Romania - Bucharest

Romania is one of the large countries of Europe (having a size comparable to that of the United Kingdom or half of France), with a population of roughly 19 million inhabitants. Along with the Romanians, who make up the majority of the population, Hungarians, Germans, Serbs, Turks and other minorities live in the country.

Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial and financial center of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania and a primate city—located in the southeast of the country—and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 70 km north of the Danube River.

Bucharest was first mentioned in documents in 1459. It became the capital of Romania in 1862 and is the center of Romanian media, culture and art. In the period between the two World Wars, the city's elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of “Little Paris” (Romanian: Micul Paris). Although some buildings and districts in the historic city center were heavily damaged or even destroyed (by war, earthquakes and—above all—Nicolae Ceaușescu's program of systematization), many survived. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic and cultural boom.

The city proper is administratively known as the “Municipality of Bucharest” (Romanian: Municipiul București), and has the same administrative level as that of a national county, being further subdivided into six sectors, each governed by a local mayor.

Must see

  • Palace of the Parliament (Romanian: Casa Poporului) – According to the World Records Academy, the Palace is the world's largest civilian building with an administrative function and the second largest building in the world, after The Pentagon in America.
  • Herăstrău Lake – A beautiful lake surrounded by a huge park where you can ride your bike, read a book or watch a movie at the outdoor cinema.
  • Old Center – The old center of Bucharest is now a huge attraction point because of its crazy nightlife. Clubs, bars, restaurants—this is the place where everybody is spending their night at least 3 times per month.
  • National Arena – Built over the old arena in 2011, it is a [massive] football stadium where important matches are usually played—take for instance the 2012 UEFA Europe League Final. It is surrounded by a seemingly quiet park where people jog or play sports.
  • The Triumphal Arch – Located in the northern part of Bucharest, on the Kiseleff Road, it was first designed as a wooden triumphal arch, built hurriedly, after Romania gained its independence in 1878, so that the victorious troops could march under it. Another temporary arch was built on the same site, in 1922, after World War I, which was demolished in 1935 to make way for the current triumphal arch, which was inaugurated in September 1936.
  • Carol Park – Named after King Carol I of Romania, the park was designed by French landscape artist Édouard Redont in 1900 on Filaret Hill, under the supervision of Constantin Istrati, then president of the Romanian Academy. It was inaugurated in 1906, on the 40th anniversary of the coronation of King Carol I.
  • Cișmigiu Park – Since its official opening in 1854, it has remained one of the locals’ favorites in terms of daily leisure. Indeed, the park offers an excellent refuge during the hot summer days and, given the Cişmigiu Lake ices over in winter and, hence, turns into an open-air skate rink, the park can be deemed an all-season leisure opportunity—and, in fact, a top one, for that matter.
  • Manuc's Inn – Built in 1808 as a khan, it was originally owned by a wealthy, flamboyant, Armenian entrepreneur, Emanuel Mârzayan, better known by his Turkish name Manuc Bei. By the middle of the 19th century, it was Bucharest's most important commercial complex, with 15 wholesalers, 23 retail stores, 107 rooms for offices or living, two receiving rooms and a pub.