Full day Bucharest
Known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque buildings and a reputation for the high life (which in the 1900s earned its nickname of “Little Paris”), Bucharest, Romania’s largest city and capital, is today a bustling metropolis. Romanian legend has it that the city of Bucharest was founded on the banks of the Dambovita River by a shepherd named Bucur, whose name literarily means “joy.” His flute playing reportedly dazzled the people and his hearty wine from nearby vineyards endeared him to the local traders, who gave his name to the place. Remodeled in the late 19th century by French and French-trained architects, the city features large neoclassical buildings, fashionable parks, and even its very own Arc de Triomphe on the elegant Soseaua Kiseleff, an avenue longer than the famed Champs-Elysees and home to the city’s mansion district. Calea Victoriei is Bucharest’s oldest and arguably, most charming street. Built in 1692 to link the Old Princely Court to Mogosoaia Palace, it was initially paved with oak beams. The street became Calea Victoriei in 1878, after the Romanian victory in the War of Independence. Between the two world wars, Calea Victoriei developed into one of the most fashionable streets in the city. Stroll along this street from Piata Victoriei to Piata Natiunilor Unite to discover some of the most stunning buildings in the city, including the Cantacuzino Palace, the historical Revolution Square, the Military Club, the CEC Headquarters and the National History Museum.
08:00 Departure from hotel to old city centre
08:30 Walk through the old city centre with visit to the Royal Court, Royal Court Church, Stavropoleos Church, Russian Church, Lipscani-old commercial area
10:30 Departure to the Parliament Palace
11:00 Visit at the Parliament Palace
13:00 Visit at the Peasant’s Museum
14:30 Visit at the Village Museum
Parliament Palace (Palatul Parlamentului)
Built by Communist Party leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, the colossal Parliament Palace (formerly known as the People’s Palace) is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. It took 20,000 workers and 700 architects to build. The palace boasts 12 stories, 1,100 rooms, a 328-ft-long lobby and four underground levels, including an enormous nuclear bunker. When construction started in 1984, the dictator intended it to be the headquarters of his government. Today, it houses Romania’s Parliament and serves as an international conference centre. Built and furnished exclusively with Romanian materials, the building reflects the work of the country’s best artisans. A guided tour takes visitors through a small section of dazzling rooms, huge halls and quarters used by the Senate (when not in session). The interior is a luxurious display of crystal chandeliers, mosaics, oak paneling, marble, gold leaf, stained-glass windows and floors covered in rich carpets.
Interesting facts: It is the world’s second-largest office building in surface (after the Pentagon) and the third largest in volume (after Cape Canaveral in the U.S. and the Great Pyramid in Egypt). The crystal chandelier in the Human Rights Hall (Sala Drepturilor Omului) weighs 2.5 tons. Some of the chandeliers have as many as 7,000 light bulbs.
The Museum of the Romanian Peasant is a museum in Bucharest, Romania, with a collection of textiles (especially costumes), icons, ceramics, and other artifacts of Romanian peasant life. One of Europe‘s leading museums of popular arts and traditions, it was designated “European Museum of the Year” for 1996.
The Village Museum, founded by royal decree in 1936, this fascinating outdoor museum, the largest in Europe, covers some 30 acres on the shores of Lake Herastrau in Herestrau Park. It features a collection of 50 buildings representing the history and design of Romania’s rural architecture. Steep-roofed peasant homes, thatched barns, log cabins, churches and watermills from all regions of the country were carefully taken apart, shipped to the museum and rebuilt in order to recreate the village setting. Throughout the year, the Village Museum hosts special events where you will have a chance to witness folk artisans demonstrating traditional skills in weaving, pottery and other crafts. Folk arts and crafts are available at the museum gift shop.