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3 places to discover in Bucharest (apart from the Parliament Palace)

Bucharest is not famous for having many great tourist attractions and, apart from the megalomaniac Parliament Palace, there doesn’t seem to be much for tourists to see. Big mistake. I had the privilege of exploring Bucharest accompanied by a friend who has lived there for many years and just discovered some less obvious, yet fascinating gems. I have chosen three places that are quite different from each other but really worth a visit - a church, a bookshop and a café.
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Stavropoleos church

Bruxelas
Stavropoleos church was built in 1724 and is all that remains of the original monastery. It is an oasis of pure beauty in the heart of the historical centre of Bucharest.
Although it is quite small, the church seems monumental with a specific Byzantine architectural space. The church's decorative sculptures and ornamental motifs simultaneously express a Baroque sensitivity and an Eastern taste. Without a doubt, it is one of the most surprising and recommended places to visit in Bucharest – I, for one, was not expecting to find anything so precious in the Romanian capital.
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Carturesti Carusel

Housed in a 19th-century building, the Carturesti Carusel – or Carousel of Light, in a literal translation – is very likely Bucharest's, or even Romania's most beautiful bookshop. 
The architects took on the building's renovation project as a "fragment of its history”, leaving pieces of the recent restoration work visible. For instance, they left the imposing columns and the beautiful spiral iron staircases. And light, lots of light - in a fitting tribute to the bookshop's name!
In all, there are six floors housing thousands of books, CDs and DVDs on display and that is not all. It is a kind of concept store, where there is a café space on the top floor with lovely views over the centre of Bucharest. Don't miss it!
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Journey Pub

Ghent
It was a friend who was living in the Romanian capital who suggested including the Journey Pub on the list of what to do in Bucharest, and he was right. In fact, the Journey Pub's slogan just about says it all: travelling tastes good. It is a theme café inspired by the world of travel. It is in the centre of Bucharest and the environment is light, young and laid-back, and the food is duly praised. There isn’t much more to say, except go and try it. You won't regret it.
By Filipe Morato Gomes / Alma de Viajante
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