Bucharest, The Little Paris
It is time to travel to Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, which is called “the little Paris”. Actually I had the chance to visit Bucharest before. But since I am already in Transilvania region of Romania, I decide to walk on the streets of the capital city once more as I return.
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Romania’s membership to EU in 2007 along with Bulgaria gave the city an unbelieveable dynamism. New roads, avenues and buildings are always being built. The reason of this fast renewal and change of the city is the support coming from EU. There are many cultural activites in the city. No matter what the season is, the city hosts an event every time.
Let’s talk a little bit about Bucharest. The city once was famous with its achitectural structure and its interest for the arts. There are many Ottoman architecture examples in this city which was ruled by the Ottomans for many years. But when the Communist government put dictator Nikolay Ceauşescu into power, the city lost all of its brilliance. Thousands of buildings which were in the historical area of the city were demolished during Communist regime and wide avenues and grey concrete blocks were built after that.
Places to Visit in Bucharest
- Parliament Palace
- Herastrau Park
- Muzeul Satului (Village Museum)
- Lipscani (Old Town)
- Biserica Sfantul Anton Church
- Piata Devolutiei (Revolution Square)
- National History Museum
- Saint Nicholas Russian Church
- Arcul de Triumf (Arch of Triumph)
It got to be built by Ceauşescu in between 1984 and 1989. It is the secong biggest building of the world after Pentagon. It is thought that Ceauşescu has spent Romania’s 20 year budget for this building. In order to build this building, 19 Christian Orthodox churches, 6 synagogues, 3 Protestant churches and 30,000 houses in historical area of Bucharest were demolished. During its construction, 700 architects and 20,000 workers have fully worked for 5 years. And in the end, the workers faced persecution and they were not even paid a penny for their hard work. Ceauşescu could not see the completion of the building. According to the Guinness Record Book, this building is wolrd’s most heavy and expensive government building. There are 12 floors and 1100 rooms in Parliament Palace but it is also known that it still has many unfinished and empty rooms.
If you want to visit Parliament Palace, you have to book it before hand. You have to do that one day before your visit by calling (+40)-213113611 between 10.00 and 15.30. Make sure that you have your passport during your visit to the palace. You have to buy a ticket before starting to tour the palace. There are 3 kinds of ticket. Entrance + Ground Floor + Terrace. There is nothing interesting on the ground floor. So I recommend not to buy a ticket for that.
Entrance Fee: 30 Lei
There are many parks in Bucharest. If you have limited time and can visit only one park, this should be the one that you should choose. Especially at the weekends, if the weather is fine, you may see bike riders, runners, yogis, people resting, in other words, nearly all Bucharest people. There is also a big pond in the park. If you want, you can join to a boat tour there. If you are interested, do not leave without visiting the Village Museum.
Muzeul Satului (Village Museum)
I did not have time for visiting Muzeul Satului during my first Romania visit. But this time, I will not leave Romania without visiting there. This village museum, one of the biggest outdoor museums of the world, is just near Herastrau Park.
This village museum, opened by the King 2. Carol, is established on a 10 hectare area. In the museum, you can see the authentic village buildings which were built in between 17th and 20th centuries. Everything you see in this outdoor museum were brought here from Romanian villages by transporting them here carefully. It has some artifacts from the cultural life of Romanian villagers. You can also see their dresses, carpets and furnitures.
Visiting Hours: 09: 00 – 18:00
Entrance Fee: Adult15 Lei, Student 10 Lei
How To Go to Heratrau Park and Village Museum?
It is easy to go to the park. Before you go, open Google Maps and learn where it is located. My phone apps always save the day during my trips. I mostly go to everywhere without asking anyone. Do not forget to take a look at the apps that I use during my trips.
- By tram, vehicles number 41 and 42
- By bus, number 105, 131, 148, 149, 182, 261, 282, 301, 304 and 335
- You have get off in Aviatorilor station, if you go by subway
Lipscani (Old Town)
This is the most crowded avenue in Bucharest that you will surely happen to pass somehow. Lipscane is the Old Town area of the city which was Romania’s trade center until 19th century. There are popular restaurants, cafes and bars in the avenue. It is also a good place to buy some souvenirs. You can see many historical buildings while you are shopping.
