Calea Victoriei 88, București 030167, Romania
Strada Constantin Esarcu 1, București 030167, Romania
Welcome to our first stop on our tour of Bucharest - the Romanian Athenaeum! One of the most prestigious concert halls for classical music in the entire country, it is a neoclassical structure completed in 1888. The Romanian Athenaeum is a gorgeous building with its high dome and columns, as well as its stunning interior highlighting ornate frescoes and elegant designed details.
The concert hall boasts its amazing acoustics along with its grand appearance. It has been a location for many well renowned artists to perform from all over the world. But, of course it is the home for the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the most influential orchestras in all of Romania. They regularly perform, so keep an eye out for their schedule! That is a show you would not want to miss!
The Romanian Athenaeum is a cultural symbol of the country, showcasing the mass amount of talent, but also Romania’s rich musical heritage and its strong support in fostering the art of classical music.
Strada Benjamin Franklin 10, București 030167, Romania
Strada Demetru I. Dobrescu 1, București 030167, Romania
The extravagant building on our right is the National Museum of Art of Romania. The structure itself was built in the 1800s as the royal palace. But, the palace was not always this grand and large. Over the course of about 50 years new additions to the palace were added with every new King and Prince that inhabited its walls. But, when King Carol I passed away, he left specific instructions regarding the palace and his art collection. He asked that his art will remain in the palace forever as it is now property of the Crown of Romania.
After many years of fires, bombings, and of course rebuilds, the decision was made in 1948 that the palace falls under the administration and use of the Ministry of Arts and Information, so through the year 1990 the palace was transformed into the current National Art Museum of Romania.
The housed art collection comprises over 70,000 artworks such as paintings, sculptures, drawings, and so much more. All of these pieces cover a wide range of periods, from medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Romanticism, and modern and contemporary. Of course the museum holds a large number of artworks from Romanian artists like Nicolae Grigorescu or Theodor Aman, but also well-known European artists such as Rembrandt.
Many events, lectures, and educational programs take place here at the museum, as well as the beautiful art that is readily available. The National Art Museum of Romania is in the center of Bucharest, making it a hub for Romanian culture and a must-visit destination.
C3QW+JW Bucharest, Romania
We are currently standing in Revolution Square in the heart of Bucharest. Due to its ideal location, it was the site of many protests and demonstrations that contributed to the fall of the communist government. Originally known as Palace Square before it was renamed to Revolution Square in 1989, is representative to the cultural identity of Bucharest and its citizens.
Surrounded by some of the most influential and important sites to Bucharest’s history such as the former royal palace that we just discussed, but also the former headquarters of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party which stands to your left. A powerful memory for many Romanians was when Nicolae Ceaușescu- the second and last communist leader of Romania - and his wife flew by helicopter on December 22, 1989 from this very spot at the very beginning of the Revolution.
As I’m sure you have also taken notice of the two monuments located in Revolution Square. The first being the striking tall structure, dedicated to those that lost their lives during the Romanian Revolution of 1989. This white marble monument is called the Memorial of Rebirth. The second monument is down further of the square and the Statue of luliu Maniu. He was Romania’s prime minister three different times between 1928 and 1933. Because he was in World War II fighting against the Soviet regime, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor where he died six years later and buried in a prison courtyard in a common grave without ceremony. This statue stands to recognize the many triumphs he led Romanian politics towards and that his knowledge and intellect is never to be forgotten.
Revolution Square is the center most part of arguably the most historically significant part of Bucharest. Here lies many important moments in the history of Romania and for its people.
Piata Revolutiei, București, Romania
On our right is Kretzulescu Church. Built between 1720 and 1722, it is an Eastern Orthodox church and is one of the best preserved in all of Bucharest. The church combines elements of Byzantine, Renaissance, and Ottoman architecture, also known as the elegant style of Brâncovenesc. Featuring intricate stone carvings, and frescoes, the interior is no different with paintings and numerous decorations showcasing Romanian heritage.
