Once known as “Mini Paris,” Bucharest is the capital of Romania, as well as its financial and cultural center. This year, the city celebrated its 555th anniversary, as it was first mentioned in 1459 in official documentation. Bucharest’s impressive architecture presents itself as the city’s living, tangible history, uniquely combining Neo-Classical, Art Deco and Communist-era styles. From its luscious parks to its revolutionary memorials, Romania’s history is directly embedded within its infrastructure.
A street and district, Lipscani was once the most important commercial area of the city and Wallachia. The latter is a historical and geographical region of Romania dating back to 1246.
Located on Metropolitanate Hill, one of the centers of Romanian Orthodoxy, the Patriarchate was once used for the Assembly of Deputies during the Kingdom of Romania and as headquarters for the General Assembly in the Communist-era. It has since passed to the Patriarchate of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The statue of Mihai Voda Viteazul (Prince Michael the Brave) is the first statue dedicated to a national hero. Erected in 1876, the sculpture commemorates the Prince as the first leader to unite three Romanian countries and stands as inspiration for unity.
Constructed in one year from 1983 to 1984, the People’s House—the second largest building in the world—was commissioned by Communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. Historic buildings were razed in order for the 12-story beast to be built, using only Romanian sourced materials. The building now houses the Parliament.
The George Enescu Museum sits inside of the Cantacuzino Palace, an Art Nouveau masterpiece displaying large statues, stained glass and rich tapestries. George Enescu, a Romanian composer, lived in a modest home on the palace grounds. Enescu’s wife requested in her will that the area be turned into a museum dedicated to her husband.
The Dâmboviţa is a river in Romania that connects to the Argeș River in Budești. The river was extremely polluted until 2011 when the largest ecological project in Romania was completed with the building of the Glina Wastewater Station. The station treats the water flowing into the Dâmboviţa and has since improved water quality.
Singer Michael Jackson is so loved in Romania that there is a memorial dedicated to him in Herastrau Park. The alley that runs along the side of the monument is also named after
Built in 1922, the Arcul de Triumf was constructed to honor Romania’s World War I dead. Originally made of wood, it was rebuilt in stone in 1935 by Petru Atonescu.
Looking over Amzei Square is the Amzei Church, constructed in 1810 by nobleman Amza. It was almost entirely rebuilt in 1846 and two steeples were added in 1875.
The Pantelimon Art Tower is nearly 120 feet tall and features a mural at the top of a disused water tower. A staircase was added to the outside of the facility so visitors can get a closer look at the art at the top, as well as a bird’s eye view of the city.
Originally built between 1720 -1722, Kretzulescu Church’s exterior was originally painted, but restoration work changed it to brick in 1936. An Eastern Orthodox Church, it was slated for destruction during the Communist era, but was saved by architects who valued it for its Brâncovenesc style.
The most historic cemetery in Bucharest, the Bellu Cemetery is the final resting place for myriad artists, authors and politicians. The graves feature grand sculptures and monuments, and are grouped by profession.
Inaugurated in 1888, the Athenaeum is a concert hall in the middle of Bucharest that is the home to the George Enescu Philharmonic and the George Enescu annual international music festival.