Squares Bearing Witness to the History

The world history has changed with the resistance, protests and demonstrations that began in the squares of Tiananmen, Azadi, Dekabrist and lastly Tahrir Square...

Squares Bearing Witness to the History

World Bulletin / News Desk


Egypt - Tahrir Square - Cairo


The name of Tahrir Square, which is located in the center of Egypt's capital city Cairo, was in the 19th century Ismailiyya Square. This name came from Hidiv of Egypt Ismail Pasha at that time. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, the name of the square has been changed to Tahrir Square meaning “freedom”.

The square has been the traditional gathering place for the riots such as “Bread Riots” in 1977 and the protests against the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Tahrir Square was also the center of the huge demonstrations in which more than 1 million protesters participated in 2011, which resulted in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. Tahrir Square took its place in the history of Egypt as a place where many historical events have occurred.


Iraq – Firdos Square - Baghdad


Firdos Square in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, witnessed one of the most important days in history on April 9, 2003. On that day, US troops occupying the country entered Firdos Square, which is in the center of Baghdad.

The Saddam Hussein Statue here was attacked by the Iraqi people shortly after the Iraq War invasion. Later, the statue was toppled by an American armored vehicle. The development, symbolizing the end of the Saddam regime, took its place in history with this photo frame.


Russia - Dekabrist Square - Saint Petersburg


During the reign of Nicholas I of Russia (1825-1855), the officers and intellectuals who were influenced by the ideas emerged from French Revolution and who wanted to limit the authority of the Tsar with a constitution revolted in Saint Petersburg on 14 December 1825.

This revolt was violently suppressed by the Tsar and some of the captured people, who committed to the rebellion, were executed and some of them were sent to exile to Siberia. Since the uprising came out in December, it was called Decembrist. A hundred years later, in 1925, the square was renamed as Decembrists’ Square.


Russia – Red Square - Moscow


Establishment of the world-famous square in Moscow, capital of Russia, dates back to the 15th century. The 73,000 square meter square was the scene of demonstrations, executions, and parades throughout history. The name of the square that came from the word ‘Krasnaya’ (Red) meant also ‘beautiful’ at that time.

During the Soviet Union period, parades of May 1st and 7th November (October Revolution) were held at Red Square. The Kremlin, the administrative center of Russia, and the memorial grave of Lenin, the founder of the USSR, are also in this area.


Azerbaijan - Azadliq Square - Baku


Azadliq Square is located in the capital city of Azerbaijan and its name during the Soviet period was Lenin Square. It has been the place where many significant historical incidents had occurred on the way to the independence of Azerbaijan. On 20 January 1990 Azeris were gathered in this square to protest the developments in Karabakh.

In order to restore order and intervene in the Baku riots, 30,000 Soviet troops entered Baku and they waged a war on civilians. More than hundred civilians were massacred. The funerals turned the ceremonies where where tens of thousands of people attended. This massacre, known as Black January, accelerated the process of independence of Azerbaijan.


China - Tiananmen Square - Beijing


Tiananmen Square was built in 1417. The first name was Cheng Tian Man. This name meant that the emperor ruled the country according to the heavenly rules. This square, also called the National Gate, is located in the very center of Beijing. The events occurred in 1989 were important in the history of the square.

Between 15 April and 4 June thousands of students, intellectuals and workers made protests in this square. The Chinese government, however, suppressed these protests violently. On 3rd and 4th June at night Chinese soldiers entered the square with tanks. This photo frame became the symbol of the protests resulted with the death of about three thousand civilians.


Iran - Azadi Square - Tehran


In 1971 the Shahyaad Tower, which is in Tehran, capital of Iran, was built in order to symbolize the entrance of the city in honor of the 2,500th year of the Persian. Since the name “Shahyaad” means “remembering the Shahs”, its name was changed to the Statue of Libery after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

During the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the square became the scene of violent clashes against the administration of Shah Riza Pahlavi. On 1 February 1979, Shiite cleric Ayatollah Khomeini was greeted by a million people in this square on his return from exile.


The Czech Republic – Wenceslas Square – Prague


Wenceslas Square was first constructed 600 years ago after it was used as a horse market during the IV Charles period. Since then, the square has been a place for the ceremonies for people from all strata, organization, and political party in the Czech Republic. When Alexander Dubcek, who came to power in Czechoslovakia in 1968, followed policies unlikely from the USSR and was directed to liberal politics in the political arena, the reaction of the USSR was severe; Czechoslovakia was occupied by the Russian army.

On 16 January 1969, a 21-year-old university student protesting the entry of Russian tanks into Prague committed self-immolation in Wenceslas Sqaure. A month later, on 25 February 1969, a Czech teenager studying at the Technical University of Jan Zajic attended commemorative ceremonies for in front of the St. Wenceslas statue. Then he also committed self-immolation. The communist regime did not allow to organize a funeral and to bury him in Prague. Now in the same square, there is a monument for these two young students right in front of the statue of St. Wenceslas.


Turkey - Taksim and Sultanahmet Square - Istanbul


Taksim and Sultanahmet squares in Istanbul have witnessed many important events throughout history.

Istanbul's oldest square, Sultanahmet Square, dates back to Byzantium. The hill called the Hippodrome during the Byzantine period was named as the Atpazarı (Horse Square) Square by the Ottomans. Many Janissaries revolts occurred in this square during the Ottoman era. Sultanahmet Square was the place where thousands of protestors gathered in the March 31 Incident during the Constitutional period.

In response to the occupation of İzmir on 15 May 1919, thousands of Istanbulites were gathered in Sultanahmet Square again.


Taksim Square, which is one of the important squares in Istanbul, was the center of demonstrations and protests especially during the republican period. For instance, Bloody Sunday (Kanlı Pazar) occurred in 1 May 1977 in Taksim Square and on that day 34 civilians were killed.


First published: dunyabulteni.net


Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Kasım 2017, 15:43