For those of you who may not know, Bucharest is the capital of Romania, the only latin country surronded by Slavic neighbors.
A country with a tumultuous history which has free itself from communist domination more than 3 decades ago but still keeps alive the memory of its past through the imposing architecture built to impress and to spread the political message of that time.
Bucharest however, it’s a mix of tradition and modernism, the french life style, literature and vocabulary being dearly embraced by the locals of the pre communist era and reflected in the architecture of the city, reason why Bucharest its known as “The little Paris”.
Come with me in an imaginary journey and let’s discover together some of the most instagramable places of the capital city while learning few facts about the country’s history.
Know as the “People’s house” or “The palace of Parliament” this is the biggest administrative building of the world, constructed in a megalomaniac way, expression of prosperity and welfare of the communist state. It’s so big that can easily be seen from a plane at cruising altitude. Nevertheless my favorite construction in Bucharest and a must see if you visit the city.
A replica of L’arc de Triomphe from Paris, the romanian version was built initially in 1918 to celebrate the country’s participation in the First world war but it reached its final design much later, after few failed attempts.
The arc is located in the North side of the city and if you arrive in Bucharest by plane you will definitely see it on your way from the airport.
My advice… stop by and take a picture.
Romanian Athenaeum, designed by a french architect and inaugurated in 1888 the important landmark has been used until now as a concert hall. I have never attended a concert here but if you are a fan of classical music you should not skip it, a great opportunity to visit the inside of the building as well.
The palace was build on top of a monastery ruin as a new headquarters of Romania’s oldest bank and it’s now a point of attraction for tourists and locals on both side due to it’s design and location at the end of a busy pedestrian street.
A beautiful historical building located on the famous Lipscani street opens its doors for the books lovers with a heavenly design and unbelievable collection of books. Costumers service is known for being bad but let me tell you something… romanians are not great when it comes to hospitality but you can always melt their heart with a generous tip.
Founded in 1724 by a greek monk, the monastery it’s an architectural masterpiece and an oasis of tranquility in the heart of the noisy old town, surrounded by pubs and restaurants.
Relatively small comparing to others monasteries, the inside impress with its collection of semi prescious stones, an esoteric representation of the 12 zodiacal signs (fact not common for an ortodox site).
Inside, the photography is not permitted (doesn’t work for me), however the restriction doesn’t apply in the courtyard nor outside the monastery.
The revolution square, a place with a great historical value, it was here where the communist regim began to crumble in the morning of 21 December 1989. I was one year old at that time and I don’t remember much, however the ugly monument of the revolution stands proof of the country’s liberation and the death of its dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu.
Why I call it ugly? For me looks like a giant potato while the other locals reffer to it as “an olive in a cocktail stick”.
Passionate about history or just curious about the weird monument? Please pay a visit to the famous square.
Romanians reffer to a square as “piata” translation from the ancient greek “platea” and you will often find famous landmarks situated on different squares around the capital.
A well known square is Piata Victoriei, located on the heart of the city and lined up with new fashion shops, restaurants, monuments and parks. Often you will find instagramable places just walking around and letting yourself lost in the charm of the city.
Unification square it’s the largest and busiest square of the capital city. You can easily connect from here to all the other sides of the city by metro. The Palace of Parliament and the Old town are at walking distance from here.
Wherever you go in Bucharest it’s impossible not to pass through this square and I encourage you to stop by for a picture of the Dambovita river, which cross Bucharest from a side to another.
The building of the official communist newspaper is nowadays hosting few offices of the democratic newspapers and magazines and it is translates by The house of free press. It used to be my workplace as a romanian journalist and it’s a copy cat of soviet buildings around the world.
Moscow original building
Unlike others busy metropolis, Bucharest doesn’t lack green places, the city being stuffed with parks, some of the biggest and most visited being the Herastrau Park (in the north), Cismigiu (in the center), Carol (in the south) plus many others in between.
Wherever you live in Bucharest you will always find a park near home and it’s the locals favorite activity to wander the tiny alleys in the summer, enjoy a relaxing boat ride or practice their ice skatting skills on the frozen lakes during the winter season.
You can not leave Bucharest without trying our amazingly delicious food. I know each of us have different culinary preferences but I can guarantee you that noone ever said NO to the romanian papanasi.
This is practically a homemade dessert similar with a donut, topped with sour cream and fresh jam.
Every romanian restaurant will have papanasi in their menu, however if you want to try an authentic restaurant with a history that goes back in time 130 years ago, the gathering place of the most important poets and actors of the past with an excusite design, Caru cu bere is the right place to be.
The restaurant is easly accessible being located in the city center, walking distance by most of the touristic places mentioned above and if you are lucky enough you might find yourself surrounded by celebrities, The rolling stones, Prince of Japan and Edward Kennedy being few of the stars that have dinned in here.
Bistro La etaj
Located on the rooftop of the famous Cismigiu Hotel, this lounge predominantly pink is absolutely deliciooouss. Plan you visit during the sunset time and enjoy the view from the terrace.