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Bucharest – a city in changing times #places

4 min read

Places can affect us, create a certain atmosphere that remains for a long time, and give us new impressions. What is a city like? Where does this feeling come from, the effect that you feel in the city? In our #places section, we take you to the European capitals – to introduce you to places, personalities, buildings that reflect the city in all its facets. Let’s go to … Bucharest!

Parliament Building Bucharest

#places: Bucharest


Country: Romania
Inhabitants: ca. 1,8 million
Area: 228 km2               
Famous Landmark: Palace of Parliament

The Romanian capital Bucharest is still not a special insider tip for travelers. But why? Even though the contrasty city has so much to offer. Called also the Paris of the East, the French influence is still noticeable in many places.

Arcul de Triumf by night
© Mihdragan, Arcul De Triumf, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO
Clock Bucharest

Architecture:

An example is the Arcul de Triumf, a triumphal arch inspired by the famous Parisian landmark. As early as 1878, the arch was provisionally built of wood as a monument of Romania's independence in the First World War, before being replaced by a larger one in 1922. Today's triumphal arch made of solid stone is 27 meters high, exists only since 1936 and was inaugurated during the national holiday on December first. Responsible for the design was the architect Petre Antonescu. Numerous inscriptions and reliefs adorn the impressive structure, through which the traffic flows every day.

Address: Piața Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest

Right in the historic center of Bucharest the "House of the Union of Romanian Architects", which in the 19th century served as residence for the politician Gregory Păucescu, is located. Until the early 20th century, it was also the center of social, political and cultural life in Bucharest. Subsequently, the security service of the country among the communists used the building until the revolution in 1989 as headquarters. As a result, the villa was almost completely destroyed by fire in December of the same year. Between 2003 and 2007, the ruin was extensively restored under the direction of architects Dan Marin and Zeno Bogdanescu. The still existing historic walls have been preserved as a memory of the revolution. Today two modern glass blocks stand out from them. A complex that combines the present and the past in a special way.

Address: Strada Dem I. Dobrescu 5, Bucharest 010026

The Revolution Square is located on one of Bucharest's oldest main streets, Calea Victoriei, which winds its way through the city for three kilometers. The square owes its name to the bloody uprising against the communist regime of President Nicolae Ceauşescu in 1989. Many magnificent buildings are lined up here today, some of which still have bullet holes in their facades. The monument of rebirth is also meant to commemorate the time of the revolution and especially its victims: the marble column rises 25 meters high, is decorated with a black metal crown and symbolizing freedom. Unfortunately, the monument is not very popular with the inhabitants and is colloquially called "potato on a spit". Not fall victim to vandalism, it is constantly guarded.

Address: Piața Revoluției, Bucharest

Cantacuzino-Palace at Revolution Square Bucharest
Lipscani-Street with lights in the evening
© CARPATHIANLAND, Liscani Street 3, CC BY-SA 2.0
Lipscani-Area with Cafés und People
© kikiricky, BucharestOldCity, CC BY-SA 3.0

Interesting Places:

How about a walk through the lively Lipscani area? No other district has changed as much as Lipscani in recent years. For centuries it used to be a major trading center, and even today the street names refer to different trades such as shoemaker or tanner. Meanwhile, a pedestrian zone with many cafés, restaurants, shops and hidden backyards has been created here. Art lovers will also get their money's worth, as many art galleries and antique dealers proudly present their old and new treasures. Stroll through the streets and then relax in one of the many cafés or watch a performance in the Lipscanitheater.

Address: Strada Lipscani, Bucharest

Interior View of Carturesti Carusel Library
© Mihai Petre, Libraria Carturesti Carusel - Interior ziua, CC BY-SA 4.0

And if you are already in the Lipscani district, be sure to visit the Carturesti Carusel bookstore. The 20th-century building was built on behalf of the banking family Chrissoveloni and initially housed the main branch of the bank of the same name. Later, there was a general store in the premises. But gradually the building fell into disrepair, reopening as a bookstore in 2015 after five years of restoration. On several floors and in a historic atmosphere with stuccoed pillars visitors can browse quietly. There can be also found various souvenirs and a café on the top floor.

Address: Strada Lipscani 55, Bucharest

To give the passage "Pasajul Victoria" more color and liveliness, it was decorated with many colorful umbrellas that seem to float in the sky. Visitors can walk under the umbrellas and stop in one of the many bars located in the passage, some even hidden underground. Both for locals and tourists, the so-called "umbrella passage" is very popular.

Address: Pasajul Victoria, Bucharest

Sign at the entrance of the Restaurant Caru cu Bere
© Joe Mabel, Caru cu Bere 1, CC BY-SA 3.0
Interior of the Restaurant Caru' cu Bere
© Octav Vladu / www.flickr.com/photos/83205120@N07 / CC-BY-SA-2.0, Caru-cu-bere-2017, CC BY-SA 2.0

Restaurant:

If you would like to fortify yourself after an extensive city walk, visit the restaurant Caru 'cu Bere (English: beer cart). Since 1899, guests are enjoying the unique atmosphere and, of course, the great beer selection: around 36 beers are on offer here, from traditional Romanian beer to international varieties. Even foodwise Caru 'cu Bere has a lot to offer, whether tasty steaks or local dishes - there is really something for everyone. The neo-gothic building was designed by the Austrian architect Siegfrid Kofczinsky, who gave the building its splendid appearance. Also the interior design is impressive: wood carvings, frescoes and elaborately designed murals decorate the interiors and create a grand atmosphere.

Address: Strada Stavropoleos 5, Bucharest

Recipe:

Salată de vinete (Aubergine salad)

Ingredients:

  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 small onion
  • ​​​​​​​1  tablespoon of oil, e.g. sunflower oil
  • 1–3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • some pepper

Preparation:

First prick the aubergines with a knife and fry in a pan from all sides until they are soft. After about 25 minutes, remove the aubergines from the pan, allow to cool and then skin. Peel the onions and cut into small cubes. Cut the aubergines into pieces and place them in a bowl together with the onions. Salt and pepper to taste and purée everything until there are no more pieces of onio. Then add mayonnaise and oil and chill for at least 3-4 hours. Enjoy!

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