If there is one place you just cannot miss in Bucharest, it’s the Parliament Palace, also called the People’s Palace. With a surface of 365,000 m2 and 1,000 + rooms this gargantuan concrete embodiment of the communist-era, was been built in the ‘80s, under the Ceaușescu regime. It’s the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon, and has yet to be surpassed on weight. Make sure to visit inside, as seeing it from the outside just isn’t the same. The building hosts the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, an international conference center and three museums: The National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Communist Totalitarianism and the Museum of the Palace.
The work of French architect Albert Galleron, the Athenaeum was completed in 1888, financed almost entirely with money donated by the general public. One of the best known public fundraisings in Romania, the « Give 1 leu 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
Renowned worldwide for its outstanding acoustics, it is Bucharest’s most prestigious concert hall and home of the Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic.
Who needs Paris? Bucharest has got its own Arc de Triomphe!
Initially built of wood in 1878 to honor the return home of Romanian soldiers who fought to win the Independence War, Bucharest’s Arch of Triumph was rebuilt in 1922 and redecorated in 1936 with base reliefs carved in granite brought from Deva (Transylvania).
Mills, parts of churches, old homesteads and agricultural structures, all on display into an open-air delight, on the banks of Herăstrău Lake.
The museum extends to over 100,000 m2, and offers its visitors the opportunity to step foot in 272 authentic peasant farms and houses, displaced from all over Romania.
Built in 1806 by the wealthy Armenian trader Emanuel Marzaian (called by the Turks « Manuc Bey ») holds an important piece of Romanian and European history, as the negotiations for the 1812 peace treaty were held there. The treaty is signed in May the 16th, 1812 and it marks the end of the Russo-Turkish war. Furthermore, it settled the borders for the territories fought over.
Unique in Europe, one of the last remaining caravanserai has a spectacular interior courtyard and it’s a great place to eat and drink tasty Romanian food (the mici are excellent, as is the enormous lamb shank – enough for two people) and a more than decent pint. On rainy days you can head down into the crama (wine cellar).
Set atop one of the city’s few hills, known as Biserica Mitropoliei, the Patriarchal Church has been the centerpiece of the Romanian Orthodox Church since the 17th century. The church was financed by Constantin Serban Basarab, ruler of the province of Walachia between 1656 and 1658
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.