This charming city was once known as “Little Paris”. The city is rich in history with dizzying yet fascinating architecture. You can explore the sprawling city parks, admiring the works at the excellent museums, visit the meaningful monuments and strolling through the Old City. The city has a complex past but today it is a booming European capital.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.THE OLD TOWN
With buildings dated back to the 15th and 16th century, Old Town is one of Bucharest’s earliest settlements. Once it was the seat of Romanian princes, a center for trade, a place to worship, and a crossroads for travelers. Old Town has been gentrified and renovated after spending decades as a slum. While historic buildings has been renovated other properties is still waiting their facelift. The contrast gives that much more charm to the pedestrian lanes and cobbled streets lined with mom-and-pop bookshops, theaters, restaurants, and cafés.
The 19th century building was designed by French architect Albert Galleron, resembles an ancient Greek temple with a 41-meter-high dome and a peristyle of six Ionic columns. It is the city’s most prestigious concert hall and home to the Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic. Highlight is the lobby with intricately painted gold-leaf ceilings, cascading balconies, spiral marbled staircases and a 70-meter-long and three-meter-high fresco that winds its way around the circular hall proudly depicts scenes from Romania's history.
3.OLD PRINCELY COURT AND OLD PRINCELY COURT CHURCH
It was formally the palatial residence of Wallachian princes. A statue of the infamous Romanian prince stands among what's left from the past, including the court's walls, several arches, and columns. The Old Princely Court Church was built in 1559 next to the palace. For the next two centuries follow it was the place for succeeding Romanian princes to be coronated.On display in the Old Court Museum is pottery and artifacts found during an archaeological dig around the ruins.
4.THE ARCH OF TRIUMPH
The first Arch of Triumph was made of wood in 1922 and dedicated to the Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I. It was rebuilt on a design by the architect Petre Antonescu in 1936. The arch is adorned with sculptures created by the most notable Romanian sculptors, including Ion Jalea and Dimitrie Paciurea. It continues to serve its purpose of being the central point for military parades.
5.DIMITRIE GUSTI NATIONAL VILLAGE MUSEUM
The unique open-air museum was founded in 1936 and depicts the traditional way of life in Romania. Tourist can wander through 300 traditional buildings, including peasant homes with steep roofs, thatched barns, heavy log cabins, various types of churches, workshops, and mills - all of which have been transported from towns across every region of Romania. Each building was carefully taken apart, shipped to the museum, and rebuilt to be part of the village-like setting in the park. Also on display is pottery and artifacts as well as other traditional items from around the country.
The restored 19th century building in the center of the Old Town is home to the cities most impressive bookshop. The 1,000-square-meter space is spread throughout six floors, with shelves stocked with more than 10,000 books as well as 5,000 albums and DVDs. The bookstore is also frequented for its changing contemporary art displays, media center presentations, and welcoming top floor bistro café.
7.NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ROMANIAN HISTORY
Housed since 1970 in the Neoclassical building originally built for the Romanian postal service. Displays of the country's most fascinating historical exhibits dating from prehistoric to modern times can be seen in the 60 rooms of the museum. Highlights is the biggest permanent exhibit of a huge replica of the 2nd-century Trajan's Column, thousands of gold items and Neolithic artifacts, the Romanian Crown Jewels, and gold artifacts from the 4th century Pietroasele Treasures.
The church was built in 1724 by a Greek monk, Ioanikie Stratonikeas. With its intricately carved entrance lined with columns, the Brâncovenesc-style church stands apart as a unique landmark in Bucharest. The church features fine stone and wood carvings and a combination of Romanian and Byzantine elements. The surrounding garden courtyard is filled with 18th century tombstones, with several frescoes and wood icons in the inside. The church was restored several times after damage from earthquakes.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
Romanian cities have good public-transport systems comprised of buses, trams, trolleybuses and, in some cases, maxitaxis. Bucharest is the only Romanian city with an underground metro.
The best time to visit Bucharest is between March and October as the weather is not too cold or too hot.