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The Steel Crown of Romania was made from a cannon captured from the Ottoman Empire during the Romanian war for Independence. During this conflict, which lasted from 1877 to 1878, the Russian czar allied with the Romanians in order to exploit Turkish weakness. The czar gained control of Bessarabia whereas the Romanians obtained independence from the Ottomans. The Romanian Kingdom was a constitutional monarchy welded together out of two former vassal provinces, Moldavia and Wallachia. Ruled by various monarchs from the house of Hohenzollern, the kingdom lasted between 13 March 1881 and 30 December 1947 (when rule over Romania passed to the communist party).
The Turkish gun melted down to provide steel for the Steel Crown was seized at Plevna (Pleven) in Bulgaria after the end of a 5 month siege which cost the combined Russian/Romanian army 38,000 casualties. The actual steel molding work was completed at the Romanian army arsenal in Bucharest. Carol I, the first king of the new Romanian state chose to use steel in order to commemorate the bravery of the Romanian soldiers (and because he needed gold for other things).
The steel crown is a striking historical object which signifies rulership of Romania. Today it is a curiosity kept at the National History Museum at the former Postal Services Palace in Bucharest. For all of its historical importance, the crown is made of steel and has the practical and material value of a paperweight.