The church has gone through its fair share of repairs such as when the church was damaged during both the November 1940 earthquake and the Bucharest earthquake of 1977, as well as the Romanian Revolution of 1989. In the beginning of the communist regime, the church was even headed to be demolished but was thankfully saved by many architects who advocated for its right to stay.
If you look across the street, there will be the statue of Corneliu Coposu. He was the founding leader of the new Romanian National Peasant and Christian Democratic Party (PNTCD) and also worked hard to create better relations with Romanian’s Hungarian and Jewish minorities. He was released from Communist prison after 50 years when he was 74 years old. Once he was released he quickly revived the PNTCD and made it one of the strongest parties to go against the former communists who took power in Romania.
Calea Victoriei 66, București 010084, Romania
Calea Victoriei 44-46, București 010082, Romania
Just around the corner to our right is Odeon Theater. A smaller performing arts theater that opened to the public in 1946. It originally went by the name of Giulesti Theater but in 1990 changed its name to its current, Odeon Theater. Built in a beautiful historical building, it also has a unique feature of its sliding ceiling. It is only one out of few across all of Europe.
Over the years, the style and themes of Odeon’s productions have grown. Nowadays the 35 actors enjoy putting on performances to promote cultural diversity and artistic expression, but they of course still put on classical works too. The theater is a wonderful collection of traditional performing arts mixed with avant-garde elements to create highly unique shows and events that you will always remember.
Strada Edgar Quinet 11, București 030167, Romania
Here we are at the University of Bucharest! Officially founded in 1864, the university’s history goes much further back. In the same location where the current university stands, the Academy of Saint Sava once was. Founded in 1694, due to the suggestion of Constantin Cantacuzino, and all lectures were taught in Greek. About 100 years later, more curriculum was added as well as the classes being taught in other languages too such as French, Italian, and Latin. In 1857 the official groundwork was put down for the University of Bucharest and opened its doors in 1864.
Since then the university has gone through many transformations, rebuilds, curriculum changes, and structural updates. It is now home to over 30,000 students and was even ranked by the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport as the number one university for advanced research and education in 2011. The school is actively engaged in international cooperation and exchange programs and always promoting academic collaboration across its borders.
Universitate, București, Romania
Standing in University Square, I’m sure you can put two and two together as to where the square got its name! It is of course directly linked to the University of Bucharest, but was also an important site during the revolution in 1989 just as Revolution Square was during that time. With many protests, rallies, and demonstrations, it was a place where citizens could voice their opinions in the name of democracy and against communism.
Today, it is a vibrant public square that still holds protests, but also cultural events, public gatherings, and other entertainment. The square is a great location for tourists and locals alike as it is a central spot to a lot of downtown Bucharest, and to Old Town Bucharest - where we are headed shortly!
Strada Ion Ghica 9, București 030167, Romania
Saint Nicholas in Bucharest is also the University Chapel of the University of Bucharest. After the Romanian Revolution took place, many students felt compelled to have a place of worship. So, in 1992, a request was put in by a number of university students to have Saint Nicholas become the University of Bucharest’s personal chapel.
The church is made of brick and stone, but there are also wooden architectural elements due to its Russian history. With its ties to the university, there are many religious services and events held at the chapel, fostering a sense of community within the students as well as the citizens of Bucharest.
Strada Ion Ghica 6, București 030167, Romania
There are many museums in the city of Bucharest, but the one to our left is a bit more unique than the rest! This is the National Bank of Romania Museum. Showcasing the history of the Romanian banking system, the evolution of their currency, and the specific role that the National Bank of Romania played in the country’s development.
The National Bank of Romania began in 1880, and was only the 16th national bank to be established at that time. With a growing population and a constant development of trade, industry, and commerce, a central bank was more than needed. The current bank we see today was built between 1882 and 1890 in neoclassical design. With a symmetrical facade, many columns, and an overall grand feeling, it truly is a masterpiece. The museum and the bank are technically on the same plot, but the entrance to the bank is around the corner. I will make sure to point it out to you when we walk by!
