Old Town Bucharest

Old Town in Bucharest is well-known for outdoor restaurants and cafés lining the streets and its numerous bars and clubs (especially Strada Lipscani). Aside from all of that, it’s a great place to walk among several beautiful historic buildings and churches.

Strada Lipscani in Bucharest, Romania

Strada Lipscani

Old Town in Bucharest, Romania

Old Town

Old Town in Bucharest, Romania

Old Town

Old Town in Bucharest, Romania

Old Town

The heart of Old Town is Curtea Veche (Old Princely Court), which was the old royal palace built in 1459 during the reign of Vlad Țepeș (aka Dracula). In an area originally settled in the 14th century by tradesmen, the palace was damaged by earthquakes in the 18th century and left in ruins. The Greek Voivode (Prince) of WallachiaAlexandros Ypsilantis (the grandfather of the Greek Revolution hero), had a new one built in 1775 where the Palace of Parliament now sits, but those ruins were destroyed in 1986.

Curtea Veche in Bucharest, Romania

Curtea Veche

Curtea Veche is open to visitors daily, but you can see much of it from outside of the fence, including the bust of Vlad Țepeș.

Curtea Veche in Bucharest, Romania

Curtea Veche

Across the street is the oldest hotel in Bucharest, Hanul lui Manuc. Built in 1808, the original owner was a flamboyant Armenian, Emanuel Mârzaian, who was better known by his Turkish name, Manuk Bey.

Hanul lui Manuc in Bucharest, Romania

Hanul lui Manuc

Old Town’s southern border, the Dâmbovița River, is just a block away.

Dâmbovița River in Bucharest, Romania

Dâmbovița River

A few banks are located in Old Town. Banca de Credit Romania is behind the Stavropoleos Church.

Banca de Credit Romania in Bucharest, Romania

Banca de Credit Romania

A short walk away is the very French-looking Economic Consortium Palace, unsurprisingly built by a French architect, Paul Gottereau, in 1900.

Economic Consortium Palace in Bucharest, Romania

Economic Consortium Palace

Economic Consortium Palace in Bucharest, Romania

Economic Consortium Palace

Another building to look out for is the old branch of the National Library of Romania, built in 1911.

National Library of Romania in Bucharest, Romania

National Library of Romania

National Library of Romania in Bucharest, Romania

National Library of Romania

On the north side of Old Town is the Romanian Commercial Bank and the University of Bucharest, founded in 1864. I couldn’t get a good picture of the front of the bank because of heavy construction.

Romanian Commercial Bank in Bucharest, Romania

Romanian Commercial Bank

University of Bucharest in Bucharest, Romania

University of Bucharest

In the median of Bulevardul Nicolae Balcescu sits the Black Cross, a grim reminder of the violent struggle that brought an end to communism in Romania. It marks the spot where the first protester, Mihai Gâtlan, was killed during the Romanian Revolution at 5:30pm on December 21, 1989. Tanks rolled over protesters and soldiers shot into the crowds there. In all of Romania, over 1,100 people were killed.

Black Cross in Bucharest, Romania

Black Cross

Across Bulevardul Nicolae Balcescu is Colțea Hospital, which also caught my eye. It’s the oldest hospital in Bucharest, founded in 1707. The current building dates back to 1888. A statue of Mihail Cantacuzino (a justice minister and Bucharest’s mayor from 1904 to 1907) and the Colței Church (built in 1701) sit in front. Behind it is the Ministry of Agriculture.

Colțea Hospital in Bucharest, Romania

Colțea Hospital

Ministry of Agriculture in Bucharest, Romania

Ministry of Agriculture

And finally, an eyesore and probably the ugliest building I saw in the city (and there are many) is the Tehnoimport Building, built in 1935.

Tehnoimport Building in Bucharest, Romania

Tehnoimport Building

Bucharest’s Old Town is compact and easily walkable. It’s served by two metro stations – Universitate and Piața Unirii.

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