The old town area, otherwise known as Lipscani, is a total mess, yet fascinating. Many of the streets were ripped up years ago; then due to a dispute were left ripped up rather than repaved. Some are currently being repaired. There are wonderful buildings, beautifully restored, right next to derelict buildings, falling down where they stand. The whole area is covered in restaurants and bars and despite everything is a great place for a drink or a meal. Highlights include the Old Court (Curtea Veche) once the palace of Vlad Tepes aka Dracula, the Old Court Church, the Hanul Lui Manuc - a former inn. From the outside this looks derelict and a mess. From the inside it is a lovely posh restaurant/hotel. There are also several churches such as the Russian Church and Stavropoleos Church. There are many beautiful bank buildings. You will also find the famous Caru cu Bere (beer cart restaurant) here. Well worth a stroll, just watch out for the bulldozers!
Lipscani street and the Old Town is a fun and lively area of Bucharest. Fun artsy shops are tucked away into random corners and modern cafes in old buildings. Sadly many of the prettiest, older buildings are crumbling but it is still a beautiful and cobble stoned part of Bucharest to explore.
The building that now houses the National Library of Romania served as the Palace of Stock Exchange before 1955. It was built in French Neoclassical style, between the years 1906 and 1911, after plans by architect Stefan Burcus. It lies at the corner of Smârdan and Doamnei Street, across from the National Bank building.
Vilacrosse and Macca are the two wings of a U-shaped pedestrian passage roofed with glass and wrought iron and lined with shops, cafes and restaurants. It’s one of the popular places for an outing with friends in Bucharest, the advantage being that you’re sheltered in case of rain but you’re still “outside”, in natural light. In this place you’ll find something for everyone: there’s are a couple of Egyptian cafes were you can puff at narghiles, a rock themed Blues Cafe with pretty good music, a Romanian restaurant, a French Bistro, even a Chinese restaurant. I’ve spend hours here sipping wine or drinking coffe and chatting with friends. It’s not easy to find an empty table on a summer evening. The passage was built in 1890-1891 after a design by architect Felix Xenopol. This elegant arched structure was probably intended to look French since this was back at the end of the 19th century when they aspired to transform Bucharest into “little Paris”, but the feel today is more Oriental than Western. During the communist period the passage was renamed Jewellery Passage (Pasajul Bijuteria) because the city’s largest jewelery store was located close by. It’s original name was restored in 1990. Entrance from Calea Victoriei across the police headquarters and from E. Carada Street.
Bucharest’s Old Town, also called Lipscani area or Historical Centre, is what was left after the former communist dictator Ceausescu finished the work done by the allied bombings of 1944. And what’s left – around 300 historical houses, a few churches and the remains of the old palace and court of Vlad Tepes (1459-1462) – is unfortunately for the most part managed by Bucharest’s City Hall which has spent years delaying the most needed restorations. Old Town was Bucharest’s merchant area starting with the middle of the 17th century until the middle of the 20th century when the owners were arrested by the communists and the houses were handed down to people who didn't took care of them so they slowly degraded and turned to ruin. Nowadays some of the owners or their heirs came back to reclaim the properties but some are still disputed and degrading still. Some of the buildings have been restored and are now functioning as restaurants, cafes or shops. In 2006 the City Hall chose a Spanish company to start rebuilding the infrastructure in the Historical Center but the project was stopped due to a quarrel between the City Hall and the contractor. A few streets are already restored but most of them are pretty difficult to walk as they were dug up for the planned street repairs. I’ve heard many people say that this area has great potential and it could transform into something unique in Europe. It seems like the City Hall already managed to achieved this. It is indeed unique to walk along rudimentary wooden planks in the center of an European capital. However, despite the City Hall's efforts, the area has flourished in the last two years when it saw an explosion of new cafes, bars, clubs and restaurants (especially on Smârdan and Franceză Streets) becoming a giant outdoor dining area (spring to fall) and the favorite meeting place in Bucharest.
Make a visit to the Old Town and walk around. It is very nice here even if they need to fix the houses. It will be very nice here and there is a project which says it shall be finished after 2012. I hope they can do it, because there are so many wunderful huses and streets here. I would like to come back and sit here and drink beer during the summer.
Strada Lipscani is a pedestrianised shopping and entertainment street in the heart of Bucharest city centre. It is located a short walk north of Piata Unirii and connects Bulevardul I C Bratianu with Calea Victoriei.
My friend and I spent a fair portion of our time in that area during our visit to the city in March 2008. We weren't interested in the shops (there are a few boutiques, clothes shops, sports shops, travel agents and other typical high street stores, but nothing that looked particularly impressive), but we found that this was a great place to find somewhere to eat or to enjoy a few beers in one of the pubs or cafes.
Compared to pedestrianised shopping streets in other European capitals, I must say that Strada Lipscani looked a bit tired and in need of a lick of paint at the time of our visit. One of the buildings on Lipscani is practically derelict (and actually houses a novelty bar where you can enjoy a drink amongst the rubble), while other buildings are in need of repair.
In fact, there was a lot of ongoing construction around Lipscani when we visited, so it will be interesting to see how it looks after the facelift is complete.
Running parallel to Lipscani, you will find the small street of Strada Gabroveni, which contains the popular Offside Pub sports bar and the bustling Fire Club bar and nightclub.
At the end of Lipscani closest to Calea Victoriei, you will find an interesting covered passage (Pasaj Macca), which runs parallel to Lipscani and which houses some excellent outdoor cafes and a Chinese restaurant.
A major pedestrianised shopping and dining street in the heart of Bucharest city centre.
Lipscani Street is one of the oldest streets in Bucharest. Its original name was "Ulita Mare" or "The Big Street". The street name was changed to Lipscani Street in the middle of the XVIII-th century, after the German town Leipzig who was called "Lipsca" by Romanians.
Lispcani Street is still one of the major commercial streets in Bucharest. Make sure you spend some time strolling on this street and wear comfortable shoes (save your high heels shoes for some other occasion). You will be rewarded with views of the Old Bucharest (old buildings, churches, etc).
Host of one of the four still surviving inns in the city, Gabroveni Street is yet another former merchant street. Then go South along the Pasaj Francez and continue along the Covaci and Soarelui Street...
The Old Quarter hosts several narrow streets that are worth walking around without a guidebook. Try to leave the "must sees" aside and look at the buildings around you. You might see things you would not otherwise.
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