Although currency is small in actual size, the influence and importance of its history is quite the opposite. There are many different exhibitions within the museum that help express to its visitors the history of Romania and the correlation between its banking system and its rich cultural heritage.
Calea Victoriei 18, București 030027, Romania
We are about to walk through the covered arcaded street of Pasajul Macca Villacrosse! It was originally built as a shortcut between the Old Town and Victoriei Street due to the fact that many of the economical institutions were in the Old Town and Victoriei Street was the main road in Bucharest.
Two families by the names of the Macas and the Villacrosses, agreed to sell their houses in order for the fork-shaped passage to be created. But, there was a third who did not agree to sell his inn, therefore the fork-shape was designed to go around the inn!
Today, there are many shops and restaurants that line the inside of the passage, which now goes by the nickname of King Valley. Although this is a spot visited by mainly tourists and younger people, it’s that way because of the fun and lively atmosphere! It’s extremely unique and has a lot to offer in the small space it occupies. Be sure to get a drink at Hugo’s Bar & Lounge or a meal at Bemotte.
Strada Eugeniu Carada 5, București 030167, Romania
Isn't the stained glass ceiling of the passage we just went through amazing? Such a great addition to that spot. But, just like the original architects intended, we have arrived in Bucharest Old Town! The National Bank of Romania is just down on our left, told you I’d point it out! The entrance to the bank is on Lipscani Street, a very popular road in Old Town. Lipscani is filled with food stalls, shops, restaurants, and just overall just a lot of excitement and friendly faces! We will walk around Lipscani so you can enjoy it for yourself!
Strada Smârdan 13, București 030167, Romania
Welcome to Lipscani Street! A vibrant and exciting street that holds so much history in its cobblestone and many vendors. Dating back to the Middle Ages, it is one of the oldest streets in Bucharest. And since its humble beginnings, Lipscani has been a popular trading hub, constantly playing a significant role in Bucharest’s economy as well as the city’s social scene. The street was originally named after the merchants from Leipzig, Germany, who established their businesses there in the 17th and 18th centuries. The word lipscan meant a trader who brought his product and business from Western Europe.
During the communist reign in Bucharest, the street was supposed to be demolished, but thankfully the communist party was pushed out of office before anyone had the chance to do so. For a small period of time Lipscani was ignored and neglected, losing its charm it has always had. But, slowly in time the once busting merchant street evolved back to its roots and became home to many shops and restaurants.
Nowadays you can find almost everything you could need right here on the pedestrian zone of Lipscani. From souvenirs to traditional Romanian food you are sure to find what you need, and more! Speaking of food, I’m a little bit hungry, how about you? Let me show you an excellent spot just a couple of minutes away!
Strada Gabroveni 2, București 030167, Romania
On our left is Covaci Taverna, a traditional Romanian restaurant! This is the perfect spot to try some of the most popular foods in the country as well as meet some wonderful people. The menu here is quite extensive so I would definitely take your time looking through everything as there are tons of fantastic options. But, I am a bit biased and have a few favorites because they are just too good not to mention! First, a traditional appetizer of sarmale - cabbage rolls filled with minced pork, rice, and spices. For your entree I would suggest either radauteana soup, pork hock, or anything served with polenta. You will find lots of soup as well as different types of meats in Bucharest. It’s all delicious so please try as much as you can! Lastly, curb your sweet tooth with papanasi, traditional Romanian doughnuts usually served with sour cream and jam. Yum!
Str. Franceză 19, București 030167, Romania
If you make your way to the chapel on our right, there will be a path that leads you to the front entrance if you would like to take a closer look. This chapel goes by the name of Biscerica Sfantul Dumitru, dedicated to Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki. There are many traditional Romanian architectural elements implemented in the design such as intricate frescoes, many domed roofs and from an aerial view, the church is in the shape of a cross. If you take a look at the entrance, there are three paintings above the doorway of Saint Demetrius and then Saints Peter and Paul on either side.
