What to see and photograph in Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital city of Romania which is part of the EU and Schengen communities. The following are notable points of interest in the Romanian capital.
- Palace of the Parliament
- Arcul de Triumf
- Herastrau Park
- Romanian Athenaeum
- Museums of Bucharest
- Palace of the National Military Circle
- Bucharest Km 0
- Tineretului Park
Hotels in Bucharest are good value like most Eastern European cities. The city is walkable and there is also a metro so you can stay where the best value hotel is.
Palace of the Parliament
The Palace of the Parliament (People’s House) is the 2nd largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. If you could pick buildings up it would be the heaviest building in the world. By volume the palace is larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza. As well as being home to the Romanian Parliament there are also 3 museums located in the Palace. The most popular of the museums being National Museum of Contemporary Art. The building is only 30% occupied meaning 70 % of this massive palace remains empty.
The palace was made for the former Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu and is often referred to as Ceausescu’s Palace. After an earthquake in Bucharest in 1979 he decided to redesign the city. He decided that the palace would be the new center of Bucharest. In 1984 after removing buildings and people that were in the way they started work on the Palace. It was made by soldiers under forced labor conditions to limit costs. It’s amazing there was so much poverty in the country at this time but Ceausescu had the funds to build this palace. In 1989 however, before the Palace was complete Ceausescu was killed during a violent revolution in the country. The palace was finally completed in 1997.
The Palace of the Parliament is so big that it’s difficult to photograph.
Arcul de Triumf
Bucharest has its very own Arcul De Triumf. It was built to celebrate Romanian independence from the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire in 1896. It was rebuilt in 1922 to celebrate the end of World War 1. The Arcul De Triumf you see today (above) was made in 1936.
Behind the Arcul De Triumf you’ll find Herastrau Park (Herăstrău Park). Lake Herăstrău is located in the center of the park and is perfect for reflection photography. You can take reflection shots of the surrounding greenery and buildings. The park features a Japanese Garden, so if you’re a European you don’t have to go all the way to Japan for cherry blossom season.
In the center of the capital city is the Romanian Athenaeum. This concert hall is one of the most famous landmarks of Bucharest. Although not a UNESCO world heritage site, it has been awarded the European Heritage Label. You can walk around the grounds and take photos. The best place to photograph it from is the front with the gardens.
I also went to the National Stadium where Michael Jackson televised his first concert of the Dangerous World Tour in 1992. Unfortunately the National Stadium had been demolished. It has been replaced with the National Arena which hosts the Romanian football team and cup finals.
Museums of Bucharest
Museum lovers have plenty of museums to visit in Bucharest;
- National Museum of Art of Romania
- National Museum of Romanian History
- Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History
- Romanian Peasant Museum
- Jewish Museum
The Palace of the National Military Circle (above) is one of the most stunning buildings in Bucharest. Although not a museum you can visit the grounds and there is a restaurant on the terrace
If you are traveling to Bucharest with kids there’s a kid friendly park called Tineretului Park. The park is not in the center of the city but you can reach it easily by metro. There is a section of the park called Kids Mini-town which has rides and areas for all age groups of kids. In the park you’ll also find a lake which is perfect for reflection photography of the greenery around it.
To mark the center of Bucharest is a monument called Kilometer Zero. I have seen similar monuments in Minsk, Belarus and in Melaka, Malaysia. Distances to other towns and cities are measured from this point.
Bucharest to Suceava by Train
The train from Bucharest to Suceava takes around 7 hours. There are many direct trains to Suceava and even a night train. The night train leaves Bucharest at close to midnight and arrives in Suceava at 6am. The train I went for was the early morning train which arrived in Suceava mid afternoon. Taxis in Bucharest have a bad reputation but the taxi which took me to the train station early morning used the meter and didn’t talk which was perfect.