Biserica Sfantul Anton Church
Biserica Sfantul Anton, which was built in 1559, is Bucharest’s oldest church. Actually there were older churches but Çavuşesku ordered to demolish them. Fortunatelyii they did not touch to this church. When you enter it, the fascinating icons on the roof and walls attract your attention. Do not leave Old Town without visiting this church.
Piata Revolutiei (Revolution Square)
Revolution Square is famous because it was the place where Nikolay Çavuşeksu’s overthrow incidents occured. The world knew about Revolution Square after the footages of those incidents. Since the center of Communist Party is located in this square, many protests and riots occured in this place. Çavuşesku made his last speech to the protesters from the party building in this square. And he escaped with his wife with a helicopter from the roof when he understood that he will not be able to stop the protests and the incidents will get out of control. After stopping by the house in Snagov, they kept flying to Targovişte but the helicopter was ordered to land by the army. Meanwhile the flights in Romanian air space were forbidden. Therefore they tried to leave the helicopter behind and escape but they were busted.
There is a equestrian statue of Romanian King I. Carol in the square. The statue which was built by Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović in 1930 was destroyed by the Communists in 1948. In 2005, Romanian Ministry of Culture allowed the rebuilding of the original statue in the same place.
National Museum of Romanian History
It was the first place that I visited while I was walking in Bucharest streets. The statue at the entrance stairs of the building attracts your attention. A man sitting on the stairs holds his dog. I do not know what was the purpose of creating this statue. (If someone knows that, please leave a comment). After taking a picture of the statue, I enter the museum.
This brilliant and gracious building was built in 1892. Actually, you understand why they call here “Little Paris” when you walk on the streets of Bucharest. You can see many works from Romanian history inside but the most interesting one for me was the incredible watch collection. 100 or 200 years old, handmade watches are there.
More than 60 rooms are there in the museum. Another interesting section is the room in which the post services are depicted. Many typewriters, telegraph machines, dispatches, letters and stamps are shown there. The museum is very close to Old Town. I recommend you to visiti it.
Visiting Hours: Wednesday – Sunday between 10:00 – 18:00
Entrance Fee: 10 Lei
Saint Nicholas Church
This church will probably be on your way to Old Town. Saint Nicholas Church was built in between 1905 and 1909 with stones and bricks. Just after the church was completed, World War I began and it was closed immediately and had minor damage.
Its outside view is the reason why it is called a “Russian church”. Its seven domes were gold coated when it was first constructed. However they are not so nowadays. When you enter the church, the dreary atmosphere and the decorations on the walls really fascinate you.
Address: Strada Ion Ghica 3, Bucharest
Entrance Fee: Free
Arch of Triumph
It is in a spot in which 5 avenues intersect. This arch was builtin memory of the soldiers who died during World War I and it is 27 meter high. Arch of Triumph is like a copy of Arcul de Triumf which was built in Paris. Arch of Triumph in Bucharest was built by the architect Petre Antonescu and it was opened on September 1936.
Just near Arch of Triumph, there is Herastrau Park. Don’t forget to go there too, if you already visited there!
Address: Piața Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest
Local Transportation in Bucharest
City’s subway line was opened on 16th November 1979. There are 4 lines and 53 stations in total. You can go by the subway to nearly everywhere you want to go. I think that a subway ticket for 10 boardings will be enough for you. But if you will stay longer in the city, I recommend you to buy monthly or yearly cards.
- Subway Ticket for 10 Boardings: 30 Lei (About 4,5 Euros)
Where Is Bucharest and How To Go There?
Bucharest is in the south east part of Romania. It is only 82 km away from Bulgaria. Danube River, most imortant river in Europe, crosses crosses from the city’s south. There are nearly 2 million people in Bucharest. There are frequently flights to Bucharest from most of European cities. You can fly with Wizzair or Blueair. Another option is the bus. It is possible to come to this capital city by bus from many cities in Europe.