Some while ago, even before your grandparents’ grandparents were born, in this fair there was a shepherd named Bucur (Joy). He used to ravish the local merchants with his strong wine and flute playing, so they decided to call the city after him: Bucharest. The architecture of the city – tremendous influenced by French style – and the high life brought it later the name of “Little Bucharest”. Explore the Romanian capital in your own pace and upon your personal interests and curiosities !
Itinerary: Bucharest – Neighbourhoods
Duration: 2 – 8 days
Departures: All year round
Price: According to tailor made tour
Tailor made your private highlights tour of Bucharest !
Welcome to the city of Joy !
Monteoru Terrace & Mansion
During your stroll on Victory Avenue you might notice hidden behind a garden with majestic trees one of the most elegant houses in the capital. It still seems to be waiting for a carriage with guests to halt under its balcony with colonnades. Three feminine silhouettes of stone, brought from Greece, elegantly guard the garden. How many they could say if they could only speak.
The first owner of the house - built at the end of the 19th century - endowed it to his brother who later sold it to the great agrarian Grigore Monteoru. This is the one who founded on his estate the Sarata Monteoru resort from Buzau. The rumors say he got swelled head because he enriched overnight discovering oil on a poky agricultural land. Immediately needing a husband for one of his daughters, who had a shorter leg, he plotted the coup of his life. He would offer as dowry a sumptuous mansion on Bucharest’s fanciest artery, only two steps away from the Stirbey Palace. The ingenious stratagem boosted his daughter in the “beau-monde” of the capital. After all who would hang in the wind to such an enticing offer at least from a residential point of view ? Lascar Catargiu for sure didn’t !
Any way, before endowing the house to Elena the great agrarian asked two architects to radically restore it. You can still see how Ion Mincu and Nicolae Cutarida marked La Belle Epoque on the imposing doors of ornate massive wood, sculpting the year 1889. If you are lucky and find these doors open you’ll feel like being inside a jewel. Arranged in French eclectic style, the house has walls covered in multicolored marble. The grandiose mirrors of fine crystals were brought from Vienna. The lightning objects custom-made in Paris still spread a warm elegant light.
An embellished chandelier in French Baroque style dominates the 3 levels central hall. Once in the spacious saloons your attention will be drawn towards the French silk upholstered walls, Venetian mirrors and Meissen tiles stoves. The monumental stairs leads you to the receptions saloon. Here the rare wood paneling, ceilings painted in stucco and massive walnut furniture brought from Vienna and Paris round the old aristocratic atmosphere. Through the tall windows with fine draperies they used to see the fig trees in the courtyard.
A nice place to enjoy a drink in the balmy evening breeze
After the war the Polish diplomatic mission occupied the residence. In order to preserve the luxurious interiors only protocol meetings took place here. Years later, seized in the loft and gun threatened by Soviets, Elena Lascar Catargiu donated the house. After the nationalization the valuable patrimony building from Bucharest became the Writers Union headquarter. This was the period when personalities like the pianist Cella Delavrancea and the writer Mihail Sadoveanu crossed its threshold. If you wish you can keep day dreaming at a refreshing drink under the trees shadow. But don't forget there are even more secret stories waiting for you out in this city…
Visit a culture symbol – the Romanian Athenaeum
First you’ll notice the appealing garden in the middle of an interesting mix of modernism and French style buildings. Imagine that before the wars here you could walk on an alley watched over by sculptures of important local personalities… But, the communists came and put them down ! Soon your sight will be drawn by the flock of doves shooting out at the shinning white of the edifice with peculiar architecture.
This is the city’s main concert hall, the creation of the French architect Albert Galleron, at the recommendation of Charles Garnier, the architect of the Opera in Paris. Believe it or not, at that time (1888), when Bucharest had only about 200,000 inhabitants, this land donated by the city hall was at the outskirts. And the plans were made to fit the already existing foundation of a riding school, where from the round shape form.
The edifice harmoniously blends Greek, Baroque and Neoclassical characteristics
8 Ionic columns - with the same proportions of those of the Acropolis temple - support a monumental peristyle with a triangular fronton. Yes, you are right, the fronton indeed reminds of the ancient Greek monument of Lysicrat in Athens (picturing the conquerors’ urn). The peristyle is sided by 2 corner Neoclassical pavilions. Behind the peristyle and fronton, the rich decorated Baroque cupola has 20 windows with golden lyres.
Wondering who are representing the 5 mosaic medallions ? These were famous rulers of the country: Neagoe Basarab, Alexandru cel Bun, King Carol I, Vasile Lupu and Matei Basarab. Among the strategic and civilian objectives attacked during the Second World War there were: the North Station, industrial areas, Athenee Palace and Ambassador hotels, the University, Carol I Foundation (University Central Library), the National Theatre (completely destroyed) and the Romanian Athenaeum (seriously affected by bombings).
