BUCHAREST old city

When visiting Bucharest old city center you must see at least: Carol Park, Union Square and Lipscani Street area.

 

CAROL PARK

Arranged in 1906 the park has a current area of approximately 45 hectares.

It includes various species of deciduous trees, gummy trees, decorative shrubs, roses and lined lime trees.
Here there is the Roman Arenas with 5,000 open air seats.
Dimitrie Leonida National Technical Museum is also within this park.
The museum holds over 5,000 exhibits split in 300 collections presenting the evolution of Romanian technics.
Another sightseeing is Vlad Tepes Tower, which houses a water tank.
But the most well known of all remains the Unknown Soldier Monument, brought in 1991 from Marasesti.
If you are more into art look for the Giants statues sculpted by Dumitru Paciurea.
And listen the Cantacuzino Fountain, Neoclassical art monument from 1870.

 

UNION SQUARE

Situated at crossroads linking North Europe & Silk Road, this is a market place since 12th century.
Today it is one of the largest squares downtown Bucharest.

Bucur’s Fountain

“An incredible delightful show of water, fire, lights, holograms and great music from all genres and for all ages.
This is probably the largest and most beautiful musical fountain in the world.
Definitely a MUST SEE !”

Patriarchal Ensemble

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It worth to climb the Mitropoly Hill dominating the Union Square to see the entire Patriarchal Ensemble.

Home of Romanian Orthodox heads of church, Bucharest Patriarchal Ensemble is located on Dealul Mitropoliei (Mitropoly Hill).
At the middle of the 17th century (1653) the grapevines of country’s voivode and those of Mitropoly’s monks covered it.
The ensemble includes the Church and Palace of the Patriarchy and the Patriarch’s Residence.

 

Patriarchy Church

This is the spiritual center of the Romanian Orthodox Church and in consequence the most gilded church in the country.

Built in mid 17th century (1656-1658) as monastic church, it became a Metropolitan Cathedral in 1668.
Since the setting up of the Romanian Patriarchy in 1925, it has been a temporary Patriarchal Cathedral.
Rumors say the church rehabilitated between 1932 -1935 is connected underground with the Parliament Palace.

Massive pilgrimage for St. Dimitrie, Patron of Bucharest

October 26th is the day of Saint Dimitrie. Every year, before this date the Romanian Patriarchy organizes several Christian events bringing together people from throughout the country.
The patron saint of Bucharest, Dimitrie’s earthly remains rest in the Metropolitan Church for years.
His shrine is one of the country’s most sought after pilgrimage places.
Despite the usually cold weather, about 15,000 people gather to hear the Holy Mass.
The Patriarch and a synod of high church officials officiate this.
And the Holy Path procession with Saint Dimitrie’s relics cover the whole way to the foot of the Patriarchy Hill.
During the entire period, over 50,000 of pilgrims come here.

For our guests only: exclusive pilgrimage

You will find Orthodox world’s visual wonders scattered within the incomparable splendor of Romania. Fortunately you can spice them with Catholic, Muslim and Jewish inserts.
(Some gates open by invitation only.)
As a special guest you can benefit during several hours of:
– private talks,
– viewing of an impressive collection of precious books and world literature,
– service attendance,
– or even visits of three stars Michelin Green Guide sites and meals cooked by nuns.

Don’t let this ship sail without you. Get exclusive access now !

 

Patriarch’s Residence

Architect Gheorghe Simotta built it between 1932-1937, on the former place of a home for monastery's abbot raised by Constantin Serban Carnul.

In 1688 Radu Leon called the monastery, country’s mitropoly, restoring and extending the old abbot’s dwelling.
Between 1932 and 1935, architect Gheorghe Simotta adds a body to the palace.
Today this is the palace’s main body, made up of:
– Throne’s Great Hall,
– Patriarchate Chancelleries,
– Patriarch’s apartment and
– several other rooms.

 

Patriarchal Palace

Bucharest Patriarchal Ensemble - Upscale travel in Romania | Europe itinerary planningAccording to 17th century's customs, legislative power seat was placed in the middle of a religious complex for 2 reasons.

First, the Metropolitan was by law the boyars’ president, the only citizens with the right to vote.
And second, by tradition the Metropolitan could not leave his residence.
Therefore, organizing Deputies Assembly at Mitropoly becomes normal.
So they transformed some of monks’ cells into the princely divan building, where they held the legislative sessions.

Bucharest Patriarchal Ensemble - View from Patriarchy Palace | Premium tailor-made tour of Romania

The plate on Patriarchal Palace’s certifies that on January 24, 1859, within this building, the electoral assembly elected Al. I. Cuza as Prince of Wallachia this way achieving the union.
The palace served as seat of successive Romanian legislatures:
– during the Kingdom of Romania here it was the Assembly of Deputies.
– during the Communist regime it became the Palace of the Great National Assembly (Palatul Marii Adunari Nationale).
– after 1989 Revolution the Chamber of Deputies moved here.
Romanian Patriarchy (Patriarchate of Romanian Orthodox Church) owns the palace since 1997 when parliamentarians vacated it.

