Pictorial Tour of Bucharest

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Believe it or not, Bucharest is an incredibly artistic city. In reality, most European cities are, but I was really struck with the different levels of “art” in Bucharest as I was looking back over the photos we took.

For a lot of the cities we’ve travelled to, I usually recap all of the sites we visited on our walking tour. In Bucharest, we sort of took a break. I mean, we still took a walking tour, but somehow, we just took a little bit of a holiday from our … holiday. We discovered this hostel that we really loved: it had only been open for 2 weeks, and had brand new everything, was in a cool, old building, and had virtually no other guests! Plus there was a generous breakfast spread everyday! I mean, really, who in their right mind would not stay longer than anticipated?

So I don’t even know really what we did for 5 days, it’s just that we didn’t really do a whole lot of anything. We took our time and enjoyed the hostel, and took our time and enjoyed the city of Bucharest. So here is a compilation of the art and other things we enjoyed along the way.

Art and Sculpture:

Noah's Ark, in a manner

Noah’s Ark, in a manner

Yes, this shark was once a car -- impressive, huh?

Yes, this shark was once a car — impressive, huh?

Making a statement regarding the Arts (specifically Theatre, if I recall).  The statue was already here for some time, and the word on the street said the protestors have been as well!

Making a statement regarding the Arts (specifically Theatre, if I recall). The statue was already here for some time, and the word on the street said the protestors have been as well!

The same protest, having gathered a little steam, by night.  Yes, Romanians are up at all hours of the night!

The same protest, having gathered a little steam, by night. Yes, Romanians are up at all hours of the night!

Street theatre!

Street theatre!

Atelier Mechanic, the cafe where we met our new friend, Wandering Earl.

Atelier Mechanic, the cafe where we met our new friend, Wandering Earl.

Earl and Wandering Earl, in Bucharest

Earl and Wandering Earl, in Bucharest

By the way, you can check out his blog here.

A moving portrait from an outdoor photography exhibition we wandered through

A moving portrait from an outdoor photography exhibition we wandered through

A clash between the old and the new world -- some modern awareness and social action, but the follow-through isn't quite there yet... (Yes, parents, hold onto your children, lest they fall into the hole we haven't fixed yet)

A clash between the old and the new world — some modern awareness and social action, but the follow-through isn’t quite there yet… (Yes, parents, hold onto your children, lest they fall into the hole we haven’t fixed yet)

A little more on the creation of social infrastructure in Romania (yes, this totally falls into the ‘art’ category!):

The power lines -- pity the man who gets to sort this out if there is an outage!

The power lines — pity the man who gets to sort this out if there is an outage!

A few example of the ‘safety standards’ regarding road construction, and how it differs from what we’re used to in Canada:

Pylons?  Traffic control?  What for?!

Pylons? Traffic control? What for?!

I wonder if steel-toed shoes are considered a waste of metal.  At least this guy was wearing full shoes -- we saw a few workers in sandals as well!

I wonder if steel-toed shoes are considered a waste of metal. At least this guy was wearing full shoes — we saw a few workers in sandals as well!

In Romania, the onus is on the pedestrian to be cautious; where in Canada, we lose a lot of our awareness of our surrounding, thinking everyone else will protect us from harm.

In Romania, the onus is on the pedestrian to be cautious; where in Canada, we lose a lot of our awareness of our surrounding, thinking everyone else will protect us from harm.

The path towards the museums

The path towards the museums

Moving to more traditional art forms:

A stately Romanian Orthodox Church

A stately Romanian Orthodox Church

Telling Bible stories and church history through paintings, the traditional method.

Telling Bible stories and church history through paintings, the traditional method.

Although this is right beside the church, somehow it's viewed a little differently -- Sandblasting away graffiti.

Although this is right beside the church, somehow it’s viewed a little differently — Sandblasting away graffiti.

A statue of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) in front of the ruins of the fortress he built in the 15th century.  It was later turned into a "Princely Court".

A statue of Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) in front of the ruins of the fortress he built in the 15th century. It was later turned into a “Princely Court”.

The Old Court Church, or the Old Princely Church -- we had to agree, this, the oldest church in Bucharest, is indeed a work of art!

The Old Court Church, or the Old Princely Church — we had to agree, this, the oldest church in Bucharest, is indeed a work of art!

This bank was built in the late 19th century by a French architect, and was apparently the only bank allowed to do business during the communist era

This bank was built in the late 19th century by a French architect, and was apparently the only bank allowed to do business during the communist era

If our memory serves us, this this the oldest pub in Bucharest, still a pub to this day, though they don't consider themselves definitively the best :)

If our memory serves us, this this the oldest pub in Bucharest, still a pub to this day, though they don’t consider themselves definitively the best :)

Manuc's Inn is the best-preserved of Bucharest's old inns.  It is still used today as a restaurant and wine cellar.

