Copyright © 2011-2012, COMM 2012. All rights reserved.
TOURIST INFORMATION

Known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque buildings and a reputation for the high life (which in the 1900s earned its nickname of “Little Paris”), Bucharest, Romania’s largest city and capital, is today a bustling metropolis.
Remodeled in the late 19th century by French and French-trained architects, the city features large neoclassical buildings, fashionable parks, and even its very own Arc de Triumph on the elegant Soseaua Kiseleff, an avenue longer than the famed Champs-Élysées and home to the city’s mansion district.
Bucharest is laden with historical charm - from the streets of the Old City Centre, which are slowly being restored, to the grand architecture of the Royal Palace and the lush green of Cismigiu Park. The city also claims a large number of museums, art galleries, exquisite Orthodox churches and unique architectural sites.
Nicolae Ceausescu’s legacy, including the Parliament Palace (formerly called the People’s Palace), which at 3.76 million square feet stands as the world’s second largest administrative building after the U.S. Pentagon, provides an interesting introduction to the dictator’s megalomaniac vision.
Initially built of wood in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in World War I, Bucharest’s very own Arc de Triomphe was finished in Deva granite in 1936. Designed by the architect, Petre Antonescu, the Arc stands 85 feet high. An interior staircase allows visitors to climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city. The sculptures decorating the structure were created by leading Romanian artists, including Ion Jalea, Constantin Medrea and Constantin Baraschi.
Address: Piata Arcul de Triumf

Bucharest’s buzzing cultural scene - 37 museums, 22 theatres, concert halls, opera house, 18 art galleries, jazz clubs and hip nightclubs - will certainly keep you busy. Every two years, Bucharest is host to the George Enescu International Festival, a prestigious cultural event named after the famous Romanian musician and composer. Renowned orchestras, conductors and soloists perform at the Romanian Athenaeum, a hall with acoustics comparable to Milan’s La Scala.


CITY LANDMARKS

The Arch of Triumph
Revolution Square

Nicolae Ceausescu’s legacy, including the Parliament Palace (formerly called the People’s Palace), which at 3.76 million square feet stands as the world’s second largest administrative building after the U.S. Pentagon, provides an interesting introduction to the dictator’s megalomaniac vision.
Bucharest’s buzzing cultural scene - 37 museums, 22 theatres, concert halls, opera house, 18 art galleries, jazz clubs and hip nightclubs - will certainly keep you busy. Every two years, Bucharest is host to the George Enescu International Festival, a prestigious cultural event named after the famous Romanian musician and composer. Renowned orchestras, conductors and soloists perform at the Romanian Athenaeum, a hall with acoustics comparable to Milan’s La Scala.


The Romanian Atheneum
The work of French architect Albert Galleron, who also designed the National Bank of Romania, the Athenaeum was completed in 1888, financed almost entirely with money donated by the general public. One of the preeminent public fundraising campaigns ever in Romania, the “Give a penny for the Athenaeum” campaign saved the project after the original patrons ran out of funds. With its high dome and Doric columns, the Athenaeum resembles an ancient temple. The lobby has a beautifully painted ceiling decorated in gold leaf, while curved balconies cascade in ringlets off a spiral staircase.
A ring of pink marble columns is linked by flowing arches where elaborate brass lanterns hang like gems from a necklace. Inside the concert hall, voluptuous frescoes cover the ceiling and walls. Renowned worldwide for its outstanding acoustics, it is Bucharest’s most prestigious concert hall and home of the Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic.
Address: Str. Benjamin Franklin 1
Phone: (+40) 021 315 00 26, (+40) 21 315 25 67
Web: http://fge.org.ro
The National Military Palace

Standing guard imposingly, this neoclassical masterpiece, designed by Romanian architect Dimitrie Maimaroiu, was built in 1912 to serve the social, cultural and educational needs of the Romanian army. Banquets and official events are still hosted in the ballrooms, while the upstairs area is reserved for the army’s library, as well as offices and classrooms for officer instruction. The main part of the building is off-limits to civilians, but the sumptuous restaurant and summer terrace is open to the public.
Address: Blvd. Regina Elisabeta 21
Phone: (+40) 021 313.86.80
Web: www.cmn.ro


Manuc’s Inn
Built between 1804 and 1808 by the wealthy Armenian trader Emanuel Marzaian (called by the Turks, Manuc Bey), the inn was witness in 1812 to the preliminary talks of the Peace Treaty that put an end to the Russian -Turkish War (1806-1812). A favorite meeting and resting place for tradesmen in those times, Manuc’s Inn has preserved to this day its old style and flavor. It now serves as a hotel with a restaurant, a wine cellar and a pastry shop.
Address: Str. Franceza 62-64
Phone: (+40) 021 313.14.11
The Parliament Palace

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-feet-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.
Address: Calea 13 Septembrie 1, Intrarea A3
Phone: (+40) 021 311.36.11
Open: Mon.-Sun. 10:00am-4:00pm
Admission charge. English guided tour available


Metropolitan Church
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.
Address: Aleea Dealul Mitropoliei
Village Museum

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.
Address: Sos. Kiseleff 28-30
Phone: (+40) 021 317.91.03
Open: Mon. 9 am to 5 pm, Tue. to Sun. 9 am to 7 pm
Web: www.muzeul-satului.ro
Admission charge


Mogosoaia Palace and Brancovenesc Museum
Located in the village of the same name on the shore of Mogosoaia Lake, this palace reflects the Brancovenesc architectural style, featuring traditional Romanian staircase balconies, arcades and columns. Built by the Walachian prince Constantin Brancoveanu between 1698 and 1702 as a summer residence, the palace features a beautiful Venetian-style loggia on the facade facing the lake and a balcony with intricate Brancovenesc-style carvings overlooking the main courtyard.
Today, the palace houses the Brancovenesc Museum with exhibits of valuable paintings, wood and stone sculptures, gold and silver embroideries, rare books and precious manuscripts. Inside the complex, there is also a church built in 1688 and decorated by a team of Greek artists.
Today, the palace houses the Brancovenesc Museum with exhibits of valuable paintings, wood and stone sculptures, gold and silver embroideries, rare books and precious manuscripts. Inside the complex, there is also a church built in 1688 and decorated by a team of Greek artists. The original interior murals have been well-preserved, including a painting showing Constantin Brancoveanu with his wife, Maria, and their four sons and seven daughters, all wearing royal dress.
Address: Str. Valea Parcului 1 (9 miles north of Bucharest)
Phone: (+40) 021 490.42.37
Open: Mon. to Sun. 8 am to 6 pm.
Admission charge. Access by car or taxi