Music and Culture in A City Reborn
Bucharest has undergone some major reconstruction and its finding its feet again; it’s an increasingly accessible and interesting place to visit. Make Bucharest your bargain holiday and check out the cheap flights available though the major airlines.
It was once known as Little Paris – it had many lush boulevards and open spaces, and even now, you can still find evidence of The Garden City, with many spaces being reclaimed and restored. It’s a great base to explore both the city and the countryside and in September there is the George Enescu Biennial Music Festival to look forward to. It’s a major event in the country’s calendar. For the best part of the month, venues across the region are packed out with events and concerts. Food and accommodation are good value – and you can get a ticket to a fabulous concert for as little as £2.00 (!). Music lovers are in for a treat!
Exploring the City
It’s easy to get about in Bucharest. There is an underground train service, with a good network, so once you have chosen where to visit, it’s not difficult to get there. There are huge roads, on the grid system so, a simple map should be sufficient for getting about above ground.
What To See
Parcul Cismigiu (Cismigiu Park) is a favourite with local people for an evening summer stroll. Bulevardul (Boulevard) Magheru is parallel to Calea Victoriei and you’ll find cinemas and hotels here. The city has a mixture of styles. Everything from the remains of the Castle built by Prince Vlad Tepes, the founder of the City and the inspiration for Count Dracula! There are orthodox churches, mansions and the giant Parliament House, which has 6,000 rooms – one of the world’s largest buildings.
Bucharest’s museums are a delight; there is the open-air Muzeul Satului (Village Museum) in the Herastrau Park near the Arcul de Triumf. You’ll see craft and art, utensils and building from all over Romania, including examples of wooden churches from Maramures.
Try out the National Museum of Art, once the Royal Palace; the National History Museum on Calea Victoriei, which is home to the silverware of the Treasury; and Curtea Veche with its ornate 16th century church.
The city has reclaimed its artistic flair, and there are great opportunities to enjoy a huge range of musical offerings, everything from Jazz to the Classics, and of course, with the George Enescu Music Festival coming up, there will be hundreds of concerts and events to choose from – many of them take place in the Old Opera House, but they happen through out the countryside too. Opera and the classics are widely available, so for music lovers it’s a real treat to be in Bucharest in September.
Treats to Take Home
There are Romanian Department Stores around Piata Unirii and on the main boulevards. Try out the bazaar district close to Curtea Veche, where the tiny streets are thronging with small traders. Look out for local pottery, glassware, linen and woodcarvings. For something more unusual, try out the Talcioc Flea Market, held on Sunday mornings along the banks of the Dambovita River. Keep your wits about you – its busy, and its easy to get distracted!
The capital’s restaurants are improving all the time – Romanians love grilled meats, so food tends to be of the hearty, no frills type, but their desserts are ornate and very rich. Try the local Romanian wines with your meals and finish off with a Plum Brandy (Tuica). Prices are reasonable and there is usually a lively and easy going atmosphere in the bars and restaurants. Romanians are generally warm-hearted people who like to enjoy themselves and they want you to have a good time too, so throw yourself into the fun if there’s singing and dancing on offer.
Bucharest is surrounded by forests and lakes and ancient Palaces and Monasteries pepper the landscape. The Snagov Monastery built around 1408, is surrounded by a lake, and you can take a boat out for a gentle canoe-ing experience. Dip into Romanians past life with a visit to Mogosoaia Palace, some 14 km (9 miles) north of Lake Mogosoaia.
Bucharest has weathered many changes and challenges in recent decades, so to see this city on its way up again is a real thrill – check out the flights available with Easy Jet or British Airways and experience the fun and excitement of a city reborn.