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Bucharest, the capital of Romania, is a true European city, overwhelming in the brilliance of its edifices: the Palace of the National Savings Bank, the Romanian Athenaeum, the George Enesco Museum (Cantacuzino Palace), the Municipality of Bucharest Museum of History (the Sutu Palace), the National Museum of History, the Military Club, the National Museum of Art (former Royal Palace), the Central University Library (the former Palace of the Carol I University Foundation), the Cotroceni Palace, the Palace of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Palace of the Patriarchate, the Stirbei Palace, the University, the Romanian Opera.
The first documentary attestation of Bucharest dates from 1459, in a document issued by Vlad the Impaler, who had established his residence in this citadel on the banks of the Dambovita. The historic centre of the city preserves the ruins of the Princely Court (the Old Court) and the Princely Church (dedicated to the feast of the Annunciation), built between 1558 and 1559. After it became the permanent capital of the Romanian Land (Wallachia) in 1659, the city of Bucharest began to expand; the crafts flourished, numerous foreign merchants settled here, inns were built (Manuc’s Inn), and also churches ( Stavropoleos, St. George), schools, hospitals (Pantelimon Hospital).
At the beginning of the 20th century, elegant Bucharest was nicknamed “the Little Paris”. Many of its monumental buildings, constructed in the 19th century, displayed the influence of French architectural style. Today, the dynamic life of this fascinating metropolis, in step with the times, unfolds different charms, which are ever waiting to be discovered along its bustling streets flanked with eclectic buildings.
The Palace of Parliament is a colossal edifice, the second largest in the world after the Pentagon. 84 meters high and with 6000 rooms, covering a built surface area of 330,000 sq meters, the building was constructed on Spirii Hill between 1984 and 1989. Nicolae Ceausescu, the dictator at that time, intended to establish here the presidential residence, the Central Committee of the Communist Party and a number of ministries. The Palace contains more than 400 offices, and dozens of conference and reception rooms. The most sumptuous of these is the Hall of Union (2,200 sqm), with a seating capacity of 1000, splendidly illuminated by a chandelier with seven 7000 light bulbs, which weights 3 tons. Today, the building houses the Romanian Parliament, the International conference Center and the National Museum of Contemporary Art. In front of the Palace stretches the vast Constitution Sq, where concerts and performances are held.
The Cismigiu Garden in Bucharest center is the oldest park in the city. It was the first laid out in 1845. The current configuration of the park IS THE WORK OF German Landscape gardeners Karl Wilhelm Meyer and Fr. Rebhuhn. For inhabitants of Bucharest, it is a favorite place for walks. The floral arrangement, the rare trees and shrubs, the lake, which offers boating, the fountains and sculptures all make up the charm of Cismigiu.
The Village Museum, founded in 1936 by sociologist Dimitrie Gusti, is an open –air ethnographic museum, occupying ten hectares of Herastrau Park. Here you can see 272 traditional rural buildings from all over Romania.
The city is surrounded by forests and a chain of lakes, around which have grown up recreational areas, wonderful places to spend the weekend: Herastrau Lake, Snagov Lake and Forest, Baneasa Forest, and Caldarusani, Pasarea, Cernica and Mogosoaia Lakes. Nearby there are old monasteries ( Cernica, Pasarea, Caldarusani, Snagov) and princely palaces ( Mogosoaia Palace, built in 1702 by Constantin Brancoveanu, housing the Museum of Brancoveanu Feudal Art).