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Tourist info

mai 29, 2015

Bucharest Independent City Walks

The following walks are designed to guide you around the four main areas of Bucharest, pointing out several unique sights. Stray from the routes as you wish, as you’re sure to find other interesting places along the way that are not mentioned here. Allow approximately three hours for each walk.

 

Walk # 1 North of Center

This beautiful walk takes you through the quiet area north of the city center. Begin at Piata Victoriei with the government’s Victoria Palace(Palatul Victoria) on its east side. Cross the square and walk north along tree-lined Soseaua Kiseleff. On your left are the Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum and the Museum of the Romanian Peasant; a little farther up on the right is the National Geological Museum. After passing through Kiseleff Park, stroll northward along the grand old mansions that line the shaded avenue all the way up to the Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf). There begins Herestrau Park with its lake, gardens and outdoor restaurants. You will also pass the entrance to the wonderful open-air Muzeul Satului (Village Museum); take time to stop in and admire the numerous traditional rural architectural styles. Ending at the north end of the park, off Piata Presei Libere you’ll find the RomExpo exhibit center and the World Trade Center Plaza at Pullman (former Sofitel) Hotel. There’s a fancy shopping arcade inside and a very nice coffee shop in the hotel where you can get a bite to eat. Catch bus # 335 back to Piata Charles de Gaulle for the Aviatorilorsubway station (Metrou) or bus #331 to Piata Romana.

 

 Walk # 2 West – Central

This walk follows the route of Bucharest’s most famous historic avenue, Calea Victoriei, Beginning at Piata Victoriei, walk south along Calea Victoriei passing Casa Vernescu, the George Enescu Museum, housed in the beautiful Cantacuzino Palace, and the Art Collections Museum. Two blocks south of Bulevardul Dacia, detour left onto Strada Piata Amzei where you’ll come upon the colorful open-air produce market(Piata Amzei). Return to Calea Victoriei and turn left to resume the walk south, stopping in the shops along the way. Upon reaching Piata Revolutiei you will find the Athenee Palace Hilton hotel, the Romanian Athenaeum (Atheneul Roman) concert house (ask for an inside tour), the National Art Museum, housed in the former Royal Palace, the beautiful University Library, the former Communist Party Central Committee building, and finally, the Kretulescu Church built in 1725. Continuing south on Calea Victoriei, you’ll pass more shops and hotels; note the Odeon Theater, sitting back from the street on the left. On the right you’ll come to The Military Club which has an outdoor café and an art gallery. Turn west (right) at the corner onto Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta and follow it to Cismigiu Garden, the last stop on this walk. Stroll around the lake or just relax watching the rowboats.   The boathouse café offers snacks and refreshments.

 

Walk # 3 East – Central

This walk takes you along Bucharest’s busiest commercial and shopping area. The boulevard changes names five times, but here you will cover the length of only three of its five sections: General MagheruNicolae Balcescu and I.C. Bratianu. Starting from Piata Romana, you might first walk east on Bulevardul Dacia for a look at some of the embassy mansions; then return to Piata Romana. Next, head south on Bulevardul General Magheru. The street is filled with clothing stores, sidewalk vendors, pastry shops, cinemas, stationary stores (papeterie), and crystal shops. On the east side of the Bulevardul Balcescu section you will find the Libraria Noi bookstore which has a good selection of American picture books and English novels. There are several art galleries along here, including two in the National Theater which is next to the high-rise Intercontinental Hotel. Behind the hotel are the American Consulate and the American Library. Reaching Piata Universitatii, on the west side of the street you will see Bucharest University and the sidewalk book and flower vendors; sit a moment at the fountain in the adjoining plaza and watch the activity. The underground subway (Metrou) concourse has shops, newsstands with American magazines, and several fast food eateries, including a pastry shop and pizzeria. This underground passage is the easiest place to cross the boulevards, rather than deal with street traffic. South of Piata Universitatii the street name changes to Bulevardul I.C. Bratianu. On your right is the Bucharest History & Art Museum, housed in the neoclassical Sutu Palace, built in 1835. Farther down, across the boulevard will be Sfantul Gheorghe cel Nou Church, built in 1701. The eastern end of Strada Lipscani meets the boulevard on the west side. Continuing south, you will end this walk at Piata Unirii where you will find department stores, a large grassy square with park benches to rest on and its enormous complex of fountains. Piata Unirii’s two subway (Metrou) lines link with all other subway stops.

mai 29, 2015

Bucharest - Hop On/ Off Sightseeing Bus Tours

Hop-on, hop-off bus tours are operated daily on a fleet of new double-decker buses. Travelers can get an introduction to Bucharest's fascinating architectural mix and get familiar with the city's central neighborhoods and places of interest in less than one hour.

