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Best Tourist Attractions Next to Victoriei Square in Bucharest

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government building at Victoriei square at night

Right in the center of the city you will find the Victoriei Square, a place which hides numerous cultural, historical and very beautiful treasures. The Victoriei Square is connected with other important areas of the city, which makes it a place of interest for the tourists and also for the locals who still want to let themselves be amazed by the buildings’ architecture and history.

The museums next to Victoriei Square are some of the Bucharest’s main attractions. One of the most important museums of Romania, founded in 1834, is “Grigore Antipa” Museum of Natural History. Some of the exhibits you will find there have been donated hundreds of years ago by important people of this country and throughout many centuries have been admired by tourists from all over the world. There are also artificial caves, skeletons and 3D films. The permanent exhibitions consist of natural sceneries from Romania, such as the Danube’s Delta, the alpine bioregion and the forest-steppe, while the temporary exhibitions are diverse, informative and enjoyed by all, including children. The museum also organizes educational programs and events about interesting subjects, such as robotics, the chemistry between art, science and psychology and chess marathons.

Another place you have to visit is the Cantacuzino Palace which is part of the European Heritage since 2007. It hosts paintings and sculptures of great value and the Belle-Epoque atmosphere,which still can be felt by the guests who want to go back in time, remained a defining element of the palace. Behind the main building you will find The National Museum “George Enescu”, a place which is a tribute to the artist but also to the Romanian music and art. The exhibition of the museum holds photographs, manuscripts, furniture, decorative art, personal objects and other valuable pieces of the artist.
The Romanian Peasant Museum is a national museum, dedicated to history and the people who were part of it. It is part of the European family of Museums of Popular Art and Traditions and it presents numerous exhibits which belonged to Romanian ancestors.
Near Victoriei Square you can also find the Filipescu-Cesianu House, which holds an important cultural and historical value. The building hosts the Museum of Ages whose exhibition explores the human evolution from multiple perspectives, their history and relationships. Another memorial house which can be visited is the house of Henri Coandă, the Romanian aviation pioneer, physicist, inventor of the jet engine. The house is a great example of the French neo-Renaissance Romantic Architecture.

At first glance, the Victoriei Square might seem too crowded and not thoughtfully organized from an architectural point of view because the buildings are very different and of various colors and styles, but you can always find interesting places to explore.

Best Attractions in the Cismigiu Area

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flowers and vintage watch at the entrance of cismigiu park

If you ask Bucharest residents about their favorite hangout, many will direct you towards the Cismigiu Garden area, a park that goes back over 200 years, and offers you a breath of fresh air right in the center of the city. Take a walk through its picturesque alleys, pleasantly shaded by hundred-year old oaks and chestnuts and dotted by graceful statues, or let your senses be overwhelmed by the colors and sweet fragrances of its Rose Garden. Or you can hire a boat and row around the lake to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet.

Whatever you do, you simply must visit the Writers’ Rotunda, an isolated corner where you can find the statues of the most important personalities in Romanian literature.

As you head out of the green oasis that is the Cismigiu Park, you can go east towards the Elisabeta Boulevard and make your way to the University Square, a popular landmark in Bucharest.

The University of Bucharest was established in 1864 by Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza and it’s Romania’s main academic center. As you walk down the street, on your right, do not miss the huge bronze statue of Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave) on horseback, unveiled in 1873 and the first of its kind in Bucharest.

If you’re interested in more modern art, right across the street from the University building there’s the National Theatre `Ion Luca Caragiale`, which underwent complete reconstruction works in recent years. With its four performance halls, it is the biggest theatre in Europe. Do take a moment to admire the amazing bronze statues in front of the theatre. Some of the statues are four-meter high and represent famous characters in the plays of Romania’s most prolific playwright Ion Luca Caragiale, whose statue is a bit to the side, the guy sitting on a chair smoking.

Also in the Cismigiu area, if you take the western exist and head out on the Stirbei Voda street you can admire the Kretzulescu Palace, or Cretulescu by the Romanian spelling. Built at the beginning of the 20th century in the French Renaissance architectural style, the palace of the noble Cretulescu family today houses the UNESCO Center for Higher Learning.

Just a short walk will take you to the St.Joseph Catholic Cathedral, built between 1875 and 1883, with Romanesque architecture features and elements of Gothic influence. It is the biggest Catholic Church in Bucharest.

