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Place de la Bastille is where the infamous Bastille prison stood until 1789. Currently, it is one of the main venues for state ceremonies and political demonstrations. In the middle of the square stands the July Column commemorating the revolution of 1830. There is also a modern Opera Bastille building.
Bastille was a symbol of absolutism hated by the bourgeoisie. Wolter and the Marquis de Sade were imprisoned there. The prison was captured by the Parisian revolutionaries on July 14, 1789. Soon the building was demolished. Material from the walls was used, among others, to build the Concord Bridge.
July 14 is today a national holiday of France. On this day, flowers are laid on Place de la Bastille. However, the column standing here commemorates not the revolution of 1789 but the July "glory days" of 1830. The July Column was created from melted Napoleonic cannons. It is empty inside and it is crowned with a gilt figure of the Spirit of Freedom carrying a torch.