When visiting Bucharest old city center you must see at least: Union Square, Lipscani Street area and University 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.
“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 !”
It worth to climb the Mitropoly Hill dominating the Union Square to see the entire Patriarchal Ensemble.
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
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 CourtThese 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.
BordelloAs 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 & InnBuilt 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 restaurantStart 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
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 MuseumNational 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 PassageIn 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
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.
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.
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 !
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