Not very far from St.Joseph’s there’s the Romanian Athenaeum, the country’s main concert hall and home of the George Enescu Philarmonic. Inaugurated in 1888, the Athenaeum is an impressive piece of neoclassical architecture with romantic influences. In the park in front of the building, there’s a great statue of Mihai Eminescu, the country’s national poet. If you’re lucky enough to visit Bucharest in the fall, you could go to one of the many concerts taking place during the George Enescu Festival. You should, however, book your tickets in advance, as they are in great demand.

Last, but not least, opposite the Athenaeum there’s the Royal Palace. The monumental building you’ll see was built in 1936-1937, after the old palace was destroyed by fire. Romania’s Royal family did not get to use the palace much, as monarchy was abolished in 1947. For many decades after that, the Throne Hall was used by the Communist regime for various state functions. It might interest you to know that the Romanian Revolution of 1989 started in this square, where Nicolae Ceausescu chose to make his last speech to the nation, which is why to this day the place is called Revolution Square.

The Royal Palace now houses the National Museum of Art, a must see if you’re in Bucharest. The museum boasts an international collection of paintings by Old Masters, such as El Greco, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, Jan van Eyck, Jan Brueghel the Elder or Rubens, as well as a national gallery with works of famous sculptors Constantin Brancusi and Dimitrie Paciurea and paintings by Theodor Aman and Nicolae Grigorescu.

Best Parks in Bucharest

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park with a lake in autumn

Bucharest might not be the greenest European capital on an area per capita basis, but it is still has a fair amount of parks and public gardens. Open day and night, they offer an escape from the daily hassle, clean air, and the chance to rewind.

Herastrau Park

While the park was recently renamed to honor the last Romania king, Mihai I, who passed away recently, locals still refer to it as Herastrau. Located in the northern part of the city, Herastrau is developed around the lake baring the same name. The park stands apart because it is located in area of Bucharest which is posher than the rest. It is enough to look at the premium clubs and restaurants that flank its eastern side. A round trip of Herastrau starting and finishing in Charles de Gaulle Square is approximately 8 km long. Leisure activities include open air cinema festivals, bike rentals, and boat cruises on the lake.

Cismigiu Park

Cismigiu is the oldest and probably best-known park of Bucharest. Established in 1847 in an attempt to copy the style of contemporary English gardens, it is now classified as a historical monument. Testimony to that is the impressive number of sculptures and monuments that ornate the alleys and provide even the most casual of strolls with a bit of history. Cismigiu is the traditional place for first dates, wedding photoshoots, and is packed throughout the warm season.

Tineretului Park

Tineretului (Youth’s Park) has the largest area of all Bucharest’s parks and the history behind the name is intriguing. The communist authorities wanted to quickly repurpose an old landfill and they resorted to a practice common for the time – patriotic voluntary labor. It took just 8 months to the work and the landscape is pretty much the same since then. A central lake with a circumference of 3 km is the focal point of Tineretului. Bucharest is a flat city here is one of the few places where one can actually find high ground to admire the panorama and enjoy a sunset.

Carol Park

Carol Park is built around the Mausoleum dedicated to the Unknown Soldier, an impressive homage paid to the fallen soldiers of World War I. However, the park was first created as grounds to host the National Exhibition of 1906, honoring the 40 years of reign of King Carol I, the first monarch of modern Romania. The stairs leading up to the monument offer a great view overview of Bucharest and the park is typically less crowded than others throughout the week-ends.

Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park

Located in Sector 3, it is generally viewed as the most stylish and well-maintained park of the city, with upkeeping being carried out almost on a daily basis. Although officially named after Romanian ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza, this is another case where locals refer to it according to the older names (IOR Park or Titan Park). Like most parks of Bucharest, it also has a lake in the middle. Throughout the summer months hydro bikes and kayaks are up for renting. Because it is literally the only oasis of green in a sea of 10-story blocks, this park is one of the busiest when the weather is fair.

Circului Park

Although small when compared to others on the list, this park stands apart for having a natural lake at its center, packed with water lilies and aquatic birds. In its proximity one can also admire the unique architecture of the National Circus.

Izvor Park

Izvor is another park located in the center of Bucharest, nor far from Unirii Square. Because it was recently opened, most of its trees are young, and its alleys are not quite as shady as one would need to escape the scorching summers of Bucharest. From Izvor, tourists have a great panorama of the imposing People’s House (the seat of the Romanian Parliament and one of the largest buildings in the world).