Fast Facts Hours of operation: 10 am - 10 pm; Frequency: every 15 minutes; Total length of the route: 9.5 miles; Number of stops: 14.

Sights and major attractions include: Village Museum (Muzeul Satului), Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf), Natural History Museum (Muzeul Antipa), Geology Museum (Muzeul de Geologie), Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Muzeul Taranului Roman), Headquarters of the Romanian Government (Palatul Victoria), The Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Roman), National Museum of Art (Muzeul National de Arta), Church Cretulescu (Biserica Cretulescu), The Savings Bank (Palatul CEC),National History Museum (Muzeul National de Istorie), Parliament's Palace (Palatul Parlamentului), Romanian Patriarchy (Patriarhia Romana), Manuc's Inn (Hanul lui Manuc), Bucharest University (Universitatea), Museum of the City of Bucharest(Muzeul Municipiului Bucuresti), National Theatre (Teatrul National), Academy of Economic Studies (Academia de Studii Economice)

Day ticket (card):
Adults: 25 lei (about $8.50); Children (up to 7 years old): free; Youth (7 to 18 years old): 10 lei (about $3.50) 
http://bucharestcitytour.ratb.ro/tarife_eng.html

Note: Tickets can be purchased on board and are valid for 24 hours from the time of validation.

mai 29, 2015

Herastrau Park (Parcul Herastrau)

Spread over some 400 acres, from the Arch of Triumph to the Baneasa Bridge, the park is home to numerous attractions, including a boat rental complex, tennis courts, and a rather old-fashioned fairground. In the summertime, many terraces open up on the shores of the lake. For an overview of the park, take a ride around the lake on the ferry or rent your own boat. The park is also home to the Village Museum. The area surrounding the park holds even greater treasures. The streets between Bulevardul Mircea Eliade and Soseaua Kiseleff contain extraordinarily beautiful houses in architectural styles ranging from 19th century neoclassical to 20th century art nouveau and modern luxury villas. This is where Bucharest's elite once lived - and still do today.

mai 29, 2015

Carol I Park (Parcul Carol I)

This large park is one of the most beautiful in the city and contains a massive monument that once housed the remains of communist leader Gheorge Gheorgiu Dej, as well as the eternal flame that marks the grave of the Unknown Soldier. Designed by French landscape architect Eduard Redont in 1900s, the park offers pleasant walks down tree-lined paths, a good view of central Bucharest (from the monument) and plenty of photo opportunities. In summertime, the park's Arenele Romane is the stage for open-air concerts.

mai 29, 2015

Botanical Garden (Gradina Botanica)

Opened in 1891, the garden features over 5,000 varieties of plants from Romania and around the world. The garden also encompasses a beautiful building in the Brancovenesc architectural style, housing the Botanical Garden Museum. Here, you can peruse manuscripts, old botanical research devices and a collection of artifacts made of vegetal materials. Locals treat the gardens as a park, and on warm afternoons, you may see more young lovers than plants. The huge greenhouses are open Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun, 9am - 1pm.

mai 29, 2015

Cismigiu Garden (Gradina Cismigiu)

Designed in 1845 by the German landscape architect Carl Meyer, the garden opened to the public in 1860. The name, Cismigiu, comes from the Turkish cismea, meaning "public fountain." More than 30,000 trees and plants were brought from the Romanian mountains, while exotic plants were imported from the botanical gardens in Vienna. Cismigiu is Bucharest's oldest park and a great place to stroll and enjoy a break from the hectic city. Set amid green lush lawns and winding paths, the park offers a lake with rowboat rentals, a beer garden, a playground for children, a chess area for amateurs and plenty of park benches for relaxing and people-watching.

mai 29, 2015

Village Museum (Muzeul Satului)

Founded by royal decree in 1936, this fascinating outdoor museum, the largest in Europe, covers some 30 acres on the shores of Lake Herastrau in Herestrau Park. It features a collection of 50 buildings representing the history and design of Romania's rural architecture. Steep-roofed peasant homes, thatched barns, log cabins, churches and watermills from all regions of the country were carefully taken apart, shipped to the museum and rebuilt in order to recreate the village setting. Throughout the year, the Village Museum hosts special events where you will have a chance to witness folk artisans demonstrating traditional skills in weaving, pottery and other crafts. Folk arts and crafts are available at the museum gift shop.

mai 29, 2015

National Art Museum (Muzeul National de Arta)

Romania's leading art museum was founded in 1948 to house the former Royal Collection, which included Romanian and European art dating from the 15th to the 20th century. Located in the neoclassical former Royal Palace, set amid a wealth of historic buildings such as the Romanian Athenaeum, Kretzulescu Church and the Hotel Athenee Palace-Hilton, the museum currently exhibits over 100,000 works divided into two major sections. Its National Gallery features the works of major Romanian artists, including Grigorescu, Aman and Andreescu. There is also a roomful of early Brancusi sculpture, such as you won't find anywhere else, demonstrating how he left his master, Rodin, behind in a more advanced form of expression. The European Gallery, comprising some 15 rooms, displays little-known art gems from the likes of El Greco, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Breughels (father and son) Cezanne and Rubens. If you only have time to visit one gallery, make it the Romanian one. It is the most complete collection of Romanian works of art in the country and quite possibly, the world.

