Bucharest, often referred to as the Paris of the East, is a dynamic and diverse city. It reflects the complex history of Romania and its multi-faceted identity. Romania is a young country, brought together at the turn of the 20th century when its three main regions, Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia broke free from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire respectively to form what we know today as Romania. Its unique Latin origin, dating back from Roman rule, sets it apart from its neighbours, and yet Romania is unmistakably a Balkan state. Its history is surprising and tumultuous and can be witnessed through the very diverse architecture of Bucharest.
Scattered in and around the city are several lakes. The biggest one is Lake Morri but several other lakes stretch across the Northern part of the city along the Colentina River such as Lake Herastrau, Lake Floreascan, Lake Tei and Lake Colentina.
Bike by Lake Morri
Lake Herastrau in the evening
There are also many parks and gardens.
Cismigiu Park, the oldest public garden in Bucharest
The Botanical Garden of Bucharest, founded in 1860 by the Medicine and Pharmacology faculty, counts more than 10,000 species of plants
Among Bucharest’s most famous buildings are…
Arcul de Triumf, built in its current form in 1935 and modelled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
The Palace of the Parliament, built in the 1980s under the reign of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. It is the largest public building in the world (350,000 m2) and houses the Romanian Parliament.
Pasajul Vilacrosse and Pasajul Macca or how Bucharest earned the nickname of “Little Paris”.
Bucharest Old Town and the Carol I statue on Revolution Square.
Although many of Bucharest buildings were destroyed during World War II, fires and earthquakes and above all Nicolae Ceausescu’s programme of systemisation, many still stand to tell the story of the city. The eclectic mix of architectural styles reflects the many influences that shaped Bucharest and the country.
Bucharest has incredible architecture, but also many abandoned buildings that still have so much charm. These places cannot be visited individually, but if you like photography and history don’t miss the Beautiful Decay Tour of Bucharest!
The 120-year old Macca House
The Truth newspaper Trust (1898)
You may also stumble across one of the many colourful hidden passage of Bucharest.
Colourful umbrellas of Pasajul Victoria
The English Passage leads you straight through a building that was first built as a brothel in 1900. Since WWII it’s being used as social accommodation
Carturesti Carusel (“Carousel of Light”) is a breathtaking bookstore and art gallery located inside a beautifully restored 19th century building
Food and drink
Weather you want a taste of hearty, generous, Balkan cuisine or are looking for a fun and trendy place to eat, Bucharest is full of wonderful restaurant and cafés.
Caru’ cu Bere is Bucharest’s oldest brewery (circa 1869)
Aquarella, just above an art galery
The Urbanist Café
Watch the sun set over the copper rooftops of Bucharest
Sip a drink at Pura Vida Sky Bar
Tree house atmosphere in the middle of the city at Shift bar
Your stay in Bucharest is the perfect opportunity to taste some iconic dishes of Eastern Europe but also Romanian wines and beers.
Sarmale are Romanian cabbage rolls. Their size varies depending on the region. In Moldavia they are smaller, while in the west and south, like in Transylvania, they are bigger.
Soups of all kind are an essential component of Romanian meals. Here, Ciorba de burtă
Mititei is a very poupular street food made of spiced beef
Placinta cu brânză are delicious cheese pies
Pasca is a festive Romanian cake made with brioche and filled with sweet cheese and raisins
Fruity Moldavian red wine
Not many people would be able to name a Romanian musician or painter. ND Bucharest is the perfect opportunity to discover more about Romanian culture. You might be surprised: Bucharest is a very artsy city!
Painting by Ștefan Luchian
Painting by János Mattis-Teutsch
Sculpture by Constantin Brâncuși
Painting by Nicolae Grigorescu
Painting by Marcel Janco
Bucharest also has a lot of street art
Bucharest also has a very dynamic music scene. Whatever your taste: pop-rock, jazz, gypsy jazz, hip-hop, you’ll find something to get excited about.
Dancing the night away at Fratelli
If you like classical music, why not have a listen to George Enescu’s exciting and flamboyant Rapsodia Romana? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UupPAfu6Ryk Considered a musical prodigy, George Enescu is one of Romania’s most famous musicians and has played all over Europe and America. If you’re lucky you might even get to listen to it at the Romanian National Opera!
Built in 1897 as a palace for art and science, the Romanian Athenaeum is the main host for classical concerts
Count Dracula might be inspired by Carpathian Prince Vlad III the Impaler, who was born far from Bucharest in the recesses of an Irish mind. But the rich folklore and mythology of the Romanian people, as well as the turbulent story of the country, has inspired many page turners.
Tell me, if I ever caught you
and kissed the arch of your foot,
wouldn’t you limp a little after that
for fear of crushing my kiss?…
One of Romania’s most famous writers is Eugen Ionescu, also known as Eugène Ionesco, who shared his life between Bucharest and Paris. He is one of the figureheads of the French Avant-Garde and the Theatre of the Absurd. One of his most famous play is Rhinoceros which was directed by Orson Welles in 1960.
To find out more about Bucharest and Romania, go to http://romaniatourism.com/bucharest.html.
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