Vacaresti Delta

Although not technically a park, this is a great location for nature enthusiasts. Vacaresti was for a long time a huge abandoned area, with no development plan whatsoever, after the communists failed to create a lake. Because vegetation developed and wild animals found refuge here (more than 90 species of birds), authorities decided to call it a protected area. Still in its infancy, Vacaresti Delta has the potential of becoming Bucharest’s most important green lung.

Bucharest Old City

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picture of cec palace and bucharest old city center at night

Every city has an ‘old center’. This is usually a part of the city itself where the architecture has been preserved as it was tens of years ago and which people are trying to advertise as the ‘heart and soul’ of it. The ‘old city’ in Bucharest is much more than that: it looks and feels like a mini version of Romania.

The Old City in Bucharest is a marvelous rather small place crammed up between buildings with ancient looking architecture where you can find anything in terms of pubs and bars. And I do mean, anything. There are pubs dedicated to Irish drinks, ones that focus on Dracula, who became like a trademark of Romania, ones that concentrate on offering their guests the typical East European atmosphere and many more. There is a pub for every taste in the old city and each one of them is unique.

When you first enter the old city, a totally different sight envelops you. On the outside, you have the typical Romanian capital: a mass of people in a concrete jungle with cars honking everywhere. It’s not that bad, but at the same time, you need to breathe once in a while. Once you enter the old city, you are welcomed by old buildings that sent you back hundreds of years in the past. A certain smell envelops you and draws you further in the Old City. As you walk in, hostesses smile at you and try to convince you to enter their restaurant or pub. You walk further in, more hostesses try to draw your in. However, choosing one restaurant is not easy. The selection is so wide, if this is your first time in the Old City, you will either have a very hard time choosing only one pub or you will go from pub to pub for the whole night!

The Old City in Bucharest is known more for the fun it provides and not for the architecture however. There are lots of things to do here, even if you are not the drinking type. There are restaurants, clubs for all types and many more. The Romanian people are very outgoing, so if you ever happen to find yourself in the Old City, you are guaranteed to have a good time!

In terms of prices, when compared to the prices of other major cities in Europe, Bucharest is actually pretty cheap and the Old City is no different. You can enjoy dinner and several drinks for much less than you would in, say, London, Paris, Berlin or any of the Scandinavian cities. This is a major advantage of the Old City and one which you will certainly enjoy.

In terms of pubs, restaurants or coffee shops that you can find in the Old Town, here are some examples:

  1. Grand Café Van Gogh

As the name suggests, this coffee shop focuses on style, elegance and on providing high quality service to all customers. If you want to amaze your friends and enjoy your coffee in a marvelous coffee shop, try Grand Café Van Gogh. You won’t be disappointed!

  1. Mojo

Mojo is the place to be when it comes to music or sport. The place is built on three stories, the top one focusing on karaoke and the ground one focusing on football and sports matches and packed with all the necessary equipment so you can enjoy a football match as if you were right there on the stadium!

  1. Rembrandt

This is another great place for those who want to be amazed by the architecture and the 1920s like interior. The Rembrandt hotel, coupled with the coffee shop across from it, was renovated with one thought in mind: to keep all the pieces and build on them, not demolish them. The hotel is truly a representation of the old times of Bucharest set in, not surprising, the Old Town.

  1. Corks Cozy Bar

Wine. This is exactly what you need to know about this bar. It offers a great range of wines for all tastes and the atmosphere is a nice and cozy one, as the name suggests. They also offer great snacks if you are feeling hungry. This is a great place to have a drink with a couple of friends before going out to visit the Romanian capital.

  1. Gilda

Transformed from an old theater into a new restaurant / club, Gilda seems to have reborn from its ashes, like a Phoenix bird. Years back, this was a theater known to many as Muse. Now, it is a place with great music, a live DJ and food worthy of a restaurant. It is advertised as a place where you can both spend the day, relaxing and tasting the most wonderful dishes of Romania, as well as the night, where you can enjoy great music and a spot to dance in.

The Old Town of Bucharest is a mix of places that offer everything you need to spend a great day or night. The pubs, restaurants and hotels are there to satisfy all tastes and you will definitely find the perfect spot to have fun, regardless whether you have refined tastes or whether you’re just out to have a good time in the Romanian capital.

