Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is the largest city and the main political, administrative, economic, financial, banking, educational, 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.
Time has preserved the scent of the past and has embedded it in never-ending stories. For example, Manuc's Inn is the best preserved of Bucharest's old inns. It was built around 1808 to shelter travelling merchants. The inn is also one of Bucharest's historical building. Its owner, an influential Armenian called Emanuel Marzaian (better know as Manuc Bey hence the name of the place) offered the building for the signing in 1812 of the treaty that ended the Russo-Turkish war and resulted in the gain of Bessarabia by Russia. The treaty is known as the Treaty of Bucharest (1812). The building has the two tier galleries featured by the caravanserais that were common all over the Otoman Empire. Today, Manuc's Inn functions as a hotel-restaurant and winecellar.
The Lipscani area is the oldest remaining part of Bucharest and is known as the "historical center”. This district was Bucharest's most important commercial zone from the middle ages to late 20th century. Also, the prince had his court here - the ruins can be seen today on the French Street. While probably famed more for its history and its nightlife, the Old Town area of Bucharest is in fact home to some superb places to eat: both high end, fine-dining establishments as well as kebabs and take-aways.
Today, the city is a mix of old and new, traditional and modern, in a neoclassical style that is showing originality and charm. In 2012, Bucharest ranked second among Europe's 'coolest' cities, according to a top published by the online magazine slate.fr, taking into account several criteria, such as the price of beer, the number of students in the city and the number of neighborhoods where tourists and residents can have fun.
A small selection of things to see in Bucharest
The Palace of Parliament - also called the House of People, it has been built between 1984-1989 and covers 265.000 sqm interior surface, which makes it the biggest administrative construction in Europe and the world's second biggest after the Pentagon building in Washington.
The Village Museum - one of the world's most interesting ethnographical parks in open air, the museum was founded in 1936 by Dimitrie Gusti and gathers house holding samples from all regions of the country.
The Romanian Athaeneum - a concert hall in the center of Bucharest, Romania and a landmark of the Romanian capital city. The projects of the building are made by Albert Galleron (France) helped by C. Baicoianu and was inaugurated in February 1888, being now home of the "George Enescu” Philharmonic and of the George Enescu international music festival.
The "Cotroceni” Palace - built in 1893, after the plan of French architect Paul Gottereau and as the permanent residence of the heir Prince Ferdinand, the building is at the moment the residence of the President of Romania.
The Romanian Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral - completed in 1658, it is the majestic centre of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The facade is in the Brâncovenesc style.
The Arch of Triumph - inaugurated on the 1st of December 1936, the 27 m high monument glorifies the bravery of the Romanian soldiers during the First World War, celebrating at the same time the 1918 Union of Romanian provinces.
You can find more information about Bucharest on the website of the Romanian Official Travel and Tourism Information Center.