Let your hand caress the Carrara marble while climbing up on one of the 4 Baroque spiral stairs. Stop for a couple of minutes in the balcony-landing of it (an element of novelty) to admire again the sumptuous lobby and the 12 Doric columns supporting the central vault.
Once you’re on the upper level a pleasant feeling of warmth surrounds you. Excepting the place where the stage is, above the lodges, there is a giant remarkable fresco depicting 25 scenes of Romanian history, from the Roman conquest until King Ferdinand. Costin Petrescu painted it, 50 years after the inauguration, and it is 3 m wide and 70 m long.
You know, the communists wanted to erase from people’s memory everything related to the monarchy. So they covered it with red velvet for almost 20 years. The concert pipe organ was installed with the financial help of the greatest Romanian composer, George Enescu.
Did you notice how the seats are disposed in the style of the ancient Greco-Roman amphitheatres ?
The concert hall’s capacity remained the same since the inauguration: almost 1,000 seats. And each of them offers perfect visibility and impeccable audition, due to the huge richly adorned cupola. The exceptional acoustic placed this emblem of Romanian culture among the most successful constructions of the genre, not only from Europe but from all over the world.
“Exclusively sacred to the art and science“ the Romanian Athenaeum hosted over the time events of historical magnitude: conferences of Romanian scientists, first auditions of autochthon musical masterpieces, first ample exhibitions, paintings and sculptures of the national masters… Part of the European Patrimony and home to the George Enescu Philarmonic Orchestra, since 1958, this amazing edifice is also the “headquarter” of the biennial George Enescu International Festival.
Private fine dining with wine tasting at 17 century mansion
Take this basket and go away. On the lawn of a palace estate !
The history of Stirbey noble family blends with this estate since 1831 but it was only the Prince Alexander Stirbey – also educated in Paris – who gave the glamour to this generous happily located space and introduced it into Bucharest’s high society circuit.
Close friends and collaborators of Their Majesties King Ferdinand and Queen Mary, Stirbey family members hosted here priceless guests as writer Ioan Slavici, poet Vasile Alecsandri, composer George Enescu, politicians Lascar Catargiu, Theodor Rosetti and Titu Maiorescu, Prince Mihail Sutu, general Ion Argetoianu or doctor Carol Davilla.
It is amazing how, for more than 150 years, this incredible place continues to preserve its simple elegance and the romantic atmosphere of the park with secular trees, making guests feeling it familiar and cozy despite its overwhelming history which only imposes a warm respect. After one hour of horseback riding on its forest paths where Queen Mary loved to gallop, soaking her soul with the rich scent of oak trees, nothing compares with a lazy gourmet picnic on the perfect lawn with hints of European sophistication. Inspired by Prince Stirbey, Princess Nadeja and Queen Mary, Chef Johnson’s creations are unlike anything you have ever seen including even a menu for children.
This experience is available whether you’re in town for a whole weekend or merely have an afternoon or morning free: let us recommend exhibitions, accompany you to a museum tour and show you around the city’s leading galleries.
Drinks and art at Linden Tree Inn
Two centuries ago the inns used to be giant structures, initially made of wood. These served as warehouses for merchandise and shelters for travelers. Later on almost all inns had a large yard in the middle, surrounded by thick tall walls for defense. Dating back to the old Bucharest, the Voivodal Palace, Antique Café, Manuc, Gabroveni and Linden Tree Inns still preserves part of the picturesque atmosphere of those times. And they are some of the traditional Romanian architecture's best representatives.
Among the most interesting attractions in capital
Both on Lipscani and Blanari Streets you cannot help but notice two vaulted entrances with majestic ornate gates of forged iron. The one from Blanari street still have on the original "seal" of the first owners (A.P. and S.P.). A peaceful world lies inside the rectangular patio (Spanish inner courtyard) formerly paved with rolling stone. The structure is very solid, with thick brick walls. The layer of mortar is almost as thick as the brick itself. This is the Linden Tree Inn, one of the most beautiful and authentic images of Bucharest inn. It is the only historic inn in the city that has preserved its original architecture exactly as it was. Not to mention it provides a good example of typical Wallachian glass-covered upper floor.
In 1833 the merchants Anastasie Hagi Gheorghe Polizu and Stefan Popovici joined hands to built what would become Nastase’s Inn. It was also known as the “Tavern on the main lane of Merchants”. But the name changed later, after the fragrant trees from its inner courtyard. In 1835 the two owners divided the inn between them, each one taking 14 shops and 2 warehouses. The shops located on both sides of the patio were on top of deep vaulted cellars. Iron shutters, doubled by beams with embellished edges, closed the tall windows. In 1837, forced by his debts, Stefan Popovici sells the inn to Ioan Lambru Polizu for 1,650 imperial golden coins. A whole bunch of Greek and Romanian people, besides the owner, signed the sale contract.
