Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Bucharest for architecture buffs

Fri Nov 6, 2009 10:58am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Justyna Pawlak

BUCHAREST (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to explore Bucharest, with its rare mixture of western architectural ideas, eastern imagery and 20th century totalitarian megalomania?

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors map the city's shift from one of Europe's most progressive urban centres at the start of the 20th century to a chaotic maze of dusty boulevards and quaint neighborhoods bearing the scars of brutal communist policies.


4 p.m. - Follow road signs for historic center, but watch out, it's easy to miss. Nestled between two major avenues, the medieval merchant district of Lipscani is in fact a tiny fraction of Bucharest's former old city.

Its meandering, cobblestoned streets survived demolitions ordered by communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in the 1980s that buried Bucharest's oldest sections, or a fifth of the city.

After massive renovations in recent years, Lipscani teems with bars and restaurants and is a popular weekend hangout for the city's partygoers.

Stop for a drink but make sure to wander into one of the side streets. Lined with tiny textile or antique shops, the crumbling tenements bear witness to communist-era neglect.

7 p.m. - Dinner at Caru cu Bere, a 19th century brewery that serves traditional Romanian fare under impressive vaulted ceilings. Try sarmale, minced meat wrapped in sour cabbage, or mamaliga, a cornmeal dish often served with cream and cheese.   Continued...

<p>View of the Curtea Veche, the 15th century residence of Vlad Tepes, a bloodthirsty ruler who inspired Bram Stokers' Dracula, in downtown Bucharest, November 6, 2009. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel</p>