20 Interesting Places of Bucharest – Part 2 of 3
Whether you have lived for all of your life here, or are just visiting our capital city, there are a few truly interesting places to see, places very different from the ones presented in all the brochures and tours guides. Here is a list of the top 20 most unusual places of Bucharest – Part 2/3.
And remember, you can see all of them in any of our Bucharest tours.
The drawings from the Stirbei – Berzei Intersection
The recent demolition from the Buzesti – Berzei Boulevards, meant to give the area of the city an upgrade in the traffic quality, left a lot of empty walls. For a few years now, these walls have been given a brand new look. So, if you want to admire the great work of some ad hoc graffiti artists like Alla Dalla, Irlo, Nego, Lux of Pisica (the Cat), take bus 368 and get off at Cismigiu.
The best way to admire them is by foot, so get to it ad you’ll surely get some great photos. It pleases us to say that most of the drawings were made totally legal, in a contest organized by the Bucharest City Hall. All of them were made in just 5 days and the entire area wishes to become a landmark for the pop art scene in Romania. There is no entrance fee and the only thing you have to bring with you is you camera. 🙂
The Politehnica University subway station
If the weather is not so good, than you’ll be surprised what you can discover in the underground of Bucharest. A simple trip via subway can reveal a real unusual treasure: fossils from the Cretaceous period. The only thing you need to do is to take the subway, get off and the Politehnica station and start taking pictures. The station was opened to the public in 1983 and is paved with large marble and granite slabs, containing fossils from over 180 mil year ago. To be more precise, anyone who descends in the station has a great chance of stepping on the remains of creatures back then. All of this is because the workers of the station scrambled to finish it on time. The focus was to extract the materials from the Apuseni Mountains, with the main focus being on color. Only later on, when they studied the slabs in detail, they found out that the stonea actually contained the remains of a prehistoric ocean. Who would have thought?
This small monastery was built in 1834 and is protected by the Holy Roman Emperors Constantin and Elena. In the beginning, the small shrine was built for the Darvari landlord family and their relatives, but soon became a place favored by the entire community. The land owners then decided that the place should be inhabited by 12 nuns, who were suppose to sing at services and take care of organizing them. In 1864, when the state confiscated all the wealth and lands of the Orthodox church, the 12 nuns were forced to leave the monastery and find refuge at Ciorogarla and Pasarea monasteries. The shrine was devastated in the communist days, when the interior paintings were completely stripped, so the place had to be closed down and renovated. In 1996 the renovation was finished and in 202 the living areas were also brought back to their original look. You should visit it, as the architecture, mural paintings and utter peace and tranquility cannot be equaled by any other place within Bucharest. They also have a website: www.schituldarvari.ro.
The steps and magnolias in Cotroceni Quarter
It is true, we only have a few stepped streets in Bucharest, but they are a rare and welcomed sight to what many locals call a monotonous layout of the city. It is true, they are in a very old and twisted neighborhood of Bucharest – Cotroceni, so a map is needed, as there is a big possibility you might get lost on the winding streets. But who knows, it might mean you’ll enjoy the little stair hunt :).
One needs to start form the Cotroceni quarter, on the little street linking Alexandru Vitzu and Grigore Romniceanu streets. Although poorly renovated in recent years, you cannot miss the charm of the area. If you visit the Romaniceanu Park (unique in Bucharest), you cannot miss the little street with the same same. In the old days, it was all covered with steps, but with the passing of time, they were eroded by the numerous passers by and now they look like waves, flowing down the street. Also make sure to see the steep, curving street of Nanu Muscel. Very charming, but not leading anywhere. Another great street is Xenofon street, where the stairs are at rooftop level, giving you a very good perspective of all the surrounding buildings.
And if you don’t really find all of these very appealing, then schedule your walk in April, when all the magnolias are in full blossom. The locals from the quarter have loved these trees for hundreds of years and the area has become famous for them. They were brought in in the time of A.I. Cuza by his ambassadors. It is a verry interesting tree: discovered only in the 1700’s, it has been living on earth for more than 95 mil years. This means that is have a pollinating system depending on earth dwelling bugs (bees were not around 95 mil years ago ).
MNAC Terrace and pub
there are a lot of voices blaming the landmark of Bucharest: The Palace of Parliament (former House of the People). With a gruesome history of destruction, death and tears, the building has left it’s mark on many of the inhabitants of Bucharest. But, right in the heart of it there is a very cool establishment, belonging to the Contemporary Art Museum Of Romania (MNAC). At the entrance fee of only 5 lei (about 1 euro), one can get to visit the museum and enjoy the pub (but not before the rigorous metal detector test – it is the parliament of Romania we’re talking about here). But it is all worth it, for the spectacular view it offers. Lots of visitors just start walking about, admiring the view out the large windows, to the despair of the waiters, who cannot find their clients anymore.
But on cannot miss the huge discrepancy between the old communist style of the palace and the new age design and materials of the museum. So maybe it’s better to stay inside, enjoy the good music and try one of the many books on offer (for free).