Princely Divan

In the second half of the 19th century (1881) an amphitheater was added to the old princely divan. Spacious, stylish and well-decorated it had 2 sets of private viewing boxes and one gallery.
Only few years later a similar one will be built in Berlin (within Reichstag building, which is German Deputies Palace).
Meeting hall’s seats are arranged in a semicircle in front of the tribune on its right being the ministers’ bench.
The public could visit the palace when no sessions.
Romanian citizens could attend the sessions only if a deputy signed their entrance ticket.
Foreign citizens needed the signature of their country’s embassy.

Palace of the Assembly of Deputies

At the begining of the 20th century (1907) the present-day palace replaced the former princely divan. The team of architect Dimitrie Maimarolu designed it in Neoclassic style with an imposing ground floor
The entrance peristyle with 6 Ionic columns and cupola are similar to those of the Romanian Athenaeum.
A golden eagle is on top of the cupola.

Palace of the Great National Assembly

During the socialist period, the edifice functioned as the headquarters of the Great National Assembly. This was the supreme body of state power of the Socialist Republic of Romania.

 

On the way to the old city center stop next to Dambovita River for a glimpse over Palace of Justice.
Founded in 1890 this has Neo-Renaissance style.

 

LIPSCANI STREET AREA

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Enter in the atmosphere of bygone days visiting the historical center.
If you liked Soho for sure you will like Lipscani area too as this is alike.

 

Spare an hour for shy steps inside the Old Princely Court

These are the ruins of Bucharest’s fortress built by redoubtable Prince Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) in 1459.

His reign was dominated by conflicts with Turks. So he had to permanently watch over and protect the southern boundary, Danube River.
This forced him live with his family, nobility and soldiers in the fortified town on Dambovita banks. And thus Bucharest became its second capital and residence, after Targoviste.
Later, traders and craftsmen built their houses around Princely Court.
And nearby streets, named after their professions, appeared: Lipscani (from Leipzig merchants), Selari (Saddlers), Covaci (Ironsmiths), Blanari (Furriers)…
Former princely residence keeps vestigies discovered during various archaeological excavations and multiple artifacts of former Bucharest citadel.
Some underground galleries built here during Ottoman raids – reused and enlarged at next raids – are still pretty well preserved.
Princely church is the oldest religious building in Bucharest preserved as it originally was.

 

Bordello

As the name says, it used to be a brothel.

Girls’ pictures still hang on the walls.
What a story these old walls could tell… from luxury to lust they have seen it all: once house of queens and princes, then dwelling for thugs, thieves and prostitutes and later one of the greatest hotels of the 19th century in the city center.
If you are in hurry just grab some refreshments.
If you have more time and plan to spend the whole night here with your pals check the bar upstairs.

 

Stavropoleus Church & Inn

Built in Byzantine style in 1724 by a Greek monk, this is one of the oldest churches in Bucharest.

Although of small sizes, the church has monumentality.
Stone sculpted decoration, furniture, exterior and interior mural painting are in Brancoveanu style.
In the courtyard, fresco fragments recovered from the churches demolished during communist regime have been preserved.
In front of the altar icons there is a stand inlaid with semi-precious stones.
The religious edifice shelters a collection of old icons from 18th century.
Their library hosts one of the largest collection of Byzantine music books in Romania.
In 2012 the City Hall wanted to restore the underground galleries of Stavropoleus Inn.
And turn them into a tourist site where visitors could walk among ruins and enjoy a cup of coffee.
As you can see the project was not put into practice.

 

Chariot with beer restaurant

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Start the morning with a coffee and the famous “papanasi” (traditional Romanian dessert) in a historical monument with a wonderful German architecture.

Here the largest wine cellar of the city was (77,000 l). This was the only restaurant that had a beer pipe directly from the beer factory. This was in the city, behind the present Parliament Palace. You know, the descendants of the original owner Mos Ghita (Oldman Ghitza) own the restaurant. Inside, close to the entrance, you can still see his small wooden statue. Useful souvenirs wearing the restaurant logo will make your friends back home wishing they have been here.

“We love it so much, that we had dinner there twice ! And we ordered the specialty Pork Knuckle. Both times, it was moist.” Ruth

 

Romania’s oldest bank: CEC Palace – National Savings Bank

CEC Palace - National Savings Bank Bucharest luxury tour | Romania

National Savings Bank - nowadays CEC Bank - is Romania’s oldest bank.

In the 16th century here there was a monastery, renovated at the beginning of 18th century by Prince Constantin Brancoveanu.
In the second half of the 19th century, on the place of the monastery ruins and an adjoining inn, they built a new bank headquarter.
Royal family attended the event.
French architect Paul Gottereau designed the palace in eclectic French style from late 19th century.
A Romanian architect supervised the construction entirely financed with institution’s own funds.
It impresses through the glass and metal dome.
CEC Bank was the only bank allowed to operate in Romania before 1989 revolution. /expand]

 

See the coins exhibition within National Bank of Romania Museum

National Bank of Romania - Rent a car in Bucharest | Drive through Europe

National Bank of Romania is the 13th Central Bank established in the world, before Japan’s Central Bank or USA’s Federal Reserve system.

