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Bucharest

Bucharest: Overview

Guide de destinations
 

Bucharest

As bustling as any other European metropolis, Bucharest has a wide offer to choose from, promising to keep you busy for days in a row. From architecture and museums to parks and its historic centre, galleries, nightlife and a long list of tours, the hard part is probably deciding what to start with.

Romania’s capital and largest city, once nicknamed The Little Paris or The Paris of the East, is said to have been founded by a shepherd named Bucur, Romanian for joy. Recorded in 1368 as “citadel on the Dambovita”, it would see its name changed to Bucharest in the time of Vlad Tepes, known as count Dracula. Now alive with a luxurious lifestyle, its eclectic and exquisite fusion of old and new, West and East, belle époque buildings, wide avenues and side walks, lined up with trees and modern buildings, Bucharest and its inhabitants – close to two million – welcome its visitors warmly and kindly. Probably one of the best places to start, in order to observe this city’s unique charm is the Lipscani district, comprised between Calea victoriei, Blvd. Bratianu, Blvd. Regina Elisabeta and the Dambovita river, a former place of election for the establishment of merchants and craftsmen from different nationalities and religions, responsible for the medley of architectural styles ranging from art nouveau to neoclassical and baroque, for example. Nowadays, most of the stores and shops have been replaced by antique shops, art galleries and coffee houses, which make it ideal for strolling around and even buying some souvenirs. The historic area is also home of what is left from the Old Princely Court, built, in the 15th century, by Vlad Tepes (count Dracula), who used its dungeons to keep his prisoners. Right next to it, is the Old Court Church, the oldest in the city, with 16th century frescoes worth the visit. The Parliament Palace, the second largest administrative in the world after the Pentagon, is one of the main evidences of the communist legacies. Built by the country’s best artisans by order of the Communist Party leader Nicolae Ceausescu, today it also serves as an international conference centre. In the south end of this building, you’ll find the Civic Centre, a huge complex of apartment buildings.