The Medal of Cultural Merit was established by King Carol II in 1931. It was suppressed in 1944 and was not awarded in the period following the abolition of the Romanian monarchy, but it was reinstated in 2000 following the collapse of the communist regime.
It is awarded to Romanian citizens and foreigners in recognition of achievements in a variety of cultural fields. From 1931-1944 it was awarded in nine different categories for merit in science, education, the National Guard, scouting and sport, social welfare, literature, music and theatre, religion, and general culture. It is currently awarded for merit in literature, music, fine arts, performance arts, national heritage, religion, scientific research, architecture, and the promotion of culture. The categories have always been denoted by different ribbons.
Membership in the I Class Medal grade is currently limited to 1000 members for merit in literature, music, fine arts, performance arts, and national cultural heritage, and 600 members for merit in the promotion of culture, religion, scientific research, and architecture.
There are three models of the I Class Medal. The first features the portrait of King Carol II and the second features the portrait of King Mihai I. Both of these models feature an obverse inscription that translates to “Through Culture Towards Liberty.” The third model features the national arms of Romania and a reverse inscription that translates to "Cultural Merit."
The current model is listed in the Medals & Decorations of Romania (1990-). See also the Order of Cultural Merit in the Orders of the Kingdom of Romania (1881-1947) and Romania (1990-).
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