Our itinerary begins at the famous but not very remarkable Piata Unirii, in which only one fountain, the shopping center to the east and some coffee shops stand out.
But immediately to the north begins the Old Town, where the majority of classical buildings, religious and museums are concentrated.
Strolling along the pedestrian streets, going northwest, we should look for Strada Stavropoleos, where we will find the most famous church in the city, the Stavropoleos Monastery. You can not access the entire monastery, but you can access the church from 1724, small in size but with an excellent interior. Open from 8:30 am to 6 pm, admission is free; understandably, the nuns who guard it are a bit tired of tourists and bloggers and those who pose will be asked if the photo is made for personal or economic purposes.
At the end of the street, on the left, is the entrance to the National History Museum (open from 10 am to 6 pm from Wednesday to Sunday), and in front of it, the Palatul CEC, seat of the national bank, one of the best buildings in the city.
From here we continue northwards through Calea Victoriei. About 200 meters further on we will find on the right the Vilacrosse Passage, a pedestrian passage with an exquisite architecture, covered by glass, where everything in are restaurants and cafes, rather expensive, but the place deserves a photo.
One km later we will arrive at Piata Revolutiei, with its strange Renaissance Memorial known among locals as “the potato”. On the left, the large building is the National Museum of Art of Romania, open from 10 am to 6 pm from Wednesday to Sunday, the price varies according to the number of rooms we want to visit, starting at 15 Lei; There is a combo that allows access to almost everything for 50 Lei. About 300 meters further north, on the right, is another of the most famous buildings, the Romanian Athenaeum, from 1888, in neoclassical style.
We will continue to the west approximately another kilometer to enter Cismigiu Park by its northern entrance. It is the best considered park in the city.
Crossing it from north to south, continuing some more in that direction, near its southwest corner we will cross the river. The imposing image of the Romanian Parliament Palace dominates the entire landscape. If we want to visit it, we’ll have plenty of time to literally see it on all 4 sides, since the entrance to general public is in the southwest corner; We will need at least 20 minutes to walk around it, and once we cross Izvor park, next to the river, there is no shade. This monstrosity was built between 1985 and 1997 (officially, because it is still being completed) by 20,000 workers in 24-hour shifts, as an attempt to put the country on the map by creating an architectural symbol. The result is, depending on the categories that we include and leaving out of this classification factories and industrial buildings, one of the largest buildings in the world in terms of volume and the largest administrative-civil type; It is 2% larger than the Pyramid of Cheops. It is not only what we can appreciate at first sight, its height is 86 meters but there are other 92 m of underground sections. There are 40 rooms for meetings and conferences, and 1100 rooms that are mostly unoccupied. There is even an underground highway designed as an emergency escape.
To visit the interior, a guided excursion is mandatory. The basic tour costs 35 Lei per adult and the complete one (includes 2 levels of the basement) 55, but you have to pay 30 Lei more if you want to take pictures. To book the excursion you can do it:
- By telephone, for groups of less than 9 people, +40 733 558 102/103, one day in advance.
- For groups of more than 10 people, in the email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or through an agency.
Visits are not allowed if there are any meetings of a political nature.
Immediately to the southwest of the Parliament, near the entrance of the general public, the new Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral is being finished, which will be the largest Orthodox cathedral in the world (135 meters high, 70 meters wide and 136 meters long) and which will have the largest hanging bells, surpassing those of Cologne Cathedral. The plan is to be finished by the end of this year, but it will probably be extended to the next.
We return to Piata Unirii through the Unirii Boulevard, in the Parliament style, imposing, symmetrical and trying to be majestic but without denying the communist heritage. As a curious fact, there are dozens of wedding dress shops on the south sidewalk.
If we still feel want some more walking, 500 meters southwest of Piata Unirii is the Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral, from the seventeenth century, home to the country’s church until the new one is finished.
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