Museum hosts one of the most valuable numismatic collections in Romania.
Focused on the history of national currency, it exhibits from:
– ancient drachmas minted in the 5th century BC by Greek fortresses (Histria, Tomis and Callatis) from the Black Sea’s West Coast
– to banknotes issued in 2005.
Here you can also see:
– the Old and New Palaces of the Bank,
– the Gold from the Vault,
– Governor’s Gallery and Board of Directors’ Room,
– old money safes used between the two World Wars
– seals, medals, post cards, insignias…

By the way, did you know that world’s smallest banknote is the Romanian 10 bani bill issued in 1917 ?
Having only 2.75 x 3.8 cm this is the smallest denomination ever printed by Romania.

World’s biggest coin ever is a 1,000,000 Canadian dollars coin weighting 100 kg and made of 99.99 percent pure gold.
You can buy it for twice its face value given the current price of gold.
Royal Canadian Mint issues it in 6 weeks and 3 people have already bought one.

 

Villacrosse-Macca Passage

In the first half of the 18th century, Serafim brothers bought the inn here.

One of them, Petros, was translator to Napoleon Bonaparte during his campaign in Russia.
After defeat, Petros wished to return to Constantinople.
But he stopped in Bucharest where he married a Romanian – Maria – and had 5 daughters.
The other, Ioan, doctor of medicine in Paris, also established in Bucharest nearby his brother.
In 1843 Polixenia – one of Petros daughters – married Xavier Villacrosse and received the inn as a wedding present.
Her spouse, Catalan architect who studied in France, was Chief Architect of Bucharest for 10 years.

At the end of the 19th century, an yellow glass covered arcaded street, in Western passages style replaced the inn.
With an elongated horse shoe shape, this had shops on the ground floor and rooms for rent on the first floor.
It is still remarkable due to its yellow glass cupola and main imposing entrance with portal framed by caryatides.
They named one branch Villacrosse and the other one,  Macca.
Mihalache Macca was the husband of Anastasia, another daughter of Petros.
Macca-Vilacrosse Passage hosted Bucharest’s first Stock Exchange House.

 

Drinks and art at Linden Tree Inn

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Two centuries ago inns were giant wood structures serving as merchandise warehouses and shelters for travelers.

Later, almost all had a large yard in the middle, surrounded by thick tall defensive walls. Old Princely Court, Manuc, Gabroveni and Linden Tree Inns still preserve those times picturesque atmosphere. And they are some of the best representatives of traditional Romanian architecture.

Among capitals’s most interesting attractions

Both on Lipscani and Blanari Streets you can notice 2 vaulted entrances with majestic ornate gates of forged iron. The one from Blanari Street still have on the original “seal” of first owners (A.P. & S.P.). A peaceful world lies inside the rectangular patio (Spanish inner courtyard) formerly paved with rolling stone. The very solid structure has thick brick walls. This is Linden Tree Inn, one of the most beautiful and authentic images of Bucharest inn. This is the only historical inn in the city that has preserved its original architecture exactly as it was. Plus it provides a good example of typical Wallachian glass-covered upper floor.

In 1833 merchants Anastasie Polizu and Stefan Popovici built Nastase’s Inn. Later, its name changed after the fragrant trees from the inner courtyard. Under the shops located on patio’s both sides there were deep vaulted cellars. Iron shutters, doubled by embellished beams, closed the tall windows.
Two years later the 2 business partners split and in 1837, in debts, Popovici sells his part of the inn.
Back in those times, some of the city’s important merchants had their headquarters within this inn. One of them was Constantin Atanasiu, founder of the famous store At the Sea Eagle with the Fish in Claws. If you wish to see it take the glass elevator of Cocor Store.

 

Enjoy a drink flanked by paintings exhibited in open air

Today the former inn is home to a cellar bar-restaurant and many art galleries.

Sometimes you’ll hear a beat of Waltz as coming from far away. Looking up you will notice a little window open at the upper floor. It belongs to the largest art gallery in Romania. This is sheltered within several of the inn salons: Louis XV and Louis XVI, Louise-Phillipe and Rococo. You can buy or just show your admiration for ancient pieces exhibited here. They have wood panels, tapestry, paintings and icons, furniture and carpets. You will also find gramophones, clocks and cameras, albums, documents and photos, decorations, coins or even old little cars.

 

Bucharest luxury private car tour

 

Over 15 years of experience in hospitality field
BA in Tourism Economy, MA in International Tourism, Tourism Manager License
Love making guests happy by giving them exceptional moments to cherish for life

See you all back here soon for more free tips, picked expressly for you.
Meanwhile feel free to address me any question you might have about Romania.
And to share this with anyone who might find it useful or interesting 😉

Happy tours !

Warm regards,
Kryss

 

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