Back in those times, some of the important merchants of the city had their headquarters at this inn. One of them was Constantin Atanasiu. He founded the famous store La Vulturul de Mare cu Pestele in Ghiare (At the Sea Eagle with the Fish in Claws). If you wish to see his creation visit the bank hosted there now and take the glass elevator of Cocor Store.
Enjoy a drink flanked by the icons and paintings exhibited in the open air
Today the former inn is home to a cellar bar-restaurant and many art galleries. At times, coming from far away, as from another world, a beat of sonata or Waltz will filter through the little window of the upper floor. Within several of its salons – Louis XV and Louis XVI, Louise-Phillipe and Rococo - the inn shelters the largest art gallery in Romania. You can buy or just show your admiration for ancient pieces from wood panels, tapestry, paintings and icons, furniture and carpets to gramophones, clocks and cameras, albums, documents and photos, decorations, coins or even old little cars.
Wish to find out more hidden stories ?
Since its opening, about once a week the finest wines (sometimes Romanian, sometimes international) are paired with special menus for the exclusive pleasure of a very limited number of guests. Located in one of the hottest area of Bucharest, this lounge for wine lovers knows how to treat a customer, from the cosy friendly atmosphere to the best selection of wines and champagnes perfectly accompanied by appetizing collations.
Traditional Romanian dinner with show
DINING TIP: Lobster risotto with truffle and vermouth by Chef Hadad, accompanied by a bottle of French white wine of Henri Bourgeois Sancerre
Meticulously crafted by a Romanian Leather God. Who makes some incredibly fine leather handsomeness to keep in your back pocket, the kind of bags you would caress forever, photo frames and scrapbooks that will make a knockout gift come December-time, glorious butter-soft briefcases for all those important documents you can’t fit in your pockets, gorgeously handcrafted bracelets for Mom… or you, and all sorts of other glistening leather creations. Get them now or spoil yourself with a full week of shopping for international and local brands, traditional souvenirs and gourmet hampers !
An enchanting new luxury journey for 2017 that explores the glory of Classical Romania and the rapture of classical music. Escorted by a fine local host, ride in style as part of a small group of no more than 6 Azzurytt guests, step into the footprints of the great George Enescu composer, going in the country side to discover your destination as only your personal travel concierge can reveal it.
Enjoy pre-concert sightseeing in Bucharest, including the medieval Royal Court. Listen to live classical music throughout your journey performed by world-class musicians. Choose from numerous optional country trips, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Horezu monastery and the medieval inhabited fortress of Sighisoara. Ride aboard sleek, spacious minivan or sedan limousine. Come discover George Enescu’s treasured Romania !
Love the one you're with !
Located just steps away from the heart of vibrantly chic capital, this exclusive urban destination spa features an impressive unique array of therapies. Inspired by age-old rituals from the Extreme Orient they elusively blend tradition and modern, Zen elements and elegance, floral flavours and music for the soul…Dads who come here will be treated to a lavish Anti-Aging Myoxy Caviar Treatment, a Hot Stone Massage that quite literally solves all of their problems and a massage that combines the yoga stretching with the art of ancient and refined Thai massage techniques. All of these are specially designed for a man’s skin and muscles. Moms and moms-to-be are also invited to blissful pampering while for couples there are reserved a sensorial experience with chocolate and wine and a Swedish massage accompanied by champagne and chocolate serving.
Rub some salt on it
Bucharest might be known for its food and a certain edginess but it is also home to the first concept of Health Spa. The virtues of salt and water are mingled with new technologies to create a holistic atmosphere.
The spa area includes a Finnish and Bio Sauna, Thalassic Cabin with pink salt from Himalaya, bath with Bazna salts, Onyx relax room, tropical rain showers, Frigidarium, Techirghiol mud and Gerovital anti-aging treatments. The newly added Thunder experience blends the aromatherapy and chromo-therapy elements soothing, reviving and energizing the body while improving the lymphatic drainage. Learn to increase your body’s immunity the right way.
Retreat from the hustle and bustle of Bucharest and relax with a wide menu of anti-stress, relaxation, detoxification and energization therapies that blend the modern technology with an original treatment concept for an unique experience.
Guests will enjoy a surface cave with salty ionized air, Turkish and Kneipp baths, Scottish, Vichy and tropical showers, Finnish and infrared sauna, Whirlpool and Aqua-gym as well as a Tepidarium. The cutting edge fitness center, the delicious fresh juice bar and the unforgettable spa rituals guarantee you will return home rejuvenated with memories of a lifetime.