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Bucharest is the capital municipality, the cultural,
industrial, and financial centre of Romania.
Located in the southeast of the country, it is the
largest city in Romania, which lies on the banks of
the Dâmboviţa River and less than 70 kilometres
north from the Danube.
Bucharest was first mentioned in documents in
1459. It became the capital of Romania in 1862
and it is the centre of Romanian media, culture
and art. Its architecture is a mix of historical
(neo-classical), interbellum (Bauhaus and Art
Deco), Communist-era and modern. In the
period between the two World Wars, the city's
elegant architecture and the sophistication of its
elite earned Bucharest the nickname of "Little
Bucharest is the 6th
largest city in the
European Union by
population within city
limits, after London,
Berlin, Madrid, Rome
The city proper is
as "The Municipality of
Bucharest", and has the
same administrative level
as that of a national
county, being further
In the centre of the capital there is a
small artificial lake – Lake Cișmigiu –
surrounded by the Cişmigiu
Gardens. The Cişmigiu Gardens
have a rich history, being frequented
by poets and writers. Opened in 1847
and based on the plans of the
German architect Carl F.W. Meyer,
the gardens are the main recreationa
facility in the city centre.
Besides Cișmigiu, Bucharest contains
other parks and gardens, including
the Herăstrău Park and the Botanica
Garden. The park is located in the
northern part of the city, around Lake
Herăstrău, and includes also the site
of the Village Museum.
The Botanical Garden is the largest
of its kind in Romania and contains
over 10,000 species of plants (many
of them exotic) and used to be once
the pleasure park of the royal family.
Bucharest has landmark buildings and monuments. The most
prominent of these is the Palace of the Parliament, built in
the 1980s. The largest Parliament building in the world, the
Palace houses the Romanian Parliament (the Chamber of
Deputies and the Senate), as well as the National Museum of
Contemporary Art. The building boasts one of the largest
convention centres in the world.
Another landmark in Bucharest is the Arch of Triumph,
built in its current form in 1935 and modeled after the Arc
de Triomphe in Paris.
The Romanian Athenaeum building is considered to be
a symbol of Romanian culture and since 2007 is on the
list of the Label of European Heritage sights.
The National Museum of Art of Romania is perhaps
the best-known of Bucharest museums. It is located in
the royal palace and features collections of medieval and
modern Romanian art, including works by sculptor
Constantin Brâncuşi, as well as an international
collection assembled by the Romanian royal family.
The palace of the National Bank of Romania houses
the national numismatic collection. Exhibits include
banknotes, coins, documents, photographs, maps, silver
and gold bullion bars, bullion coins, dies and moulds.
The building was constructed between 1884 and 1890.
The thesaurus room contains notable marble
The Museum of Romanian History is another important
museum in Bucharest, containing a collection of
artefacts detailing Romanian history and culture from the
prehistoric times, Dacian era, medieval times and the
Constructed from 1888-93 at the behest of Romania's first
king, Carol I, Cotroceni Palace has since 1991 been the
official residence of the Romanian President.
Bucharest has two internationally
renowned ethnographic museums, the
Museum of the Romanian Peasant and
the open-air Village Museum.
The Village Museum contains 272
authentic buildings and peasant farms
from all over Romania.
The Museum of the Romanian
Peasant was declared the
European Museum of the Year in
1996, and displays textiles
(especially costumes), icons,
ceramics, and other artifacts of
Romanian peasant life.
Other cultural venues include the Museum of Natural
History "Grigore Antipa", the National Museum of
Firemen and the National Military Museum.