Bucharest is the capital city and the commercial centre of Romania. It is located in the southeast of the country, on the banks of the Dâmbovita River. The city was first mentioned in 1459 and became the capital of Romania in 1862. Since then, it has gone through a variety of changes and has become the centre of the Romanian mass media, cultural and arts scene. Its eclectic architecture, which is a mix of historical, Ceausescu-era and modern, also reflects the city's varied history. In the period between the two World Wars, the city's elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite gave Bucharest the nickname of the "Paris of the East" or "Little Paris". Although much of the historic center was damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes and Nicolae Ceausescu's program of systematization, much survived, and in our days the city is experiencing an economic and cultural boom.
|The Romanian Athenaeum|
|Arcul de Triumf|
Traditional Romanian culture continues to have a major influence in arts such as theatre, film and music. Bucharest has two internationally-renowned ethnographic museums, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the open-air Village Museum. The Village Museum, in Herăstrău Park, contains 272 authentic buildings and peasant farms from all over Romania. The Museum of the Romanian Peasant was declared the European Museum of the Year in 1996, and displays a rich collection of textiles (especially costumes), icons, ceramics, and other artifacts of Romanian peasant life.
The Museum of Romanian History is another important museum in Bucharest, containing a collection of artefacts detailing Romanian history and culture from the prehistoric times, Dacian era, medieval times and the modern era.
The city centre has also retained architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly the interwar period, which is often seen as the "golden age" of Bucharest architecture. During this time, the city grew significantly in size and wealth therefore seeking to emulate other large European capitals such as Paris. Much of the architecture of the time belongs to a remarkably strong Modern (rationalist) Architecture current, led by Horia Creanga and Marcel Iancu, which managed to literally change the face of the city.
|The Palace of the Parliament|
- The Palace of the Parliament. A multi-purpose building containing both chambers of the Romanian Parliament. According to theWorld Records Academy, the Palace is the world's largest civilian building, most expensive administrative building, and heaviest building. The Palace was designed and nearly completed by the Ceaușescu regime as the seat of political and administrative power. Nicolae Ceaușescu named it the House of the Republic, but most Romanians call it the People's House. Built on the site of a hill which was largely razed for this megaproject, the building anchors the west end of Bulevardul Unirii and Centrul Civic. Constructing the Palace and Centrul Civic required demolishing much of Bucharest's historic district, including 19 Orthodox Christian churches, six Jewish synagogues, three Protestant churches (plus eight relocated churches), and 30,000 residences. Construction began in 1983; the cornerstone was laid on 25 June 1984. While the building was intended to house all four major state institutions (in a similar manner to the UK Houses of Parliament), Ceausescu intended the palace to be his personal residence and the government was to operate within it.
- Arcul de Triumf is a triumphal arch located in the northern part of Bucharest, on the Kiseleff Road. The first, wooden, triumphal arch was built hurriedly, after Romania gained its independence in 1878, so that the victorious troops could march under it. Another temporary arch was built on the same site, in 1922, after World War I, which was demolished in 1935 to make way for the current triumphal arch, which was inaugurated in September 1936. The current arch has a height of 27 metres and was built after the plans of the architect Petre Antonescu. It has as its foundation a 25 x 11.50 metres rectangle. The sculptures with which the facades are decorated were created by famous Romanian sculptors such as Ion Jalea and Dimitrie Paciurea. Nowadays, military parades are held beneath the arch each 1 December, with the occasion of Romania's national day.
- The Memorial of Rebirth. Is a memorial that commemorates the struggles and victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which overthrew Communism. The memorial complex was inaugurated in August 2005 in Revolution Square, where Romania's Communist-era dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, was publicly overthrown in December 1989. The memorial, designed by Alexandru Ghilduş, features as its centrepiece a 25-metre-high marble pillar reaching up to the sky, upon which a metal "crown" is placed. The pillar is surrounded by a 600 m² plaza covered by marble and granite. Its initial name was "Eternal Glory to the Heroes and the Romanian Revolution of December 1989" . The memorial's name alludes to Romania's rebirth as a nation after the collapse of Communism.
- The Romanian Athenaeum. Is a significant landmark of the Romanian capital city. Opened in 1888, the ornate, domed, circular building is the city's main concert hall and home of the"George Enescu" Philharmonic and of the George Enescu annual international music festival. In 1865, cultural and scientific personalities such as Constantin Esarcu, V. A. Urechia, and Nicolae Creţulescu founded the Romanian Atheneum Cultural Society. To serve its purposes, the Romanian Athenaeum, a building dedicated to art and science, would be erected in Bucharest. The building was designed by the French architect Albert Galleron, built on a property that had belonged to the Văcărescu family and inaugurated in 1888, although work continued until 1897. A portion of the construction funds was raised by public subscription in a 28-year long effort, of which the slogan is still remembered today: "Donate one Leu for the Ateneu!"
The National Museum of Art of Romania