Bucharest Old Town
Old town is located in the center of Bucharest and is well known around the world for its nightlife and wide range of restaurants. During the day, you can enjoy an ice cream while exploring the cobblestone paved streets of what used to be little Paris. While discovering the streets full of history with unique architecture, you could have a delicious lunch or dinner in one of the numerous restaurants with different flavors suitable to anyone’s taste. In addition, there are so many pubs and clubs where you can grab a drink or more and feel the pulse of the city. The most famous place to dine is “Carul-cu-Bere” restaurant that serves the best traditional Romanian food and well-known house specialties. Another impressive aspect of this establishment is the fact that you can experience the ambience of its Neo-Gothic style buildingthat adds a cultural value to your dining experience.
Old town is home to some of the city’s most famous tourist attractions: Hanul Lui Manuc, an inn dating back to 1808 with an amazing wooden roof & large courtyard. Quite a few churches, but the oldest and most known is Stavropoleos Monastery opened in 1724. One of the most beautiful bookshops in the world is also here – Carturesti Carusel, take a stroll through the floors, take a picture & grab a book or some souvenirs.
Palace of Parliament
Palace of Parliament also known as The People’s Palace, it’s the second largest building in the world having 365,000 square meters. It is the house of the Romanian Parliament consisting of two houses, the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. It’s a very active place; it also has an interesting modern art museum very close to the entrance of the visitor’s area and it hosts events in the conference centre.
This record-breaking place came from the fevered mind of one megalomaniac man – Nicolai Ceausescu, the second and last Romanian Communist dictator. The palace is truly worth the visit, which is only available with a guide – we wouldn’t want you to get lost in this huge place! The sheer magnitude and richness of the marble, woodwork and hours of labor that were put into building this magnificent structure will leave you at awe. There are many myths and legends about the building, some are pure exaggeration, but others are true despite sounding like an idea from a brilliant movie-director’s mind. One fact is, there’s a completely underground escape road from the palace to the airport! But the dictator never got the chance to use it… And the rest of the story will be discovered on the guided tour.
Two Must See Castels
The first is the amazing Peleș Castle near Sinaia. Approximately 120 km from Bucharest, it is a masterpiece of neo-renaissance architecture in the Carpathian Mountains. It was constructed for King Carol The 1st in the 18th century, and it remained the summer residence of the royal family until 1947. It was then declared a museum in 1953 but was closed to the public between 1975-1990, only to be reopened as a heritage site.
The palace itself is stunning, and inside you will see collections of paintings, carpets, armour, beautiful tapestries and stained windows that will surely offer you a proper insight of how it was to live as a king!
The second must see castle is Bran Castle close to Brasov. Over the centuries it housed Saxons and Hungarian Kings, due to its strategic location overlooking the valley. After a bit of modernisation and renovating, the castle became the favourite home of the beloved Queen Marie in 1920. It opened as a museum in 1956 and is now privately owned, after returning to the heirs of the Habsburg family.
Today in addition to touring the rooms and terraces there is also an underground time tunnel with an interactive multimedia exhibition that is warmly recommended for all ages.
The castle is known as “Dracula’s Castle” even though it has nothing to do with Bram Stokers’ novel “Dracula”. This character is often confused with Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad Dracul. He was a Walachian Prince, and his castle is in ruins today. The fictional character Dracula lived in a castle in Transylvania, but its description in the book is remarkably similar to how Bran Castle looks.
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