City Guide : Bucharest
Romania is a European country at the south of the Continental Europe. The country has a long coastline along the Black Sea. The capital and the most populous city of Romania is Bucharest. Situated in the southeast of the country, Bucharest rises on the edges of Dambovita River. Appearing as the industrial and commercial center of Romania, Bucharest is the 6th largest city in the European Union. Nowadays, the city has made a cultural and economic leap. As the most industrialized and developed city of the country, Bucharest is generating 21% of Romania's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and manufacturing a quarter of the industrial production of the country through its population of 9% of the countrywide population.
With its historical (mostly eclectic, medieval, neoclassical, art nouveau structures), communist and contemporary architecture, modern parks and gardens, landmarks, churches and statues, museums, monuments and its transportation network (a public transportation system which is the largest in Romania and the third largest in Europe), Bucharest is one of the most favorite spots in Europe.
With its original name as the House of People (Casa Poporului), Palatul Parlamentului (Parliament Palace) is a legacy from the communist era of the city. Built by Nicolae Ceausescu, the Communist Party leader, it is the largest administrative building all over the world after the Pentagon. Its floor area is 350.000 m2.
Piata Revolutiei (Revolution Square) is the spot indicating the death of the communist leader Ceausescu and the collapse of communism in 1989. The balcony at the square refers to the downfall and the death of the leader after he spoke here and tried to escape with his wife via a helicopter. The balcony is now the part of Roman senate while it was the Central Committee building at those days.
Catedrala Patriarhala (Patriarchal Cathedral) is the headquarter of Romanian Orthodox Church left from the 17th century.
Centrul Civic (Civic Center) located on the Unification Boulevard, the former Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism, is the part of Bucharest composed of a complex of contemporary buildings, which was transformed from a utilitarian construction.
Historic Center is the combination of cobblestone streets between Calea Victoriei, Bulevardul Bratianu, Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta and River Dimbovita. It is the most scenic and atmospheric part of the city including plenty of clubs, bars, fashionable coffee houses and restaurants. Nearby here, the oldest church of the city, Biserica Curtea Veche rises.
Muzeul Taranului Roman (Romanian Peasant Museum), Muzeul Satului (Village Museum), Muzeul National de Arta (National Art Museum) and Zambaccian Museum are the major museums in the city reflecting the real and rich culture and history of the city/country.
Culture & Entertainment
Bucharest has a diverse and thriving culture witnessing medieval, communist, modern and contemporary eras. This condition shows itself, especially, in visual and performing arts. These two aspects of the city culture are nourished from the historical prosperity of Bucharest. Performing arts (opera, ballet, symphonic music, theater), visual arts (a plenty of galleries) and entertainment genres (casinos, cinemas, circuses, festivals and events, live music) constitute the fabric of the cultural diversity of the city. Within the last two decades, the city culture has lived a modernization process, especially, in music and theater.
Teatrul National (National Theater), Teatrul Evreiesc de Stat (National Jewish Theater), Constantin Tanase Revue Theater and I.L. Caragiale National Theater are some of the major performing art centers found in the city.
Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Roman) opened in 1888 is the concert hall at the center of the city. This splendid building is home to Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. Also, National Radio Orchestra and National Chamber Orchestra are the fundamental representatives of symphonic music in the city.
Also, Bucharest Globus Circus (Circul Globus Bucuresti) which was built in 1960 serves to 3.500 spectators via magnificent and joyous performances.
George Enescu Classical Music Festival (September), International Jazz Festival (October), International Music Festival “Jeunesse Musicales” (May), Easter Gifts National Arts and Crafts Fair (April) are among the main cultural organizations of the city.
The entertainment in the city is not centralized. The entertainment venues are scattered in the city. You will be saturated with a great range of live music genres and dance alternatives offered by many bars, clubs and discos in Bucharest. From hip hop to jazz, blues, classics, Latino music and salsa-dancing, the city serves the best in terms of entertainment accompanied by live music.
Food & Drink
The major supplies of the city cuisine are meat (pork, lamb, beef...), fish, vegetables,dairy products, especially egg, and fruit. You can find restaurants from all categories serving an unlimited range of both international and local, Romanian, fares. Most of the restaurants are equipped with a dance floor due to dining and dance to be an inevitable ingredient of the entertainment life of the city. Inns, Zahana, Mustarli, Fish and Game, Lacto Vegetarian, Brasseries and Cafe Bar restaurants are the Romanian types of restaurants. The wine of the city is pretty worldwide famous. The local wine won international contests and is traded in the world market.
Coffee houses are fairly popular. Coffee in the city means mainly Turkish coffee. Also, instant cafe, espresso, cafea cu lapte (coffee with milk) and marghiloman (Romanian style coffee) are the other coffee alternatives served at the prevalent coffee houses of the city.
There are great range of malls, art galleries, bookstores, specialty stores, international chains and fashion boutiques fitting any taste and budget. Antiques, pottery, ceramics, crystal and glass are the main examples of the local crafts and souvenirs that you should take with you before living the city.
The famous international chains are placed throughout Calea Victoriei and Bulevardul Magheru, and nearby Piata Unirii.
Bucuresti Mall, Plaza Romania Mall, Unirea Center and Mario Plaza are the main examples from the malls of the city. There are lots of markets selling all kinds of fruits, mainly fruits special to the country, vegetables and herbs. Piata Obor at Str. Piata Amzei is one of these daily markets.
The peasant skills such as pottery and antiques constitute the arts and crafts of the city. You should visit the art galleries at Calea Victoriei and nearby the Historical Center to buy the antiques special to the city culture.