Located in the south of the country, on the Romanian-Plain, Bucharest is Romania’s capital, as well as its economic and cultural centre.
The inner-city today is a mixture of buildings, reflecting the Secessionist, Communist and Modern architectural forms – its appearance and architecture reflecting two historic periods.
The first is the pre-WWII period, when Bucharest was referred to as “Eastern Europe’s Paris” because of its wide avenues, large parks, and because of the houses and public buildings – built in a 19th – early 20th century style – which characterised its city-centre.
The second period corresponds to the rule of the former dictator Nicholas Ceausescu, who, amongst other things, was responsible for the development of the imperial-scale government-quarter.
Bucharest’s most dominant building, the Parliamentary Palace, is a reflection of Ceausescu’s megalomania. The Palace, built during the 1980’s, has 13 storeys and 3100 rooms – making it the world’s second-largest, and Europe’s largest, building; currently it is the seat of Parliament.
The Arc de Triomphe, erected in 1935, was modelled on the triumphal arch in Paris.
The Orthodox Stavropoleos Church and its former monastery were built in the 18th century; inside, its frescos and gilded iconostas, deserve attention.
The Muezul Satului (Village Museum), located on the road to the airport, is one of the most interesting museums in Bucharest – it exhibits masterpieces of village architecture from all regions of Romania.