Bucharest, a little Paris

Historical facts

Bucharest is the capital of Romania since 1862 and is the center of art, culture, and economics of the country. In the period between the two world wars, the city acquired the nickname of “little Paris”. It is a sophisticated and elitist city.

Parliament
Side entry of the Parliament

Romania was communist from 1965 to 1989 (due to the soviet occupation), and the leader was Nicolae Ceaușescu’s (for me it was “Chachacha”). During this period much of the historic part of the city was demolished and replaced by a Socialist (realism) style. The most predominant are:

  1. The Centrul Civic (the Civic Centre)
  2. The Palace of the Parliament, for which an entire historic quarter was razed to make way for Chachacha’s megalomaniac plans.

As you might have seen (the present protests), Romanians are very brave people, who fight for their rights (unlike Colombians, for sure). In 1989 the Romanian revolution began with massive anti-Chachacha protests in Timișoara and lead to the end of the communist regime. The execution of Chachacha and his wife Elena by firing squad was on 25th December.

How is it?

Bucharest is on the banks of the Dâmbovița River. The city is full of parks and little lakes, making it very nice for walking and jogging, for instance. In the center of the city, there is a small artificial lake in the Cișmigiu Gardens, frequented by poets and writers. This is where I went to ice skate with my friend. She had never done it before, therefore it was hilarious (you’ll see a video of it soon)

The city center is a mixture of medieval, neoclassical, and art nouveau buildings. And it was listed as “endangered” by the World Monuments Watch. Anywhere you go to in the city, you will see these amazing watches that sometimes even play music.

Watch in front of the National Theatre
Watch in front of the National Theatre

When you walk through the Boulevard Unirii, you will find the Palace of the Parliament, which is the world’s second-largest administrative building (after the Pentagon). The construction started in 1984. It has more than 3000 rooms (which you can not see all in the guided tour evidently).

In 1936 the construction of the arc de triumph in granite finished (next to the Herastrau Park).

What to do in Bucharest

I recommend visiting the city for as long as you can because there are lots of things to do and see. Here you have a list of things that I’ve done (or at least wanted to do). But also if you visit this site, it describes each place.

  • Palace of Parliament
  • Cișmigiu Gardens (ice skating in winter)
  • Arc de triumph
  • Herastrau Park
  • Spa afternoon at Therme 
  • Museum of the Romanian Peasant
  • Muzeul National de Arta al Romaniei
  • Open air Village museum (picture below)
  • Visit the Carturesti Bookstore
  • Walk to the Piata Revolutiei
  • Try to see a concert in the Romanian Athenaeum
  • Old town tour (party and drinks)
  • Eat traditional Romanian food and soup. I did at Lacrimi and sfinți
  • Have a sweet dessert at Coffeol 
  • Try one of the locked-in rooms! (I escaped from Dracula!)
A house of my size!
A house of my size!

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