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Bucharest

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The 500-year-old city of Bucharest , with a population of 2,100,000, was once touted as "Small Paris". Bucharest today, like any large capital, is a bustling modern metropolis full of life and diversity. Boasting a rich and full history, Bucharest offers attractive opportunities to enjoy and explore.

Much of Bucharest’s past can be seen along Calea Victoriei and Piața Victoriei and the streets leading from them. Some of the points of interest on Calea Victoriei are: the National Museum of History, The Romanian Athenaeum and The Royal Palace known also as The National Art Museum, George Enescu Palace and The Museum of Art Collections.

Among the attractions is Parliament Palace, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under “Administrative Buildings” as the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon. In volume of the building, the Romanian Parliament Palace ranks third in the world. Ranking first is a Cape Canaveral rocket-assembly building, and ranking second is Quetzacoatl’s pyramid in Cholula, Mexico.

At the demand of Ceaușescu, the president and dictator of Romania between 1967-1989, work on Parliament Palace, initially named The House of The People, began on June 25 1984 on a land that had previously held one of the oldest and loveliest of the city’s neighbourhoods. Though the whole structure is the result of a tremendous national effort, it was designed and built entirely by Romanian specialists. After December 1989, the Palace became headquarters to several working commissions of the Romanian Parliament.

Of special interest for Romanian ethnography is the Village Museum. Located on the banks of the Lake Herăstrău in Bucharest, the museum is a result of Professor Dimitrie Gusti’s research on rural regions. The Village Museum was opened in 1936 the same year as the one from Skansen (Stockholm). Both are the first open-air ethnographic museums in the world.

Impressive by their simplicity of forms and colours, many of Bucharest's churches are an original expression of the Romanian architectural style. Some of the oldest and most valuable are the Church of St. Gheorghe on Magheru Blvd., the Crețulescu Church on Calea Victoriei, the Antim Monastery (1715) close to The Arch of Triumph, the Patriachat Church (1665) on Mitropoliei Hill in Unirii Square and many others.

Another point of interest is The Old Princely Court Museum, the ruins of a palace built in the 1500s by Vlad Țepeș a.k.a. Count Dracula. Nearby stands the oldest church in Bucharest, Saint Anton Church, which because it has been rebuilt so many times, unfortunately does not keep much of its old look.



When the noisy and crowded streets of the city centre become too much, be sure to visit the Cișmigiu Gardens (1860), an old and historic park located downtown or Herăstrău Park, located just a couple of metro stops from the city centre.

In Bucharest there is a broad range of cultural events at fairly low prices. "Șapte Seri" and B24FUN, free magazines available on brochure stands, detailing Bucharest's restaurants and entertainment, and including information about cultural events going on in the capital.

The old city has is still under reparations with some streets being finished hosting tens of pubs, clubs and restaurants.