Image Credit: Eu Aleg Romania

Tourist Attractions in And Near Brasov

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city center at night

Among Romania’s best known travel destinations, Brasov and the area surrounding it offer plenty of tourist attractions to cater to all tastes and types of travelers. For history enthusiasts, there are lots of landmarks telling stories from the country’s past both inside the city and in its neighborhoods. Outdoors lovers are spoiled with choices no matter the season they visit Brasov. Those looking for some traces that will confirm Dracula’s existence will be happy to visit the vampire’s castle, located a few kilometers away from Brasov. Indeed the list of tourist attractions in and near Brasov is almost infinite.

Brasov’s Old Center

city central square in Brasov

Also known as Piata Sfatului (Council Square), Brasov’s historical center is probably the city’s best tourist attraction and its most visited place. This is where the visitors go to admire Brasov’s iconic landmarks; this is where the locals get out for a walk, where they meet up and have fun; this is where cultural and artistic events, outdoor concerts and theme fairs are organized  on a regular basis.

A great spot where to start your discovery of Dracula’s country, Council Square is the departure point for most of Brasov’s attractions such as the Black Church, the White Tower, the Black Tower, the old citadel’s bastions, the old walls of Tampa citadel, etc. The most impressive building in Brasov’s old town is the Town Hall. Located right in the center of the square, this edifice erected in 1420 houses nowadays the History Museum. At no.16, you will find the first drugstore in the city.

The Black Church

black church in Brasov

An impressive Gothic Evangelical church located in Brasov’s old center, the Black Church is an architectural gem, whose construction started in 1384 and was completed in 1477. Formerly known as the Church of St. Mary, the religious landmark was partially destroyed by the great fire of 1689. This is when the building received its current name. Severely damaged by fire, the Black Church was rebuilt with the help of craftsmen from the Hanseatic city of Danzig, because locals didn’t know how to close big sized vaults. The new vaults are, however, are Baroque, not Gothic as the original architecture of the building would require.

Measuring 89 meters in length and 38 meters in width and able to accommodate about 5,000 people, the Black Church is the largest Gothic style religious edifice of South-Eastern Europe. However, the Black church is famous not only for its size: it houses the largest church bell in the Romania, weighing six tons, and largest organ in South- Eastern Europe, equipped with over 4,000 pipes.  Actually, the Black Church organizes an organ concert on a weekly basis. The carpets collection inside this religious landmark if the richest of this kind in the country.

Bran Castle

Medieval castle in Transilvania with forrest

Many times included among the top 10 most beautiful castles in the world, Bran Castle (also known among international tourists as Dracula’s Castle) is located in the village Bran, situated less than 10 kilometers away from the city of Brasov. The locals would disagree that the castle had anything to do with the legendary vampire made famous by the Irish novelist Bram Stoker. Nevertheless, the castle is worth visiting if you want to understand a bit Romanian history, but also for the great views on the Moeciu region that you can get from its balcony.

The fortified churches

The Romanian region of Transylvania is home to about 300 fortified churches, and some of them are located in Brasov’s proximity. The fortified churches of Viscri, Prejmer and Biertan with their thick walls and impressive architectural details will provide you with a more comprehensive perspective upon the country’s history.

Poiana Brasov

Skying Slopes Map at Poiana Brasov

The most popular ski resort in Romania, Poiana Brasov offers 12 ski slopes of different degrees of difficulty. Poiana Brasov is also the place where you can do some snowboarding, but it can be suitable also for just soaking the winter atmosphere during the cold season. During the summer, Poiana can be a starting point for exploring Romania’s mountains. If you are not really a hiker, just take the cable car up Postavaru Mountain. You will certainly enjoy the view. Although it cannot be compared to the Alps’ chocolate villages, Poiana Brasov is a modern mountain resort, nice to visit at any time of the year.

Image Credit wikimedia.org, wikiwand.com

Best Free Tours for Tourists in Bucharest

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calea victoriei square palace

Visiting a European capital is something everybody wants, but most of the time, the thing that stops them from doing this is money. Transportation, hotels, food, everything can amount to a large sum of money that not everybody can afford. On top of that, in order to make sure that you visit all the greatest places, you also need a guide, which amounts to extra money.

In Bucharest, you can enjoy a tour of the greatest places to visit without spending any money. There are free tours organized all around the city which you can use to visit the greatest tourist attractions in the Romanian capital. Here are some you should consider if you want to make the most out of your trip to Bucharest.

