Probably too late now, but the best mittiei are in Piata Matache, about 5 mins walk from Gara de Nord - Leave the station by the main entrance - walk along the left side of the Park in front of the Ministry of Transport - You'll find a short street on your left between two apartment blocks. walk along the street until you hit the school wall, turn right and then left and then right to enter the market. There is a small outside cafe with yellow Bergenbier signs and umbrellas outside. You will find good mittiei, vin fiert or draft beer as you wish. Also sausages, chicken, macarel and whitebait. Even during the recent heavy snow, they were serving good food. All food is cooked on a charcoal barbeque.
if you are the adventurous type, check out a company called roving romania. its run by an englishman called colin who acts as your guide, translator and driver (if you choose 4x4). he can offer photo safaris, find you some of the country's elusive wildlife and take you on walking tours thru the mountains or you can rattle your way to the most inaccessible but most cultural villages in romania in his land rover. but book ahead! hes very popular.
This is where my grandma "Ana" lives. It is situated in the southwest suburbs of Bucharest and it is quiet a poor large district but it is an area with lots of trees and green. The quarter looks tidy and coloured flowers are all over the place, furthermore it brings back memories of my childhood..
This area is one of the few examples of successful urban planning during Communist Romania, despite it being built in the Eastern European tradition of "dormitory neighborhoods". This success is mostly due to the unique approach of the architects and planners to the concept of high-density urban living, an approach that was not used elsewhere in Bucharest.
Mogosoaia Palace is my favourite getaway from Bucharest's life during the weekend, when I only have a few hours off. A walk along the lake and in theforest, some badminton with friends, a coffee on the terrace and I'm ready for a new week.
Built between 1698 and 1702 at the orders of Constantin Brancoveanu, the princely residence of Mogosoaia now hosts the Aula Tradition Museum. It's not spectacular, but rather tells the story to its visitor.
Though a city with no true centre, the Lipscani district can be identified as the true heart of Bucharest. Once the political and economic centre of Bucharest, today Lipscani is the most lively and charming area of the city, most representative of the transitions the city is currently undergoing and most representative of its potential. In Lipscani, the true character of Bucharest is revealed through the area's overt contrasts of old and new, east and west, developed and decrepit, chic and shambling, brassy and bohemian.
Barbu Stirbei, voyevode of Wallachia (1849-1853, 1854-1856), inherited a piece of land in Buftea. Alexandru Stirbei, his son, inherited the land in Buftea and built a palace there in 1864. The palace was set in Gothic style and the interiors contain a rich decoration, with vast carved wood sections, everything being set around the interior oak carved staircase and bearing the family blazon. The painted or sculpted wooden ceilings, the Neo-Gothic blazons above the doors, as well as the chimneys make the image complete about the interiors. As a consequence of his wife’s death, Alexandru Stirbei built a monumental chapel in the park between 1885 and 1890. In 1895 however Alexandru died and his oldest son, Barbu Stirbei, inherited the domain in Buftea. A passionate agriculturist, he founded a huge farm near the palace and started to buy plots of land in the neighborhood, becoming one of the richest men in the country. During WW1 the palace sheltered Queen Maria and then it was bombed by German planes. Both Stirbei family and Queen Maria retreated in Iasi, and the palace was robbed by the German army, which also took it over, with the German Military Commandment settling in Buftea in January 1917. On March 5, 1918, the peace agreement with Austro – Hungary and Germany was signed in the palace. Time passed by, the German troops were defeated, the surrender peace in Buftea was cancelled and Stirbei family could return to their palace, restoring it. The palace and all other belongings in Buftea were confiscated by the communist government after 1946. The palace was restored in 1959, meant as a diplomatic residence and it hosted - for instance - Nikita Hrushciov, the leader of the U.S.S.R., when he attended the 3rd congress of the Romanian Workers’ Party in 1960. Once again restored after the earthquake in 1977, the palace was turned, after 1990, into a hotel and restaurant. In 2006 the palace was given back (by the government) to the family that had built it, and it was closed to public, as the family wanted to sell it.
