go to content go to search box go to global site navigation

Introducing Bucharest

Much of Romania slags it and Europe in general doesn’t always speak favourably of Romania’s capital. They’re all wrong. Its perplexing mismatch of eras – grey housing blocks from Ceauşescu’s brutal rebuilding phase, deliberately French palaces with baroque clam-shaped canopies, (limited) remains of medieval churches and courts, 21st-century office buildings –means that even a short walk around blurs time. Bucharest is home to Romania’s best museums – lots of them – some of which defy limited budgets by illustrating the rural side of Romanian life. Others, like the communist bon voyage Palace of Parliament (the world’s second-biggest building), show off another era.

More importantly, like any great city, Bucharest believes in itself: a lively student base takes over the historic centre’s open-air bar scene, all-age couples attend theatre or opera or foreign-language films kept in their original tongue, and families seeking weekend quiet lounge all day in Bucharest’s (often) well-kept parks. Not what one might expect, considering revolution tore the city apart less than two decades ago.

Alas, Bucharest has its problems – taxi scams, glue-sniffing beggars, packs of stray dogs, loud traffic – but it has a heart too. Stick around more than a day – as some visitors flee at first sight – and you start to get it. Bucharest has something going on.

Advertisement
Promotion
Advertisement