Manuc’s Inn is the best-preserved of Bucharest’s old inns. It is still used today as a restaurant and wine cellar.

One of the most beautiful churches in the entire city, it has both stone and wooden ornamentation.  I could have stayed here all day, it was so beautiful!

One of the most beautiful churches in the entire city, it has both stone and wooden ornamentation. I could have stayed here all day, it was so beautiful!

The Bucharest History Museum

The Bucharest History Museum

We happened upon this museum on free-entry day -- yay!  Inside and downstairs was an incredible display of the panels of the Trajan Column, which tells the history of Romania.  This is just the base of the column.  At the museum, they have copies of all the panels at eye level, so you can see the whole story.  In Rome, the pillar still stands as it has for centuries.

We happened upon this museum on free-entry day — yay! Inside and downstairs was an incredible display of the panels of the Trajan Column, which tells the history of Romania. This is just the base of the column. At the museum, they have copies of all the panels at eye level, so you can see the whole story. In Rome, the pillar still stands as it has for centuries.

One of the panels

One of the panels

Built by Ceaucescu, this is the second-largest building in the world, and competing with the Pentagon for the size of its footprint.  Classic communism: pretty ugly.  Apparently a lot of really beautiful old buildings were to torn down to make way for this monstrosity.

Built by Ceaucescu, this is the second-largest building in the world, and competing with the Pentagon for the size of its footprint. Classic communism: pretty ugly. Apparently a lot of really beautiful old buildings were to torn down to make way for this monstrosity.

A closer up shot of the Parliament Palace

A closer up shot of the Parliament Palace

To make way for his civic center, Ceaucescu ordered the demolition of a lot of old buildings and especially churches.  Some were saved because enterprising engineers figured out how to move them on rollers, out of the way of major highway construction.  Others, like this one, were hidden from sight by ugly communist-style apartment complexes.

To make way for his civic center, Ceaucescu ordered the demolition of a lot of old buildings and especially churches. Some were saved because enterprising engineers figured out how to move them on rollers, out of the way of major highway construction. Others, like this one, were hidden from sight by ugly communist-style apartment complexes.

The Atheneum is Romania's most prestigious concert hall.  To bad the shows were all sold out when we were in Bucharest ...

The Atheneum is Romania’s most prestigious concert hall. To bad the shows were all sold out when we were in Bucharest …

Piata Unirii, Unity Square, is where Bucharest's downtown begins.  Most Romanians find the fountains and the surrounding buildings truly hideous.

Piata Unirii, Unity Square, is where Bucharest’s downtown begins. Most Romanians find the fountains and the surrounding buildings truly hideous.

Statues in Piata Revolutiei, Revolution Square:

The statue of King Carol, for which many Romanians apparently go out of their way to pass on the front-side rather than the back-side...

The statue of King Carol, for which many Romanians apparently go out of their way to pass on the front-side rather than the back-side…

This is the former headquarters of the Romanian Communist Party's Central Committee.  It's where Ceaucescu gave his last speech before he and his wife fled from the rooftop by helicopter on 22 December 2005.  The area in front has been designated the "Revolution Square", and the white pillar in front of the building is the controversial Revolution Memorial.

This is the former headquarters of the Romanian Communist Party’s Central Committee. It’s where Ceaucescu gave his last speech before he and his wife fled from the rooftop by helicopter on 22 December 2005. The area in front has been designated the “Revolution Square”, and the white pillar in front of the building is the controversial Revolution Memorial.

A memorial to Corneliu Coposu, who spent 17 years in prison for anti-communist activities

A memorial to Corneliu Coposu, who spent 17 years in prison for anti-communist activities

Art in and near Herastrau Park:

This is art that we discovered when we borrowed bicycles from the municipality for a couple of hours!

The Romanian Arch of Triumph, near one of the entrances to Herastrau Park, is a monument honouring those soldiers who fought in World War I.

The Romanian Arch of Triumph, near one of the entrances to Herastrau Park, is a monument honouring those soldiers who fought in World War I.

Michael Jackson was the first western performer to perform in Bucharest after the fall of communism.  Romanians love him.  This is a memorial to his life.

Michael Jackson was the first western performer to perform in Bucharest after the fall of communism. Romanians love him. This is a memorial to his life.

Finally, a picture of the future:

Modern Romanian architecture is built to reflect the past... literally.

Modern Romanian architecture is built to reflect the past… literally.

Conclusion? Go visit Bucharest! It is a wonderful city, suffering many scars of the past, but it’s also slowly healing itself. And if you’re looking for a little Romanian art you can enjoy at home, watch the 2002 film Filantropica (Philanthropy in English).

1 comment to Pictoral Tour of Bucharest

  • really nice to see such a variety of art and wonderful things in a city. Europe is so rich in its history, culture and what people have to offer. Great pictures

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