Once upon a time, Bucharest was known as the ‘Paris of the East’. War violence and oppression have ended that reputation, but in recent years the city has regained much allure. Bucharest is ready to be rediscovered.
Bucuresti – the city’s official name – is the capital of Rumania and counts 1.6 million inhabitants. Due to the Second World War, an earthquake (1977) and the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu, many historic urban areas have disappeared, but fortunately some gems have been preserved.
In the heart of the Rumanian capital you will find the Atheneum, a concert hall that has been home to the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra since 1865. The Atheneum was built with the financial support of members of the association of the same name. Using the motto ‘Dați un leu pentru Ateneu!’ (‘Give a leu for Atheneu!’) the members were called upon for years to donate money.
Open air museum
The history of the city is strongly connected with the history of the surrounding countryside. The Village Museum shows this very well. In this open air museum, the past is recreated from the first Roman settlers until the 20th century. Dozens of authentic houses, churches, farms and mills are displayed on a terrain of 15 hectares. Some buildings have been replicated; others have been brought in from elsewhere in the country.
Bucharest has its own version of the Arc de Triomphe, is home to the monumental Antim Monastery and has a green oasis formed by the Cismigiu Gardens. Culturally there is plenty to experience. This is also true for culture with a small ‘c’: the nightlife is well developed. The city has a wide range of restaurants, bistros, coffee houses and pubs. Fans of live music can go to one of the many jazz clubs. It is therefore obvious: Bucharest has surprisingly much to experience.