Bucharest Center 100+ Free Tours

These are tours that last 120-180 minutes and they cover the central part of Bucharest with the most important monuments here. Usually, the tours begin in the morning, after breakfast and all those who wish to participate have to present themselves at The Old Court entrance, also known as Dracula’s Fortress. They are designed for families or small groups, as well as independent people. The tours can also be organized in the afternoon, provided that you call and ask about the guides’ availability for that particular time of the day.

Here are some of the tours they provide:

  1. Old Town free tour

The Old Town of Bucharest is one of the most beautiful places one can visit in the capital. The tour focuses on displaying the huge differences in terms of architecture between the Old Town and the newer part of the city. The guides can present the tour in multiple languages, including English, Romanian, Italian, French and Spanish. If you would like someone who speaks a particular language, make sure you message the agency and book a tour ahead of time.

The tour is designed to be a walking tour and can include up to twenty people, although larger groups are also accepted. For additional information, contact the agency at http://bestofromania.eu/bucharest-free-tours/

  1. Calea Victoriei free tour

This tour is designed specifically for the palaces on Calea Victoriei. The departure point is Victoria Square, at the metro station exit near the Victoria Palace. As the name suggests, this tour focuses on presenting the palaces that can be found on Calea Victoriei.

The tour usually starts at 9 AM in the morning and finishes at 12. For afternoon tours, you will have to call the agency ahead of time. The groups accepted for this tour include up to 20 people, but larger groups are also accepted. For additional information, contact the agency at http://bestofromania.eu/cvtour/

  1. Bucharest Squares free tour

This tour focuses on the Bucharest Squares and it takes about 120-180 minutes to complete. The guides speak multiple languages and like the other ones, it typically starts in the morning, after breakfast. The departure point for everybody is Unirea Shopping Center. From there, the guide will take you to visit some of the most impressive monuments that Bucharest has to offer.

Although the official page states that this tour is in English and Romanian only, if you call ahead, the agency can book you a guide who speaks your native language.

Why choose a free tour?

  • They are free, obviously. The only thing the agency asks from the participants is promotion. You are free to tip the guides for a job well done, but other than that, there are no expenses involved.
  • You can meet other likeminded tourists who are also in the process of discovering Bucharest and you can hang out together.
  • The tours are short and the guides speak multiple languages. You can call the agency a couple of days in advance and you will be able to book a guide who speaks your native language. This will make the tour much more enjoyable and much more interesting.
  • The guides are regular people who want to help you uncover the hidden beauties of Bucharest. These tours will not be rigid and professional, but will seem more like a trip among friends. You can enjoy them much more than you would if you would pay an agency to show you around the town.
  • You can save the money you would normally spend on a tour for something else – a cocktail, a beer in the Old Town or a traditional dish cooked at a restaurant in Bucharest.

In conclusion, the Bucharest free tours are the best option if you want to visit the Romanian capital, but you don’t feel like spending a ton of money on guides and tourist agencies. You can also have a lot of fun, enjoy the inner beauty of Bucharest, all without having to spend an entire month’s salary.

Cotroceni Palace

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Bucharest is not only a modern city, but it is also filled with history. On every street and in every neighborhood you can find a building that tells stories, and one of them is the Cotroceni Palace. While you are in Bucharest, make sure you take a day to visit it; you will not regret.

The Cotroceni Palace is the home of the President of Romania, but even so a part of it is open for visitation since 27 of December 1991 when the National Museum of Cotroceni was opened. The building goes back to 1679, when one of the rules of Romania built a monastery. A church and other small buildings were added in the next two years, but not all of them are still standing today. In 1862, the first ruler or Romanian Principalities, Alexandru Ioan Cuza decided to make the monastery his home during the summer months.

Years later, in 1984, the church that was built near the monastery was demolished following the orders of the former communist ruler of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu. 5 more years and a revolution passed until the monastery became officially the residence of the President of Romania. Today, only the Museum of Cotroceni is open for visitation, but during certain times of the year visitors are allowed to take the tour of the Palace and see the building where the President lives. Yes, sometimes you can even catch a glimpse of the President while he is going in or out of the Palace.

cotroceni-palace-garden

In the Museum of Cotroceni the visitors have the chance to see not only an impressive example of old architecture, but also important art objects from the history of Romania. Dozens of famous paintings made by Romanian artists and not only can be seen there, as well as many objects that used to belong to the Royal Family of Romania. In a wing of the Museum the visitors can see parts of what was left of the old church Cotroceni, as well as religious paintings that were hidden during communism.

In the Museum you can find tour guides that speak many different languages, so you will have the chance to find out the story of the artifacts that are presented here even if you don’t speak the Romanian language.

If you are lucky, you might find one of the many international exhibitions that can be visited here in different times of the year, and you can attend various events like concerts, debates and conferences and book launches.

After you finish visiting the Museum, do not forget to go to the souvenir boutique that is waiting inside the building and get something that will remind you of the beautiful experience you had in Romania.

The Romanian National Opera Bucharest

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The Romanian National Opera Bucharest Building

The Romanian National Opera Bucharest is one of the four National Operas in Romania and it is considered the largest lyrical theater in the country. The name “Romanian Opera” was used nationwide long before a special building was designated for hosting the many local opera and ballet shows. The writer, conductor and singer George Stephanescu is the one who has always fought for creating this artistic institution, which he funded under the name “The Romanian Opera Company”.

The Romanian lyric theater tradition has more than two centuries, marked by outstanding artists that have enriched our country’s musical culture. At the beginning of 1772 historians mention the presence of an opera band in Bucharest, but only in 1919 the Romanian National Opera was funded. Starting then, it has become the first lyrical stage in the country where the most important opera concerts were held. Its repertory includes over 150 titles of opera and ballet, some of the most diversified and spectacular International music pieces ever created.

A particular attention was shown to the development of the Romanian classical music, which has known a remarkable progress thanks to the work of world famous writers such as Gheorghe Dumitrescu, George Enescu, Zeno Vancea, Alfred Mendelsohn, Mircea Kiriac, Laurentiu Profeta and Cornel Trailescu. The new location of the Romanian National Opera was built in 1953, in Bucharest, and it represents a more appropriate and elegant setting for hosting the wonderful and rich opera and ballet stage offered by Romanian culture.

Bucharest’s lyrical band was launched on the 8th of May 1885, hosting progressively a repertory that became richer by the day. At the beginning, the company included mostly Italian and French opera that were very popular at that moment, but also comedy opera from the National portfolio, in which debuted some of the most iconic Romanian voices of all time.

Although the existence of an artistic Romanian band of lyrical theater known as the Romanian Opera Company was made public in 1885, the founding of the Romanian Opera as an institution financed by the Public Budget was possible only in 1921. The absolute premiere took place with the Lohengrin opera show under the directions of George Enescu.

The current building of the Romanian Opera, with a capacity of 952 places, was constructed in 1953 according to the sketch of the famous architect Octav Doicescu. It was named the Opera and Ballet Theater and it was focused on two big International events: the third World Youth Congress (25-30 July) and the fourth World Festival of Youth and Students (2-14 August), but it was inaugurated only on the 9th of January 1954 when the “Queen of Spades” opera show by Piotr Ilici Ceaikovski was hosted.

The façade of the building has a portico with three monumental arcades decorated with the statues of four muses and three access doors which allow the entrance in the sumptuous lobby constructed on two levels. The building is listed on the list of Bucharest’s historical monuments with the code B-II-m-B-19004.

The opera hall has a horseshoe shape. The stage is 24 meters wide, 20 meters deep and 30 meters tall. At the last floor there is the Opera Museum. In the park located in front of the building there is the statue of the great musician George Enescu, a bronze sculpture made by Ion Jalea. Also in front of the building, but facing the entrance, there is the statue of the writer Gheorghe Stephanescu (1843 – 1925), the founder of the Romanian Opera.

On the building’s front side instead of two smaller arcades, which used to initially frame the larger ones, two reliefs were added, one that depicts an opera scene (made by the sculptors Zoe Baicoianu and Boris Caragea), and the other of two ballet dancers flying( the sculptor being Ion Vlad). In the opera hall there is a magnificent chandelier with 100 branches made on golden crystal. Occasionally, some shows are hosted in the Yellow Foyer, which has a capacity of maximum 200 places.

Schitul Darvari

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Right in the center of Bucharest, where you can hear the city beating there is a small oasis of quietness. Here you can feel serenity, faith and get a bit closer to God. The name of the place is Darvari Hermitage. This is a place that has nothing to do with the hectic urban set. It is actually very similar to the remote monasteries where you usually go to hear the call of your spirituality. The locals are very familiar with this sanctuary and more and more tourists discover its uniqueness every year.