mai 29, 2015

Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Muzeul Taranului Roman)

Opened in 1906, the museum features the richest folk art collection in Romania, with over 90,000 artifacts that trace the colorful and diverse cultural life of the Romanian people. The Pottery Collection includes some 18,000 items, representative of the most important pottery centre in the country. The oldest ceramic item found in the museum bears the inscription 1746. Equally impressive, the Costume Collection comprises almost 20,000 traditional folk costumes, some dating from the beginning of the 19th century, giving visitors insight into the styles and traditions of the Romanian peasants.

The displays dip into all aspects of life in the Romanian countryside. Exhibits of agricultural tools, carpets, icons, furniture, photographs and films build up a complete picture of Romanian folk culture. In one of the galleries, you can see a wooden church and in another, a wooden peasant house. Four more wooden churches stand in the outdoor museum area. In 1996, the museum was named European Museum of the Year. Visitors can buy regional handcrafts and textiles in the museum's extensive gift shop.

mai 29, 2015

Cotroceni Palace & Museum (Muzeul National Cotroceni)

A former royal residence built between 1679 and 1681 by Prince and ruler Serban Cantacuzino, the palace was home to King Carol I, who made important changes in its architecture. At the end of the 19th century, Heir-to-the-Crown Ferdinand ordered the partial demolition of the palace, which was later reconstructed by French architect Paul Gottereau in neoclassical style. In 1977, Nicolae Ceausescu transformed it into an official guesthouse with the addition of a new wing.

After 1990, the old wing of the palace became a museum. The Oriental Hall, the Norwegian Hall and the Queen’s Chamber are almost unchanged from the original design and are worth visiting. Very important collection of medieval art also can be seen here. The new wing serves as the seat of the Romanian Presidency.

mai 29, 2015

Metropolitan Church (Biserica Patriarhiei)

Set atop one of the city’s few hills, known as Mitropoliei, the Metropolitan Church has been the centerpiece of the Romanian Orthodox faith since the 17th century. The church was built by Constantin Serban Basarab, ruler of the province of Walachia between 1656 and 1658, to a design inspired by the Curtea de Arges monastery. It became the Metropolitan Church in 1668 and the seat of the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1925.

The Byzantine interior, containing the most dazzling of the city’s iconostasis, as well as a couple of exquisitely carved side altars, bestows great beauty on the services presided over by the Romanian Patriarch. A huge crowd gathers here for the Easter midnight service.

The outstanding bell-tower at the entrance was built in 1698 and restored in 1958. Next to the church, and closed to the public, is the Patriarchal Palace (1708), residence of the Teoctist, supreme leader of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

mai 29, 2015

Parliament Palace (Palatul Parlamentului)

Built by Communist Party leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, the colossal Parliament Palace (formerly known as the People's Palace) is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. It took 20,000 workers and 700 architects to build. The palace boasts 12 stories, 1,100 rooms, a 328-ft-long lobby and four underground levels, including an enormous nuclear bunker. When construction started in 1984, the dictator intended it to be the headquarters of his government. Today, it houses Romania's Parliament and serves as an international conference centre. Built and furnished exclusively with Romanian materials, the building reflects the work of the country's best artisans. A guided tour takes visitors through a small section of dazzling rooms, huge halls and quarters used by the Senate (when not in session). The interior is a luxurious display of crystal chandeliers, mosaics, oak paneling, marble, gold leaf, stained-glass windows and floors covered in rich carpets.

Interesting facts: It is the world's second-largest office building in surface (after the Pentagon) and the third largest in volume (after Cape Canaveral in the U.S. and the Great Pyramid in Egypt); The crystal chandelier in the Human Rights Hall (Sala Drepturilor Omului) weighs 2.5 tons; Some of the chandeliers have as many as 7,000 light bulbs.

mai 29, 2015

Sutu Palace (Palatul Sutu)

Famous for the grandiose balls held here in the 1900s, Sutu Palace was built in neogothic style between 1832 and 1834 by foreign minister Costache Sutu, to designs of architects Johann Veit and Konrad Schwinck. In 1862, the palace was redecorated by sculptor Karl Storck, who created three arcades and a monumental stairway; a huge Murano mirror was added in the hallway. Only the painted ceilings, the stucco, the parquet flooring and the tile stoves have been preserved.

Since 1959, the building has housed the Bucharest History & Art Museum.