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About Bucharest

Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is the largest city and the main political, administrative, economic, scientific and cultural center of the country. Bucharest, a capital which was certified more than 500 years ago, is nowadays animated by a population of almost two million inhabitants. It lies in the middle of the Romanian plain, on the banks of the Dâmbovița, a small northern tributary of the River Argeș.

The first written mention of the name Bucharest dates from 1459, when it was recorded in a document signed by Vlad the Impaler, the ruler of Wallachia. Vlad the Impaler built the fortress of Bucharest – the first of many fortifications – with the aim of holding back the Turks who threatened the existence of the Wallachian state.

Today’s Bucharest is characterized by a number of squares from which streets and boulevards radiate. The two main streets, which run roughly parallel through the city center, are Calea Victoriei and Magheru Boulevard. Unirii Boulevard, previously called, under communism, “Boulevard of the Victory of Socialism,” was greatly expanded under the rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu and was bordered by the Palace of Parliament, now knwon as the second-largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon.

The Polytechnical University of Bucharest  (founded 1818) and the University of Bucharest (founded 1864) are the most important higher education institutions in the city. There are also several academies in the arts and sciences, as well as numerous research institutes. Bucharest has three central libraries (the Library of the Romanian Academy, the National Library, and the Central University Library) as well as a large number of public library units.

Places to see 

The Old Town of Bucharest is one of the city’s oldest settlements, with structures dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. It has served as the seat of Romanian princes, a trade center, a place of worship, and a crossroads for travelers over the centuries. Some must visit places here are Curtea Veche, an open-air museum built on the site of the Old Princely Court, which was once home to Vlad the Impaler, and the National Museum of Romanian History, which houses fine collections of religious and royal treasures.

Calea Victoriei is one of Bucharest’s most major streets, stretching from Piața Naţiunile Unite to Piața Victoriei. Calea Victoriei was once the most popular promenade place of the country’s nobility. The aristocratic class used to gather here for the well-known banquets hosted in the Cantacuzino Palace. Also, artists, writers, journalists, politicians, or athletes preferred to drink their coffee at the Capșa Restaurant.

A symbol of national culture, the Romanian Athenaeum is located in the heart of the city, at the George Enescu Square. The building was constructed between 1886 and 1888 in a neoclassical and eclectic style, according to the plans of French architect Albert Galleron. It now serves as the home of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic.

With an area of 18.2 ha, Bucharest’s Botanical Garden “Dimitrie Brandza” manages a large plant collection. It is organized in specific external sectors such as Decorative, Rare Plants, Flora of Dobrogea, Flora of Asia, Useful Plants and internal sectors like Greenhouses, Herbarium, Library, Center for Ecological Education.

The National Museum of Art of Romania has two spectacular permanent galleries such as the National Gallery (Romanian medieval and modern art) and the European Art Gallery, hosted in the palace’s side wings.