Parcul Nicolae Iorga is a small park at the top end of Calea Victoriei. On one side of it is a beautiful Romanian Orthodox church. At the centre of the park is a statue of Romania's greatest poet, Nichita Stănescu (1908-1982), who was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. His most famous works are: O viziune a sentimentelor/A Vision of Feelings, Dreptul la timp/The Right to Time, 11 Elegii/11 Elegies, Necuvintele/The Nonwords, Un pământ numit România/A Land Called Romania, Epica Magna/ Great Epic, Opere imperfecte/Imperfect Works and Noduri şi semne/Knots and Marks.
Surely the oddest building we saw in Bucharest is the former Securitate building, a glass and steel structure plopped on top of the ruin of an old brick building that was destroyed by protesters in 2003.
Located near the Piata Revolutiei on Strada Dobrescu
Head to Lipscani (the old district between Piata Unirii and Universitatii) to discover this hidden joy. My friend and I accidentally stumbled upon this area having read a brief paragraph on it in a traveller's magazine. We spent maybe an hour exploring the cluttered yet enchanting shops which are clustered in this district where you can find everything from Communist-era relics to costume jewellery to old Romanian treasures. Small, dusty with hushed tones--these shops gave us a glimpse into the history and culture of Romania outside of the Eastern Block-esque suburbs.
On an island in the middle of Snagov Lake stands Snagov Monastery, the reputed burial place of Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad Dracula. Boatmen ferry you across for a negotiated price. Just 40 km (25 mi) north of Bucharest, the village of Snagov is a popular retreat for city dwellers.
I dicovered "Meetup" when I was in London. Basically "Meetup" is a group of people with simila interests that meet once a months or once every 2 weeks in the major world-capitals, Bucharest included. I attended the Bucharest Meetup only twice so far, but met very interesting and friendly people there, mainly Expats living abroad. So if you are a foreigner and want to mee other Expats, this is the place to be!
Mogosaia Palace is out of Bucharest (around 15 kilometers). It was built by order of Constantin Brancoveanu, ruller of Wallachia. The palace is a masterpiece of the Brancovenesc architectural style with arcades, columns and balconies of traditional romanian origin. Today the palace seat a museum "Muzeul Brancovenesc".
See also my travelogue about Mogosaia Palace.
Radu Voda Monastery – 1568
Within a 100m from Unirii square, hidden behind the concrete blocks which testify for the communist times, lies another orthodox monastery: Radu Voda, built in 1568. The monastery is isolated from its surroundings by a brick wall and a thick layer of trees. Entrance is opposite the oldest church in Bucharest (Bucur the Shepherd).
The church was built by the great grandson of Vlad Tepes (a.k.a. Dracula, as per Bram Stoker). The site also hosts a theology school. Don’t miss the paintings inside the church, the mosaique from the candles lighting site, the surrounding park, the tower and the ancient graves behind the tower.
How to get there: Radu Voda street south of Unirii square
when you walk on Unirii bulevard to take a picture to the Ceausescu's megalomaniac house of the people, at the end of the bulevard turn left, walk behind the blocks of flats, and within 100m you'll reach a pictoresque monastery called Antim. Usually, there'll be some beggars in front of it, but don't bother, just enter the courtyard and you'll fell like a trip in time.
Going there will give you an idea about how the area used to be before Ceausescu demolished everything to build its' palace and the "civic centre" surrounding it. Before demolitions, the area was occupied by narrow streets, private villas and hotels, churches, monasteries...... Now all that's left of that good_old_times_flavour is hidden behind concrete blocks of flats from communist era, while some houses are in ruins, after their owners have been expropriated and left the country in the early to mid 80's. After the owners abandoned their homes, gipsies moved in, and you'll find some still living there.....
Biserica Bucur Ciobanul (the Church of Bucur the Shepherd)
The name of BUCUResti comes from a shepherd named Bucur, who decided to settle down in these places. Tradition in medieval times required a church to be built in each settlement, so among the first things he built around 1300 was a small wooden church, on this very place. In 1416, the wooden church made room for a brick one, which you can see today.
The oldest church in Bucharest is situated near Unirii square – just follow the river (Dambovita) towards the construction site of the national library (opposite to Ceausescu’s Palace) and within 300m you’ll see a tall brick wall on you right. The church in on the top of the small courtyard surrounded by the brick wall.
While there, don’t miss the monastery of Radu Voda, opposite the road