Bucharest, Old Town - a walk back in time
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Old Centre, Smârdan street, corner with LipscaniPhoto: Jani Godari, CC0, Unsplash
A walk through Bucharest's Old Town, passing through streets equivalent to the city's historical center, plus an escape in the Cișmigiu garden and a few moments of bohemian relaxation on more or less hidden alleys, close to Calea Victoriei.
Why should be such a walk different from what tourist guides offer? Because it gives you the freedom to enter any building, to stop whenever you want, to observe the locals. If you care to read about the Old Town building beforehand, such a walk will help you better understand why the place looks like it does.
Old Town Bucharest is essentially a maze of streets and an open-air museum of architectural styles and cultural influences that all speak of the city's tumultuous past.
Mind that this walk is just one of many that illustrate Bucharest as Little Paris, although the general impression (during or after such a walk) is that this place lies at the border between Eastern and Western cultures.
The walk takes you from Curtea Veche (the ruins of the former princely palace) through the narrow streets of Lipscani (the commercial center of old Bucharest), where all street names reflect the occupations of the merchants who once dominated the area. Then it descends towards Cișmigiu Garden and guides you through a series of streets illustrating the interweaving of early 20th-century architecture with modern constructions. Towards the end, the route returns to the agitated city center: the classy, but hidden streets behind the Romanian Athenaeum, where you can also stop for a coffee or an ice cream.
Other walks to delve into old Bucharest: Cotroceni, or Armenian district.
Cantacuzino Palace - Enescu Museum, although a little outside this route, would be interesting to see.
Rest stopsThe Marmorosch Bucharest (Autograph Collection)
Careful on the narrower streets with cars parked everywhere: you might have to walk straight in through the middle of the street.
Tips and hints
- CEC Palace is accessible for free, even if you have no business at the bank.
- Anyone can also enter the Marmorosch Hotel.
- Most of the buildings that seem very old are also historical monuments and have small informational plaques on the front, with some useful details.
- Along the way you will find many shops, terraces, and cafes, so don't worry.
- The time suggested here is relative.
Book recommendation by the author
The books of George Potra, Ioana Pârvulescu, Adrian Majuru, Constantin Bacalbașa (to name but a few) are an inexhaustible source of information about old Bucharest.
To which is added the book by Alexandru Ofrim - Străzi vechi din Bucureștiul de oggi (Old Streets of Today's Bucharest), about the origin of the names of hundreds of streets.
- 13 Waypoints
- 13 Waypoints
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