Bucharest Mall is a modern shopping mall that opened in 1999. The building in which it is located has a bit of history. It is part of a series built all around the city at Ceausescu order. They were intended to be used as produce markets but I believe only one or two opened before December 1989 which was the end of Ceausescu's era. The rest have been left incomplete and abandoned for a long time. Their official name was "Complex agro-alimentar" but they were known to everyone as "hunger circuses" (the reason being that their dome-shaped design looked a lot like Bucharest's circus building; and hunger because people didn't really expect to find any food there despite the official word). Anyway, the past is in the past :-) the building got a good facial and today it looks a lot like a US mall. It has over 70 (expensive) stores spread over 4 levels, a large supermarket, a food court with over 20 restaurants, a multiplex cinema, a video games arcade and ... I can't think of something else to enumerate but it has almost everything one needs. It even has a big parking lot, a true rarity in Bucharest.
Most times when travelling, we pop into a bookshop, ask for a map or album of pictures, we are given one, we pay, we are given a receipt, then we are gone and so is the place we have just entered and exited. Well, as always in this life, there are places which give more than they take. Carturesti is one of them. A teahouse more than a bookshop and a bookshop consisting of more than the books sold there. An atmosphere of the Bucharest d'antan well kept however in a realistic and obvious shape. A visible structure, a good bunch of books that will show you that, despite greyness, Romania has got good architects, despite some quasiliterate shoemakers, there are good craftsmen, despite the 'manele' there are fine traditional Bukovinean, Moldavian, Wallachian, Transylvanian, Maramuresan, Dobrudgean or Gipsy songs. An experience and, eventually, a challenging discovery. Allow it an hour of a lifetime.
What to buy: A book of that heterogenous Romanian cuisine, they have got a couple in English. A book about the Razing of Romania's Past, so that you look with a more apprehensive eye to the rusty package of cities like Bucharest, Bacau or Miercurea Ciuc. A synthesis (or analysis, depending on your profile) of the Balkanic scent or contradictory world in this area; try Andrei Plesu, Horia Roman Patapievici or Countess Waldeck, even though you might only find the latter in English. An album of Bucharest Modernism. A book about Byzance and the Byzantine legacy written by Razvan Theodorescu. A Japanese green tea with some green wallnuts 'dulceata', together with the stillness that comes with them.
What to pay: As previously said, an hour. One does not have to buy things. But if money is an issue, then full stop.
Shoping in : Bucharest Mall, Mario Plaza Mall, Unirea Shoping Center, Metro, Sellgros
Carfour.. Gima Supermarket, Vegetables Markets, and in many other places by request
By request you will have the opportunity to buy kosher or hallal meal.
What to buy: everything you need or want
What to pay: In Metro is a good price and you could get back
VAT, but its not allowed to buy only one pices . In all these 3 places its required for a special Id but no worry, our guides will arrange for that.
If you want to buy handicrafts made in Romania look for the "Artizanat" stores which can be found throughout the city. There are quite a few of them in downtown Bucharest. These stores sell local artifacts like embroidered clothing and decorations, hand painted Easter eggs, pottery, carpets, carvings, dolls, masks, and other items. Other popular places to buy Romanian goods are the shops located in the Peasant Museum and the Village Museum. Many of the artifacts are top quality and inexpensive.
Unirea Shopping Center is a former communist department store which was transformed into the largest shopping area in Bucharest. Today it houses over 200 shops and boutiques in which you can buy pretty much everything you can think off (clothes, shoes, food, souvenirs, home stuff etc.). You can also find places to eat inside the shopping center. It doesn't look very appealing from the outside - I've read somewhere that they're planning on a new facade - but it's a good place to go shopping.
I could offr you a tour of most interesting artgalleries of Bucharest. I fell good & relaxed when I visit this kind of shop .
If I buy something what I really like I feel perfect :)
In Bucharest there are more museums per inhabitant then in any other capital city.In this tour you wil admire the romanian paiting exposed in Museum of Art Collections located in the Romanit Palace. It was heavily decorated with stucco and bas relief. Furniture was made of mahogany and ebony laced with mother of pearl; the chairs covered with Cordoba leather and the chandeliers were made of Venetian crystal
What to buy: porcelans, clocks, lamps , sculptures, oil-paintings, aqarellas, bijous, jewels, silver coins, stamps, statues, crystals,furniture phones, etc
What to pay: depends on vale and negociations:)
A lot of antiques stores seem to have flourished in the historic quarter in particular on Lipscani and Covaci Streets (or maybe they were there for a long time but I didn't notice them). Since I'm not into buying antiques I can't say if the prices are high or not, you'll have to judge for yourself. From what I saw you can find almost any type of artwork like paintings, sculptures, icons, etching, engraving, jewelry, tapestries, carpets etc. A nice place to visit, even if you don't plan on buying something is Hanul cu Tei Complex, a former caravanserai built in 1833. Nowadays a rectangular courtyard lined with antiques shops the place retains some of the 19C atmosphere. The courtyard links the Lipscani and Blanari Streets. They also hold auctions here. Even if you walk away with nothing, this is still an interesting experience.
For interesting religious books and CDs with excellent religious music (especially the choirs), as well as for some typical artifacts, I would recommend the Librarie Bizantina on Regina Maria Avenue, on the crossing with 11 Iunie Street (close to Unirea Square). For religious books, Vasiliada (on Bratianu Avenue, across the street from Sfantu Gheorghe Nou Church, as well as on Calea Victoriei, across the street from Cantacuzino Palace), or Libraria Sophia (on Bibescu Voda Street just off Unirea Square) are recommended. Many of the churches in the city centre also have small stands selling artifacts and great religious music CDs. There is also a fine religious items store on 45 Calea Victoriei, next to Cretulescu Church and the Royal Palace.
We always stop by grocery stores when traveling, to buy beverages such as bottled water or soft drinks which are cheaper than other places, to check out local products or grab food to make a picnic lunch.
There are many small grocery stores throughout Bucharest but there is now a huge Universall grocery store right behind the Unirea shopping mall (not the smaller grocery store located below the mall). It's two floors of grocery store, connected with a moving walkway that you can take a grocery cart on, with a huge variety of products. We stocked up on beverages and snacks for our flight home and Kinder Eggs for the nieces and nephews since we can't buy them here (that garnered a few giggles from some young women on the metro).
If you don't bring your own bag, you have to buy one from the cashier and bag your own groceries although at this one they had some really flimsy bags which were free.
Using a credit card here caused a bit of confusion, I don't have a PIN for it so the cashier didn't know what to do. It appears that debit cards are more common in Romania.
What to buy:
Romania – O perspectiva aeriana by Stefan Petrescu. Publisher: Uranus
A book with almost 200 pages of beautiful aerial pictures of Romania, plus another 35 pages of short explanations of what the pictures are about. The text is in three languages: Romanian, English and German. It can be a nice reminder of places you have seen, and also an inspiration for another future trip to Romania, because many of those pictures will make you think ‘I want to go there’.
Stefan Petrescu, the author of the pictures, has a long career as photo-reporter for Romanian and German newspapers and magazines and has been also a TV image operator in Romania and Germany.
What to pay: It costs the equivalent of about 30 US dollars.