UNION SQUARE ~ OLD CITY CENTER ~ UNIVERSITY SQUARE
“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 definitely 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 the Palace of Justice.
OLD CITY CENTER
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.
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.
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
The oldest bank of Romania: CEC Palace – National Savings Bank
Founded following a law issued by Prince Al. I. Cuza this is Romania’s oldest bank: National Savings Bank (nowadays CEC Bank).
In the 16th century here there was the St. John the New monastery. Renovated by Prince Constantin Brancoveanu during 1702-1703, and later deteriorated, the monastery was demolished in 1875. So in 1897, on place of its ruins and an adjoining inn, the building of a new bank headquarter started. King Carol I of Romania and Queen Elisabeta were present at the event. The French architect Paul Gottereau – graduate of Fine Art Superior National School in Paris – designed the palace in eclectic style. The Romanian architect Ion Socolescu supervised the construction entirely financed with the institution’s own funds.
The palace has specific elements of French architecture from late 19th century. The entrance features an arch supported by two pairs of columns in composite style. Decorated with gables and coats of arms, the four corners end in Renaissance domes. The construction impresses through the glass and metal dome. CEC Bank was the only bank operating in Romania before 1989 revolution. In 2009, this was the venue for the 60th birthday celebrations of Crown Princess Margareta of Romania. And in 2015, it was also the venue for the 25th anniversary of the celebration of Crown Princess Margareta’s charity.
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.
Bucharest University Palace
In 1694 they were delivering the lectures here in Greek.
Only in 1864, Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza converted the Princely Academy into the University of Bucharest.
Designed by a Romanian architect and decorated by Karl Storck,
Bucharest University is one of the oldest leading universities in South-East Europe.
Its degrees are recognized in most countries in the world and many of their graduates have become public figures.
Bucharest University is one of the most important research centers in the country.
It is also one of the oldest and one of the leading higher education institutions in Romania and South-East Europe.
It offers inclusively PhD and Erasmus programs and constantly collaborates with more than 100 prestigious universities from 40 different countries.
The degrees granted by Bucharest University are recognized in most countries in the world.
Many of their graduates have become public figures.
Some are writers, professors and researchers in great universities around the world, members of the Romanian Academy or academies abroad.
Others are politicians: members of Parliament, ministers, prime-ministers, presidents, diplomats, etc.
History and architecture
University Palace history begins in 1694, when Constantin Brancoveanu, Prince of Wallachia, founded the Saint Sava Princely Academy in Bucharest.
They were delivering the lectures here in Greek.
Only in 1864, Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza converted the Princely Academy into the University of Bucharest.
A Romanian architect designed the 6-storied Neoclassic palace constructed between 1857-1869.
Karl Storck created the exterior decoration of the palace.
A high basement serves as base for the palace with the ground floor built in bossage.
Circle arch windows decorate the first floor and its Doric pillars extend on the second floor too.
The last 2 floors in the attic have decorated skylights.
The central frontage of the palace used to have a classical style relief made of Rusciuc stone.
It represented Minerva crowning the arts and sciences, but the 1944 bombings destroyed it only 80 years after its construction.
The palace have round corners plated in Doric columns covered by domes.
Initially it hosted not only the Faculties of Bucharest University.
Fine Arts School, Natural History and Antiquities Museum and other educational institutions were also here.
During the First World War (1916-1918) the University closed its gates due to the German occupation.
But it bloomed during the inter-war period when the teaching staff included some of the most prestigious Romanian intellectuals.
In 1948 they carefully restructured the University according to the Soviet model.
By 1960 it had 8 faculties and only 6 in 1989 due the censoring regime that prevented its international development.
The number of students, international contacts and co-operation projects considerably increased 30 years later, after its radical reorganization.
Thus, in 2010 it comprised 19 faculties, over 30,000 full-time students (of whom 1,000 foreign students) and 3,000 teaching positions.
Designed by architect Arghir Culina, Ambassador hotel opened its gates in 1939.
They say the owners were twin brothers, this being the reason why its wings are symmetric, built in mirror.
At that time it boasted about the most modern sanitary installation in Europe. Considered a top quality hotel since its inauguration, it has retained both its beauty and special place among capital’s hotels.
This architectural landmark with strategic location in the heart of Bucharest has a rich history.
One of the many tumultuous events it has been through was the bombing during the Second World War.
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.