Edel Bistro, Str. Franceză 14, București 030167, Romania
The massive building that wraps around the corner on our right is the National Museum of Romanian History. The museum is an excellent place to learn about the history of Bucharest, and its country of Romania. With an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, and artwork, you are sure to leave with a new found interest and intellect for Romanian history.
You could easily spend a couple of hours wandering the halls of the museum, with its many exhibitions. Beginning from prehistoric artifacts such as tools and pottery from early human settlements in the region,ancient Roman and Dacian civilizations’ sculptures and inscriptions, medieval weaponry and religious objects, all the way to modern history such as Romania’s struggle for independence and the current state of the country.
Str. Franceză 2, București 030167, Romania
There is a ton of magnificent architecture throughout the city of Bucharest, I’m sure you have noticed throughout our tour so far. But, it is quite crazy to think that there are many individuals and families who reside in some of these beautiful and uniquely Bucharest style buildings. The half-moon style building on the corner of the intersection up ahead is known as Blocul Adriatica Trieste. It was originally built in 1926 for an insurance company, but nowadays it has been renovated into an apartment building. People who live here say the interior is adorned with beautiful intricate hallways and staircases, and mass amounts of marble. The elaborate elevator doors were even noted a handful of times, due to its beauty. Yes, it could perhaps use a bit of restoration, but the building is filled with character, charm, and the personality of Bucharest.
Podul Națiunile Unite, Dâmbovița River, București, Romania
Strada Gheorghe Danielopol 2, București 030167, Romania
We have arrived to another large and elegant building! This is the Bucharest Court of Appeal that primarily handles appeals against judgments and decisions made by lower courts in civil, criminal, commercial, and administrative cases. This Romanian High Court is an essential aspect of the country’s legal system and has been for quite some time. The court has gone through many different time periods and of course one being during the Communist rule. Since then the Court of Appeal stands for transparency and justice.
The magnificent building the court lives in was built in the 19th century as a palace reflecting the popular neoclassical style of time period. Its grand facade with towering columns and intricate details help reflect the importance of the work going on inside its walls too.
Strada Poenaru Bordea 12, București 030167, Romania
If you are interested in learning more about local Bucharest art, look no further than Elite Art Gallery! A smaller gallery, but nonetheless with lovely works of art. If it’s a hot day and you are needing some cover, or you simply love the world of art, this is a fantastic place to immerse yourself in the city of Bucharest.
Strada Apolodor 4, București 030167, Romania
Bulevardul Unirii 1, București 030167, Romania
Piața Constituției 5, București 040104, Romania
We have arrived at our final and perhaps most grand destination! Right ahead is the Palace of the Parliament and is one of the most iconic landmarks in the entire country of Romania. Not only is this the seat of the Parliament of Romania, it is known around the world for being one of the largest and most extravagant administrative buildings ever to be built. Ironically enough the building was commissioned in 1984 by Nicolae Ceausescu, the president of Communist Russia. He was inspired by the mass adulation and systematization happening in North Korea and imposed the extreme and radical program throughout Romania. With his socialist ideals, he desired a palace to uphold the same values in the socialist realism style. At the time the Palace of Parliament went by the name of the House of the Republic, and it was the center of his reorganization.
The House of the Republic was built upon the Uranus-Izvor neighborhood, therefore 40,000 people were relocated from the area thus resulting in the demolition of Uranus-Izvor. The construction cost about 3 billion dollars even though the work was fulfilled with forced labor and Romania soldiers.
Thankfully Communist power was forced out of Romania, and they finally gained their independence in 1989. Afterwards the House of the Republic turned over to the Palace of Parliament and has continued to support democracy throughout the country. Of course the large building has a devastating past, it also reflects Romania’s strong and heartfelt community and its path for continued success.
This is officially the end of our Bucharest, Romania tour! Thank you so much for joining me walking through many different parts of the country’s capital. We got to experience and learn so much during this tour, from historical sites to art and delicious food. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in the fantastic city of Bucharest, and perhaps you’ll just have to get more papanasi huh?