With so many fun and educational things to do around your Bucharest Airport Hotel, why not get out and explore this great city.
Palatul Parlamentului (Parliament Palace)Distance from Bucharest Airport: 12.2mi / 19.6km
Ceausescu’s greatest folly took 20,000 workers, 7000 architects and 16 billion Lei to build. The result is a monolith rising 84m (276ft) high and the second-largest building in the world (after the Pentagon). It was intended to house Communist Party offices, ministries and Ceausescu’s state rooms, but at the time of Ceausescu’s death, only the exterior and three rooms had been completed. It is now the seat of Romania’s Parliament and headquarters of the International Conference Centre.
Calea 13 Septembrie 1
Tel: (021) 311 3611. Fax: (021) 312 0902.
Piata Revolutiei (Revolution Square)Distance from Bucharest Airport: 10.8mi / 17.4km
This spot marks the death of President Nicolae Ceausescu more poignantly than the tombstone above his grave. On 21 December 1989, 80,000 people thronged this square, then called Piata Republica (Republican Square). They were supposedly there for a rally to support the President after riots broke out in the town of Timisoara over the arrest of an outspoken priest. Thinking he was among friends, Ceausescu appeared on the balcony of the Central Committee Building to address the crowd. However, eight minutes into the speech, people began to chant ‘Ti-mi-soa-ra, Ti-mi-soa-ra.’ As the chanting grew louder, the shock on Ceausescu’s face pinpointed the true moment of his downfall – a moment televised all over Romania and, later, the world. Within 24 hours, protesters had stormed the building and Ceausescu and his wife had escaped in a helicopter from the roof; but within days they had been tried and shot by a firing squad.
Historic CentreDistance from Bucharest Airport: 11.6mi / 18.6km
The historic centre comprises the cobblestone streets between Calea Victoriei, Bulevardul Bratianu, Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta and the River Dîmbovita. At its heart is the Curtea Veche (Old Court), where Vlad Tepes built his citadel – a few walls, arches and one strangely intact Corinthian column standing like the last sentinel are all that remain. Its interior can be seen by pre-arranged visits only.
Strada Franceza 60
Tel: (021) 314 0375.
Muzeul Satului (Village Museum)Distance from Bucharest Airport: 8.8mi / 14.1km
Nestled along Herastrau Lake are 85 peasant homes, barns, churches and mills transported from all over Romania. Tall-roofed Transylvanian houses with beautifully crafted shingles sit alongside rustic wooden churches to form a unique neighbourhood. The overall impression is that Romanian peasants take great pride in their work and homes. Everyday accessories – tools, butter-churns, hay forks, beer kegs and clothes – are displayed inside the houses.
Soseaua Kiseleff 28-30
Tel: (021) 222 9106. Fax: 312 9068 or 222 9068.
Zambaccian MuseumDistance from Bucharest Airport: 9.4mi / 15.2km
For visitors who want to see Romanian art, this is the place to go. KH Zambaccian left his intimate collection of mostly Impressionist paintings (and one of Constantin Brancusi’s earliest sculptures) to the state in 1946, along with his beautiful residence. Each room features a Romanian artist of the time and, on leaving, names like Nicolae Grigorescu and Stefan Luchian seem slightly less foreign.
Strada Muzeul Zambaccian 21A
Tel: (021) 230 1920.
Muzeul Taranului Roman (Romanian Peasant Museum)Distance from Bucharest Airport: 9.3mi / 14.9km
This eclectic collection of peasant relics won 1996’s European Museum of the Year award – and it is easy to see why. The concoction of religious and traditional crafts is so creatively displayed that the exhibition is a work of art in itself. Handmade rugs, pottery, tools and painted eggs rub shoulders with rosaries and icons. Upstairs a group of mannequins in peasant costumes look like they are about to wake up at any moment and march across the room.
Soseaua Kiseleff 3
Tel: (021) 650 5360. Fax: (021) 312 9875.
Catedrala Patriarhala (Patriarchal Cathedral)Distance from Bucharest Airport: 11.8mi / 19km
This stunning seventeenth-century cathedral, situated on a hill overlooking southern Bucharest, is the Romanian Orthodox Church headquarters. A fabulous fresco of the blessed and the damned, ascending to heaven or tumbling into hell, adorns the entrance. Inside, expressive and beautifully painted icons, embedded in an exquisite gilded altarpiece, dazzle the eye in the sombre darkness. St Dumitru, Bucharest’s patron saint, lies entombed in the left-hand corner and worshippers constantly climb the staircase to his shrine to pay their respects.
Strada Dealul Mitropoliei
Tel: (021) 337 0079.
Transport: Metro Unirii; bus 104 or 123.