Târgu Jiu takes its name from the river Jiu, which runs through it. In antiquity, there was a Dacian village in around the location of today’s city surrounded by forests. After the Roman conquests of Oltenia (101-102), military units were stationed around the roads that connected different important routes at the time.
Constantin Brâncuși, who had lived here as a boy, was commissioned to contribute to a memorial monument to the fighters of World War I, called Calea Eroilor / The Heroes’ Street and was finished in 1938. His large sculptures are now the main tourist attractions in Târgu Jiu: The Table of Silence, Stool Alley, The Gate of the Kiss, and The Endless Column. The latter is shown in the middle section of the city’s coat of arms.
In the 1950s, the Communist mayor planned to demolish Brâncuși’s “bourgeois” art. The plan was not carried out.
In 1992, a university was founded and named after Brâncuși. The Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu is an homage to the Romanian heroes of the First World War. The ensemble comprises three sculptures: The Table of Silence, The Gate of the Kiss and the Endless Column, on an axis 1,300 m (4,250 ft) long, oriented west to east. The ensemble is considered to be one of the great works of 20th-century outdoor sculpture.
- The Endless Column symbolises the concept of infinity and the infinite sacrifice of the Romanian soldiers. It is considered by Sydnei Geist the top point of the modern art. The Endless Column stacks 17 rhomboidal modules, with a half-unit at the top. The incomplete top unit is thought to be the element that expresses the concept of the infinite.
- Two other pieces constitute the Ensemble. The Table of Silence is a circular stone table surrounded by twelve hourglass-seats, which symbolise the time. The Table of Silence represents the moment before the battle on which the combatants were going to participate. Nevertheless, the seats are not located close to the edges of the table. The Gate of Kiss, built in travertine (marble), features a kiss motif on the gate pillars. The transition to another life occurs through The Gate of Kiss.