”Little Paris of the East”.
Where is Bucharest?
The city of Bucharest is the capital and largest city in Romania. Located in the southeast of the country on the banks of the Dâmbovița River.
Traditionally believed that Bucharest was built on seven hills, similar to the seven hills of Rome. The extravagant architecture and culture of the 17th Century earned Bucharest the nickname “Little Paris of the east”. However, all that remains of this bygone era is the beautifully designed municipal buildings found in the old town. The rest of Bucharest is a hodgepodge of communist era buildings.
Our journey from Busteni to Bucharest was on the train.
In Bucharest we chose to stay in an Airbnb apartment. A charming apartment in the Old Town district of the city.
Places of interest
Palace of Parliament
The Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului) is the seat of the Parliament of Romania. Situated on top of the Dealul Spirii.
A colossal Palace it stands at 276 ft high, with a floor area of 3,930,000 sq ft, which make it the heaviest building in the world, weighing about 4,098,500 tons.
Known for its ornate interior, it encompasses museums and an international conference centre. Approximentely 70% of the building remains empty.
As of 2008, it was also the most expensive administrative building in the world. The cost of heating and electricity usage alone exceeds $6 million per year.
The National Museum of Romanian History
Is a museum located on the Calea Victoriei, which contains Romanian historical artifacts from prehistoric to modern times. The museum is located in the former Postal Services Palace, which also houses the philatelic museum.
Also acknowledged as Stavropoleos Church during the last century when the monastery was dissolved. An Eastern Orthodox monastery for nuns in the city.
University Square is adjacent to the University of Bucharest. Within the square there are four statues, depicting Ion Heliade Rădulescu, Michael the Brave, Gheorghe Lazăr and Spiru Haret
The National Museum of Romanian Art
The National Museum of Art is located in the Royal Palace in Revolution Square. It houses collections of medieval and modern Romanian art, as well as the international collection of the Romanian royal family.
Arcul de Triumf
Is an imposing arch located on the Kiseleff Road in the northern part of the city. Hurriedly built in timber in 1878 when Romania gained its independence, so troops could march under it. Replaced in 1922 and again in 1935, by its present design, which closely resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
King Michael I Park
Formerly known as Herăstrău Park, it is a large park on the northern side of the city, around Lake Herăstrău. The park is home to Elisabeta Palace, the Romanian Royal Family residence, located near the Arcul de Triumf.
The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, is one of the main attractions in the park. An open-air museum exhibiting the life of Romanian peasants, having examples of houses from across Romania.
Throughout the park are an open-air theatre, a yacht club, a sports club, the Herăstrău Hotel
And Beraria H. The largest beer hall in southeastern Europe and a soviet communist building. Having a capacity of 2000 internally and 1000 outside on the terrace.
Getting around Bucharest is easy. There is an extensive, clean and affordable public transportation system.
The city centre is small enough to explore on foot. Leaving the rest of Bucharest easily seen using a combination of the metro, tram, bus and trolleybus.
When travelling on public transport systems, an Activ or Multiplu card is required. Purchase prior to travelling from RATB kiosks. Found next to major stops, tickets cannot be purchased from the bus driver.
Blue and white Multiplu card costs 1.60 Lei. Pre-loaded with two to ten journeys, each costing 1.30 Lei. Or a one day unlimited travel card can be loaded for 8 Lei. After initial purchase, the Multiplu card cannot be topped up.
Green and white Activ card costs 3.70 Lei. Topped-up with anything from 2.60 to 50 Lei of credit at a time.
When boarding the bus, the Multiplu or Activ card must be validated at one of the orange machines. Place the card next to the machine until it beeps. On the screen it will show how many journeys or how much credit is left on the card.
If caught without a validated Multiplu or Activ card. An on the spot fine of 50 Lei will be given, no excuses will be accepted.
Bucharest’s taxi drivers are no different to those found in any other major city around the world. So expect to be overcharged as a tourist. Uber is an alternative, sign up, open the app and enter where you want to go. A driver nearby will accept the request and get there reliably for a fixed price.