Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, is situated in the south of the country. Known in the past as “The Little Paris “Bucharest has changed a lot lately and today it has become a very interesting mix of old and new that has a little to do with its initial reputation. Finding a 300 years old church near a steel-and-glass building that sit both next to a communist style building is common place in Bucharest. Some people enjoy the unique mix of architecture , while others feel uncomfortable around the gray buildings and the lack of western style tourist attractions. However, Bucharest offer some excellent attractions, and, in recent years, cultivated a sophisticated and modern sensibility that many have come to expect from a European capital. In the first place, Bucharest is a cultural city. Here you find the biggest number of museums, universities and other cultural institutes. To visit the city, start from downtown area. Many cultural institutes are located there.
A symbol-building of the national culture, the Romanian Athenaeum, the concert hall it’s just breathtaking and the walls look like they have a story to tell. It’s history, architecture and music in one place. The building was inaugurated in 1888 and its round silhouette is explained by the initial use, a riding school. The circular building is the city’s main concert hall and home of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic and of the George Enescu
annual international music festival.A portion of the construction funds was raised by public subscription in a 28-year long effort, of which the slogan is still remembered today: “Donate one leu for the Ateneu! Romania’s great personalities and scientists have lectured here, all well-known and young Romanian professional artists have held concerts here, numerous world-class bands and soloists have performed here, the masterpieces of national music had their premieres here, kings and queens came by to attend events of national and universal importance, in short, historic moments took place in the Romanian Athenaeum.
2. The Romanian National Art Museum – The Royal Palace
The Romanian National Art Museum is situated in the central area of Bucharest, in the building of the former Royal Palace and represents a significant edifice for the architecture of Bucharest. The rich and valuable heritage hosted by the museum is divided into two galleries: the European Art Gallery and the National gallery, comprising The Old Romanian Art Gallery and The Modern Romanian Art Gallery.It features notable collections of medieval and modern Romanian art, as well as the international collection assembled by the Romanian royal family.
3. Village Museum
The Village Museum is perhaps the best introduction to the country. It is the second largest open- air museum in Europe, located in the Herăstrău Park. There are more than 60 original houses, farmsteads, windmills, watermills and churches from all of Romania’s historic regions: Transylvania, Oltenia, Dobrogea and Moldavia. One of the greatest outdoor museums, it contains exhibits that show you the cultural differences in Romania, because you know where it was brought from. Most of the houses date from the mid 19th century, but there are some that date from as early as 1775. The highlight of the museum is probably the steep belfry of the wooden Maramures church, complete with exquisite but faded icons. Another important exhibit is the wooden house of Straja, dug into the ground and topped with thatched roofs. The museum has a great souvenir shop and a stall selling traditional Romanian sweets.
4. Parliament Palace
According to the World Records Academy, the Parliament Palace is the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function, most expensive administrative building and heaviest building. The construction of the Palace of Parliament started in 1983, the ceremony of laying the foundation stone was on the 25th of June 1984. The building has about 1.000 rooms, of which 440 offices, over 30 hall, saloons, restaurants, and service rooms. 400 architects and about 20.000 workers working in three shifts a day took part in the construction. At the time of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s 1989 overthrow and execution, the building structure and design were complete. Subsequently, many of the furnishings were never installed while the last three basement levels and a large clock tower were never finished. During the regime change, the new leaders of Romania referred to the building as the House of Ceaușescu, to highlight the excessive luxury in which Ceaușescu would have lived, in stark contrast to the squalor and poverty endured by many people living in Romania at the time.
5. Palace of the Patriarchy
The building complex is made up of the Palace of the Patriarchy, the Patriarchal Residence and the Patriarchal Cathedral. Dealul Mitropoliei (Romanian for “Metropolitanate Hill”), also called Dealul Patriarhiei or “Patriarchate Hill”, is a small hill in Bucharest, and an important historic, cultural, architectural, religious and touristic point in the national capital. From a religious point of view, it is one of the centres of Romanian Orthodoxy.
6. The Old Town
Only a few steps from our main hotel Intercontinental , The Old Town is the most known shopping and entertainment area in the city center and the favorite meeting place in Bucharest. Also known as Lipscani or the Historical Centre,it features a large area of themed cafes and bars, clubs and international or traditional restaurants.
7. Stavropoleos Church
Stavropoleos Church is an Eastern Orthodox building in central Bucharest, built in Brâncovenesc style. The patrons of the church are St. Archangels Michael andGabriel. The name Stavropoleos is a Romanian rendition of a Greek word, Stauropolis, meaning “The city of the Cross”. One of the monastery’s constant interests is Byzantine music, expressed through its choir and the largest collection of Byzantine music books in Romania.
8. The Voievodal Palace
You can visit the ruins of the first capital fortress of Walachian rulers. Also, there are displays of ceramic items, tools, enameled tiles, stone and marble slabs, pots and water pipes. The Voievodal Palace or the Royal Court is the oldest feudal monument in Bucharest, which used to be the residence of Walachian rules for more than two centuries. Apart from the political role it played, the fortress would also become the center of economic life of Bucharest, a center around which merchandisers and craftsmen gathered who gave the names to the streets in this central area according to their occupations or the towns from where they imported commodities
9. Manuc’s Inn
An architecture monument of great importance built by in the 19th century, the inn initially consisted of 15 bolted cellars, 23 shops, parlors, storage rooms, servant rooms, kitchens, and also the rooms which used to host more than 500 people. In the second half of the 19th century, the inn was turned into a hotel famous for the epoch balls and theatre plays; it is said that, apart from social events, the inn witnessed the negotiations leading to the pace-making in the Russian- Turkish war of 1812, as well as the discussions prior to Romania’s entering the First World War. At the beginning of the 90’s, Manuc’s Inn served as a restaurant, and preserved its architecture with its two floors, large decorated wood arcades and the terraces surrounding the interior yard. Nowadays, it hosts a hotel and a traditional Romanian restaurant.
10. George Enescu Museum
The National Museum ‘George Enescu’ was opened in Cantacuzino Palace, one of the most imposing palaces in Bucharest. A walking down the Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue) reveals the sumptuous entrance, in Art Nouveau style, that announces the luxury of another époque. George Enescu is the composer that marks the most important international musical manifestation in Romania. The next edition of the festival is meant to occur in September 2015.
11. The Arch of Triumph
The Arch of Triumph is situated in the north part of Bucharest, in borough 1, at the junction of Kiseleff Road and Constantin Prezan. The monument, designed by Petre Antonescu, was built in 1921. It celebrates Romania’s victory in World War I. The first, wooden, triumphal arch was built hurriedly, after Romania gained its independence in 1878, so that the victorious troops could march under it. Another temporary arch was built on the same site, in 1922, after World War I, which was demolished in 1935 to make way for the current triumphal arch, which was inaugurated in September 1936. The current arch has a height of 27 metres. The sculptures with which the facades are decorated were created by famous Romanian sculptors such as Ion Jalea and Dimitrie Paciurea. Nowadays, military parades are held beneath the arch each 1 December, with the occasion of Romania’s national holiday.