tallest summit cross in the world, according to the Guinness World Record website, the monument being verified by Guinness experts on 14 August 2013. According to the Culture Ministry’s List of Historical Monuments, the Commemorative Cross for the Romanian Heroes of the First World War, located on the Caraiman Peak in Bucegi Mountains, is a historical monument included in Group A – monuments of national and universal value. It is located at an altitude of 2,291 metres, has a height of 39.5 metres, including an 8-metre concrete pedestal. It is located in the Caraiman Massif, right on the edge of the precipice toward Seaca Valley, being unique in Europe through both the altitude of its location and its size, according to the website dedicated to this monument. Also known as the Heroes’ Cross, the monument was built to honour the memory of the Romanians who died in the First World War, being built out of steel frames. The cross stands on a reinforced concrete pedestal. Inside the pedestal there is a room that initially housed the electricity generator needed to fuel the 120 500-watt lightbulbs on the cross’s outline. The monument was built thanks to King Ferdinand and Queen Mary of Romania, being placed on the Caraiman Peak in order to be seen from as far away as possible. The construction works started in 1926 and ended in August 1928, the monument being inaugurated and consecrated on 14 September 1928, on the Feast of the Cross. The pedestal of the cross was built in 1930, out of reinforced concrete coated with finished limestone. The pedestal was built two years after the consecration of the Cross in order to provide better embedding, considering that the cross had been initially inserted directly into the rock. The cross used to light up on the Assumption of Mary (August 15) and Feast of the Ascension (June 5), date on which the Heroes’ Day was also celebrated. When construction works were completed, the Heroes’ Monument was the tallest metal structure in Europe, being located at an altitude of over 2,000 metres, being comparable, in terms of engineering and symbolic accomplishment, to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Statue of Liberty in New York, or Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer.