About Bucharest/Romania

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Bucharest is the primary entry point into Romania. Bucharest is a booming city with many large infrastructure projects changing the old face of the city. Known in the past as "The Little Paris," Bucharest has changed a lot lately, and today it has become a very interesting mix of old and new that has little to do with its initial reputation. Finding a 300 year old church, a steel-and-glass office building and Communist-era apartment blocks next to one another is a common sight. Bucharest offers some excellent attractions, and has, in recent years, cultivated a sophisticated, trendy, and modern sensibility that many have come to expect from a European capital. Bucharest has been undergoing major construction and modernization works in recent years, such as the Basarab Overpass and the National Arena. Bucharest has benefited from an economic boom along with the EU grants that have helped rebuild neglected parts of the city, such as the historic Lipscani area.

Where to See

  1. Parliament Palace - In the center of Bucharest, near Piaţa Unirii (Union Plazza), the tourist can see the largest parliament building in the world, formerly named "Casa Poporului" (People's House). The building, which was built in 1984 by Nicolae Ceauşescu, spans 12 stories, 3100 rooms and covers over 330,000 sq m. 1/9 of Bucharest was reconstructed to accommodate this magnificent massive building and its surroundings. There are 30-45 minute tours every half hour which lead through the building's vast collection of marble rooms and culminates in an impressive view from Nicolae Ceauşescu's balcony. The marble and all the original decorations are 100% from Romania. There are different Tours ranging in price from 25 RON (15 RON for students, proof required) up to 43 RON. The basic tour includes the halls and the balcony, worthwhile is the terrace addition for the wonderful view from the top of the building. The basement addition on the other hand is not worth the money. They only show two rooms containing airducts, no additional facts and it lasts only 5 minutes! The tourist entrance is on the north side of the building.
  1. Old center (Lipscani) - A part of the city's historical heart was not demolished by Nicolae Ceauşescu. The area (stretching approximatively between the Dâmboviţa river to the south, Calea Victoriei to the west, Calea Moşilor to the east and Regina Elisabeta boulevard to the north) today contains an assortment of middle 19th century buildings, ruins of the Wallachian princes' medieval court, churches, bank headquarters, a few hotels, clubs, restaurants and shops. Narrow cobblestoned streets retain the names of the ancient guilds that resided on them. The area was mostly renovated and is now a place of gathering for the young generation of the city.

  2. Revolution Square (Piaţa Revoluţiei) - Site of part of the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Centrally located, it is not a long walk from the other squares, Gara de Nord, or the Parliament Palace. There is a tall monument in the center of the square in memory of those who died during the revolution.

  3. The Arch of Triumph (Arcul de Triumf). - Situated in the norhern part of the city, close to Herăstrău Park. The current arch was inagurated in 1936, but on the same site other arches stood starting with 1878.

  4. Romanian Atheneum - A beautiful building situated near Revolution Square (Piaţa Revoluţiei) is home of the George Enescu Philarmonic. If you have the time, visit the interior of the building as well, as it holds a fresco that depicts scenes of the Romanian history. The building was inagurated in 1888.

WWII American Memorial - Small memorial dedicated in 2007. Located in the eastern area of the Kiseleff Park (Parcul Kiseleff). It is visible on the western side of the Bulevardul Aviatonlor between the "Institutul de Istorie Nicolae Iorga al Academiei" and Strada Ion Mincu.

Useful Information:

  1. Safe: Bucharest is a safe city, the crime rate is much lower than many of the European capitals. For emergencies, call 112.
  2. Money: Romania's currency is LEU, meaning 100 BANI. The safest places to change money are banks for currency, exchange offices may charge a fee (not all of them).
  3. Health: If you have health problems, Bucharest hospitals are more than adequate but it is recommended that every tourist should his own health insurance.
  4. Transportation: Public transportation includes an extensive system of buses, trolleybuses, trams and metro lines. Cabs represent a problem for tourists because there are two types of taxi drivers in Bucharest: Those who are  individually licensed and practice high prices, and taxi companies with prices between1.4 lei / km - 3.9 lei/km. We recommend you avoid taxi cars that don't show any company name, phone number and price.
  5. Weather: Take a hat and sunscreen in the summer, when temperatures easily reach 30°C or more. Pack gloves in winter, when things can get chilly (+10C to -10C). July and August are the hottest months, February the coldest. The best time to visit is spring or autumn, when conditions are pleasant.
  6. Electricity: 230V AC, 50 Hz, two-pin plugs are standard.
  7. Dialling Code: +40 (national), (0) 21 (Bucharest).
  8. GMT: +2 (+1 in summertime).