Between old houses, embassies and beautiful architecture there is the Darvari Hermitage. To be more exact, next to “Gradina Icoanei”. As soon as you walk inside, you step into another world. Here, time stays still, belief takes over and you experience another pace of life. It is a monastery in the center of the busiest city in Romania, a calm area surrounded by rush and noise.

The hermitage was built in 1834 by Mihail Darvari and his wife, Elena, born in the Buzesti family. The worship place was made of wood, it didn’t have a tower and its patrons were Saint Lazarus, the Saints Constantine and Helen and the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The small church was constructed as a praying place for the family and their friends. The founders have also built the stone walls, sanctums, and in 1835, 12 nuns were brought to the hermitage to form its first monastic community.

Between 1989 and 2002 the hermitage was the subject of intensive restoration works. Its beautiful paintings were deteriorated due to the abundance of smoke used during the communist period, the sanctums were also in a poor shape and the bell tower was unusable. Following the original architectural plans, Darvari Hermitage has been restored to its original conditions. Now the worship place is opened to visitors and it is a wonderful monastic setttlement where you can admire church architecture, mural paintings, enjoy tranquility and discover a little bit of history.

This sanctuary is the work of art of the renowned architect Nicolae Vladescu. It is a complex construction which includes 9 sanctums, the refectory, the bell tower, a shop and a small prayer chapel. Since 2007, the abbot of the Darvari monastic settlement is the archimandrite father Teofil Anastasoaie.

On 8 November 2011, at the celebration of the second patrons of the church, the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel, Patriarch Daniel has held a special ceremony for blessing the church’s paintings, iconostasis and the new silver reliquary where there are kept small parts of holly relics. The silver reliquary was made in the Romanian Patriarchate’s workshops.

If you want to discover a unique place in Bucharest’s modern setting then you should consider visiting Darvari Hermitage, a holly destination with a rich history. Here every step unveils amazing architecture, religious art and a return to spirituality.

Lacul Morii

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Mill Lake is one of the largest lakes in Bucharest, a beautiful place that offers beautiful and lush landscapes for those who are looking for a serene destination where they can relax and enjoy a slower pace of life. With an area of 246 ha and located at 6 km from Bucharest’s center, this blue attraction is one of the most appreciated destinations for locals or tourists with a passion for photography and unique scenery.

Mill Lake is actually an accumulation lake created in 1986 on Dambovita River after closing the Ciurel Dam, a dam that was built for protecting Bucharest from floods. The lake is located between the Crangasi neighborhood, Giulest neighborhood and Chiajna village. Mill Lake also allowed the construction of a recreational area in Crangasi neighborhood and ensures a rate of clean leakage on Dambovita within the Capital’s limits.

The Lake resulted when the 15 meters tall Ciurel Dam was built which has a central concrete body reinforced with earth dams that measure 7 km. It truly is a remarkable man made construction that generated one of the most stunning artificial lakes in the country. In the northern side of the lake there is one of its most interesting treasures, a 32.723 m² peninsula called “Mill Lake Island” which is connected to the lake’s shore by a narrow trail of land.  To enhance its beauty, in 2011 a few volunteers planted 475 trees here. Due to its unique and exotic beauty, the Mill Lake Island hosted a few very important music concerts, festivals, water sports and shows. For instance, the “Coke Live” music festival took place here.

Mainly, the lake is used as a recreational destination and very often it offers cultural shows, Air-Show exhibitions, scooter, boat and sailboats competitions. Windsurf is another increasingly popular sports on Mill Lake. Actually, here there are courses for water sky, windsurf, sky jet and other modern water sports.

There are even a few projects that plan to turn Mill Lake into a travel destination, a residential complex, a business and a commercial center. To ease the access to this fantastic attraction there is even a project of building a highway tunnel that would connect Bucharest’s center with Mill Lake and A1 highway.

The lake was built by the communists on a ground that used to be occupied by the Saint Nicolas Church and its cemetery. These two were covered by concrete and initially the architects wanted to build in the center of the lake shops, promenades and benches. But these plans were seized in ’89 and in their place Mill Lake resulted. Now this is the favorite destination for photographers, locals or tourists who are looking for a green alternative to the grayish city décor.

When you are in the mood of discovering a beautiful gem in Bucharest do not hesitate to take a short trip to Mill Lake where you can admire one of the largest lakes in the city, stunning scenery and even try out some thrilling water sports.

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