Bucharest is the capital city of Romania with 1.9 million inhabitants. The 6th largest city in the EU is subdivided into 6 sectors. The main religion is Romanian Orthodox and whilst the official language is Romanian, most of the population also speak English.
Romanian legend has it that the city of Bucharest was founded on the banks of the Dambovita River by a shepherd named Bucur, whose name literarily means "joy." His flute playing reportedly dazzled the people and his hearty wine from nearby vineyards endeared him to the local traders, who gave his name to the place.
Points of attraction
House of the Free Press (Casa Presei Libere)
An impressive edifice standing in the northern part of the city, since 1956, Casa Scanteii (as it is still universally known) was designed by architect Horia Maicu. There is no doubt that the building is a smaller replica of the Lomonosov University in Moskow - Russia (inaugurated in 1953) and nowadays the second largest building in the city.
The Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf)
Initially built of wood in 1922 to honour the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I, Bucharest's very own Arc de Triomphe was finished in Deva granite in 1936. Designed by the architect, Petre Antonescu, the Arc stands 85 feet high. An interior staircase allows visitors to climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city.
Revolution Square (Piata Revolutiei)
The square gained worldwide notoriety when TV stations around the globe broadcasted Nicolae Ceausescu's final moments in power on December 21, 1989. It was here, at the balcony of the former Communist Party Headquarters, that Ceausescu stared in disbelief as the people gathered in the square below turned on him. He fled the angry crowd in his white helicopter, only to be captured outside of the city a few hours later.
The square's importance stretches back long before the dramatic events of the 1989 Revolution. On the far side of the square stands the former Royal Palace, now home to the National Art Museum, the stunning Romanian Athenaeum and the historic Athenee Palace Hotel. At the south end of the square, you can visit the small, but beautiful, Kretzulescu Church.
Old Town Bucharest (Centrul Vechi)
At the beginning of 1400s, most merchants and craftsmen - Romanian, Austrian, Greek, Armenian and Jewish - established their stores and shops in this section of the city; a jumble of streets between Calea Victoriei, Blvd. Bratianu, Blvd, Regina Elisabeta and the Dambovita River.
Soon, the area became known as Lipscani, named for the many German traders from Lipsca or Leiptzig. Other streets took on the names of various old craft communities and guilds, such as Blanari (furriers), Covaci (blacksmiths), Gabroveni (knife makers) and Cavafii Vechii (shoe-makers). The mix of nationalities and cultures is reflected in the mishmash of architectural styles, from baroque to neoclassical to art nouveau.
Today, the area is home to art galleries, antique shops, coffeehouses, restaurants and night-clubs. While walking in the narrow cobblestone streets one can imagine the long-gone shopkeepers outside near their stores, inviting by passers to buy their merchandise.
Must do: Top places to visit and sights to see
- Parliament Palace
- Village Museum (outdoor)
- Enjoy the local food
- Experience the nightlife and atmosphere in the Old City of Bucharest