Bucharest
Home

Bucharest

With a population of about 2 million people, Bucharest vibrates with energy, secret places, museums with exciting collections and special buildings. At the same time, Bucharest is the capital of Romania, and the largest city, the industrial, commercial, and university centre of the country.
Although there is a legend that says that the town was founded by a shepherd named Bucur, from which it would have taken its name, historically the first mention of the locality appears in 1459, in a document signed by Vlad Țepes (long associated with the mysterious Count Dracula). In 1859, it became the capital of Romania, the centre of the artistic, cultural and media scene, and between the two world wars is was called The Little Paris, thanks to the elegant architecture and the Bucharest elite. Today, the metropolis has the same administrative level as the counties of the country and is divided into six sectors plus Ilfov, a sector with separated administration.
Public transport is provided by the subway, with tunnels connecting all major city areas, trams, buses and trolleybuses, as well as hundreds of taxis. Bucharest also has two international airports – Henri Coandă (Otopeni) and Aurel Vlaicu (Băneasa), which are close to each other.
The most important attractions for hundreds of thousands of tourists are: the People’s House, the Romanian Athenaeum, the Old City Centre, the Dimitrie Gusti Village Museum, the Romanian Peasant Museum, the House of the Free Press, the Arch of Triumph and Herăstrău Park. Below are some of the most famous and admired places of the Romanian capital, which tourists must not miss.

The People’s House, also called the Palace of Parliament

 

Well known for its impressive seize, The Palace of Parliament is characterized by the distinctive architectural style that blends Byzantine style and influences of Renaissance, Germanic and Baroque styles.

It is known as the People’s House and was built at the request of the leader Nicolae Ceaușescu, impressed by the greatness of the buildings found during his visits to North Korea and China, and inspired by the great ceremonies he received in the two countries.

Built on an artificial hill, the building reaches a height of 84 m, has 12 floors and stretches over 330,000 m2. Ceaușescu wanted here to be the residence of the presidency, the central committee of the Communist Party and some ministries. Featuring a pyramid-like shape, the palace includes vast halls, long corridors and huge halls. The largest – the Unirii Hall has a height of 16 m, an area of ​​2.200 m2 and the largest chandelier in the building, with a weight of three tons and 7.000 light bulbs.

More than 1.000 rooms capture the eyes of viewers through the opulence of the decorations, solid wood furniture, carved doors, marble columns, crystal chandeliers, silk drapes and huge carpets. Besides its luxurious and extravagant interior, the colossal size has ranked the People’s House as second in the world in size, after the Pentagon.

After visiting the interior, tourists can surprise an exceptional view of the building, right from nearby Izvor Park, a place where 17 ha of green grass attract visitors to rest.

The Old City Centre and the surroundings

 

Next on the list of must-see places is the Old City Centre, now transformed into a centre of entertainment in the evening, full of clubs and pubs. However, during the day, the charm of is given by the old and fascinating buildings, the stone-paved streets that will translate you into other times, and the cosy terraces where you can happily enjoy a good coffee, a filling lunch or a hearty dinner.

From the Old Centre, you can head to the University Square, where you will discover the National History Museum, the Colțea Tower and the University of Bucharest. Nearby, on Regina Elisabeta Boulevard, you reach the National Military Club Palace, a building built in 1911, where the beauty of the Byzantine, Gothic, Norwegian or marble rooms will captivate you.

Another attraction in the area is the Cişmigiu Garden and Calea Victoriei, attractive for the way classic culture combines with modern luxury hotels and shops. The exceptional architecture of one of the oldest theatres in Bucharest – Odeon, as well as a stop in front of Capitol Hotel, the place where the country’s most important writers and musicians enjoyed their coffee and tea since 1900. Along with shops with internationally renowned brands, you can visit the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Central University Library and the George Enescu Museum – Romania’s internationally famous composer.

Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum

 

The first outdoor museum in Romania, the Village Museum, was built as a tribute to the major importance that rural life and traditions has had in Romania’s history and evolution.

Prior to the first half of the 20th century, most of Romania’s population lived in villages, Romania’s largest urbanization and industrialization being realized in the time of Nicolae Ceaușescu. The rural communities were organized to meet every day needs, people made their clothes manually, and food was provided by agriculture.

Displayed here are village and boyar houses from all parts of Romania, in the immediate vicinity of the Arch of Triumph and Herăstrău Park. The houses were disassembled, piece by piece, transported by train, cart or boat from their originating areas to Bucharest. Then they were assembled on the platform of today’s museum on the shores of Lake Herăstrău. The most recent house belongs to the 19th century, and the oldest house reproduced is from the 17th century.