Welcome to Bucharest!
Bucharest is Europe’s best kept secret. While visually it can’t quite compete with the likes of some of the other grand Eastern European capitals, it leads the pack in dynamism, energy and forward momentum. While the remnants of Communism are still palpable throughout, the city has its sights set firmly on the future, though never forgetting its history. Trendy outdoor cafes and high-street shops live side-by-side with gorgeous Orthodox churches and world-class art galleries in the old town, all overlooked by the imposing Palace of Parliament. Its treasures are well worth hunting for and visitors will find in their quest a place of warmth and spirit.
As one of Europe’s most up and coming destinations, Bucharest has had to react quickly to its new found status. As a result, there are a bevy of recently opened venues to eat, drink, shop, club and sleep. Not only this, but standards are high and local residents have come to expect the best.
From Piata Universitatii most sights of interest are easily accessible and equally the nearby Calea Victoriei is a great starting point for shopping particularly. These two landmarks constitute the central Bucharest area where many of the most well-known restaurants and bars are situated. Walking in this part of the city is the best way to see Bucharest.
Built during Ceausescu’s regime, the Palace of Parliament is Romania’s most famous building. A public tour of the opulent staircases and chandelier-filled rooms offers a fascinating insight.
Arch of Triumph
Similar to its Paris namesake, Bucharest’s Triumphal Arch remembers Romania’s Great War soldiers and its reunification in 1918. Initially the arch was built of wood in 1922, and then finished in Deva granite in 1936.
Lipscani, Bucharest’s historic centre, retains an old town charm which is almost irresistible! It is located between Calea Victoriei, Blvd. Bratianu, Blvd. Regina Elisabeta and the Dambovita River and its collection of winding streets boasts antique markets, bric-a-brac spilling out from tiny boutiques and some of the city’s most appealing restaurants and bars.
National Art Museum
Romania’s most impressive art collection is displayed in this sprawling Royal Palace (National Art Museum). Take in works by Rembrandt and El Greco, among a host of European works.
In addition to being the centre for Bucharest’s intellectual and political events and the most popular meeting place in Bucharest, the University Sqare has a dramatic history. During the 1989 revolution some of Romania’s fiercest fighting took place here. Close by are also the University of Bucharest’s School of Architecture, the National Theatre, the Coltea Hospital and the Sutu Palace (History Museum).
The superb Romanium Athenaeum is the hub of Bucharest’s musical activity. Exquisite mosaics and historical frescoes adorn the 19th century circular building, which hosts impressive orchestral concerts.
Whilst University Square saw some of the darkest days of Ceausescu’s regime, events at Revolution Sqare heralded the beginning of a new age. This building now houses the Senate.
Close by are the former Royal Palace, now home to the National Art Museum, the Romanian Athenaeum and the Athenee Palace Hotel. Also the Kretzulescu Church.
(From ‘Bucharest Travel Guide’- www.arivalguides.com)