||500 lei 2004 - 150th anniversary of the birth of Anghel Saligny||
37 mm diameter, 31.103 g, silver 99.9%, flat edge |
Obverse: ROMANIA, Romanian coat of arms, year 2004, denomination value 500 LEI and, image of the Cernavodă Bridge and inscription PODUL DE LA CERNAVODA (underlined), meaning CERNAVODĂ BRIDGE
|Reverse: portrait of Anghel Saligny, his signature over the shoulder, years 1854 - 1925 and circular inscription ANGHEL SALIGNY - 150 DE ANI DE LA NASTERE meaning 150 YEARS SINCE THE BIRTH
Issuing date: 13th of September 2004
Mintage: 500 coins
Engineer Anghel was born in the village of Șerbănești, village included today in the commune of Liești, inside the county of Galați. He was university professor, member Of the Romanian Academy and in the end even president of it.
He designed (in 1888) and led then the building of the bridge over Danube at Cernavodă, between 1890 (the foundation stone was placed on October 9th -old style- / October 21st -new style) and 1895 (inauguration took place on September 19th / October 1st). At the time this bridge was longest in Europe, third longest in the world, stretching over a total distance of 4088 meters. Until after the Second World War, the bridge was considered the most important and most magnificent engineering piece of work in this country. The bridge along auxiliary works cost 35 million lei gold.
Today, the Cernavodă Bridge is called Engineer Anghel Saligny Bridge (inscription PODUL ING. A. SALIGNY being barely visible on the coin), although at the time it was build its name was King Charles Bridge (Podul Regele Carol), after the sovereign's name.
Queen Marie of Romania has written in her memoirs (Story of My Life) about the participation of Romania in the Balkan Wars: "Romania thought that it had a historical right concerning the region in Bulgaria between Rusçuk [today Ruse] and Varna and, if it would have entered the fighting as an ally, it should have raised its voice, or if it could not reach its grand claims it would have at least seized the line Silistra - Balchik, so much needed in order to defend its great bridge of Cernavodă." The passage cited was translated into English from Romanian, as we were not able to grasp in our hands the original English text written by Queen Marie.
Anghel Saligny led the modernization works of the Constanța harbour, started in 1899 and finished only after more than 10 years. Between 1888 and 1889 he designed and supervized the construction of the silos at Brăila and Galați, employing as world premier in massive structures prefabricated wall panels and reinforced concrete.
The coin was engraved by Vasile Gabor.