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"The Little Paris of the East"


The Romanian Atheneum, a symbol of the city as far back as its 1888 inauguration.

The first concert of the Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra took place on March 5, 1889, under the Atheneum's dome.


The name of the city


Romanian legend has it that the city of Bucharest was founded by a shepherd named "Bucur", whose name means "joy". His flute playing reportedly dazzled the locals and his hearty wine from nearby vineyards endeared him to the local traders, who gave his name to the place.



The town was first mentioned in a document in 1495 as residence of the ruler of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler, known also as Dracula). But settlement has an older history, going back to the 14th century. The founding of Bucharest is traditionally ascribed to a peasant named Bucur, but no record of the city exists prior to the late Middle Ages. Attacks by Tatars and Turks restricted its growth before the 17th century. Between the 17th - 19th (begining with 1698) centuries it was the capital of Wallachia and in 1862 it became the capital of Romania. The population increased in number from 122,000 (1859) to 639,000 (1930) to 1,452,000 (1966). The town held a dominant position in the national context similarly to the position held by Budapest in Hungary, Vienna in Austria or Paris in France.

Heavy fighting near the Palace Square during the revolution that ousted the Ceausescu regime in December 1989 caused damage to prominent landmarks, including the Royal Palace.

Bucharest architecture

You will be intrigued by the city's eclectic mixture of architecture, from Curtea Veche, the remains of Prince Vlad Tepes 15th century palace - he was the city's founder as well as the inspiration for "Dracula", - to Orthodox Churches, Second Empire mansions, the stolid Stalinist architecture of the communist years and the colossal 6,000 room Parliament House, the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon.

Bucharest's museums are a destination in themselves, especially the open-air Muzeul Satului (Village Museum) in the Herastrau Park near the Arcul de Triumf. Here you will find village architecture and crafts from all over Romania, including wooden churches from Maramures.

Bucharest civic center

The "Civic Center" is a portion of Bucharest which was completely rebuilt as part of the scheme of systematization under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Bucharest Civic Center includes numerous government offices and apartments, the latter being roughly equal in number to the housing units destroyed for its construction. The apartments were originally intended to house Romania's communist elite, but the completed complex is a rather bland and unappealing neighborhood, certainly not a preferred residence for the city's new capitalist elite, with the possible exception of buildings that look out on the now-bustling Unirea Square, where the Civic Center bisects the Dāmbovita River, which is channelled underground past the Square.

University square

University Square is the place in central Bucharest where students were shot dead during Romania's 1989 anti-communist revolution.

Victory road

Calea Victoriei (Avenue of Victory), on the site of the wood-paved Podul Mogosoaiei, has been Bucharest's most fashionable street since boyars first built their residences along it.

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