Sometimes even the places you think you know the best, can have hidden gems that can amaze you and pick up your interest.
I want to share with you 10 places (most of them are free) that I find amazing in the city that continues to fascinate me: Bucharest.
1. Melik House
Melik House or Teodor Pallady Museum is the oldest house in Bucharest. This house was built in 1750 by Hagi Kevork Nazaretoglu. It is one of the most beautiful houses from that period and it’s the only one that is open to visiting. At this moment, you can find there over 800 paintings of Theodor Pallady. Along with those you can find 1270 rare collectible items that belonged to Serafina and Gheorge Raut’s family.
If you want to find out more about this house you can contact them by email [email protected]
If you want to get there by bus : 311,66,69,70,85,90,92 and 21.
Visitation Schedule: Wednesday – Sunday
11.00 – 19.00 (May – September)
10.00 – 18.00 (October – April)
2. Xenofon Street
Xenofon Street is the only road in Bucharest that has stairs.
It has 70 stairs along 100 m between Constantin Istrati Street and Suter Alley right near Carol Park.
The street riches the highest natural point in Bucharest, Filaret Hill where you can find Suter Palace (Carol Hotel today)
3. Suter Palace
Suter Palace was built between 1902-1906 by Adolf Suter, a close friend of King Carol I of Romania.
In 1904 the place was bought by a banker and offered as a gift to his mistress.
After a short time, the palace was nationalized by the communists and turned into a party headquarter.
Only in 2001 it was offered back to the original owners and turned into a hotel.
Ever since the grand opening in 2007, it runs as a 5-star hotel, considered the only small luxury hotel in Romania.
For more details : http://carol-parc-boutique-hotel.bucharest-hotel.com/en/
4. Ţepeş Castle
The castle was built as a small replica of the Poenari Fortress. It is one of the newest attractions, having barely passed the 100-year milestone. It was built by Carol I, a big fan of Vlad Tepes.
The castle was opened in 1906 during the General Exposition of Romania, organized in Carol Park. The exposition was organized because of the 40th reign anniversary.
The main purpose of the exposition was to show the visitors, especially foreigners the way that Romania grew between the years 1866 to 1906.
Unfortunately, it is open only 2 times a year so if you want to see it, you should check the dates.I promise you, it will be totally worth it.
Open dates: 16th May and 25th October.
5. Witches Pond (Balta Vrajitoarelor)
If you go outside of Bucharest to Stefanesti, in Boldu Creteasca forest you will find a pond of only a few meters with a very interesting history.
The stories tell that the pond dates since Vlad Tepes‘s time and here is the place where he was decapitated (even so this is not confirmed by the local historians ).
After the earthquake in 1977, the authorities threw some rubble and debris into that pond and they were swallowed overnight.
Besides that, the witches gather in this place every year, claiming that this is the place where their powers come from.
The popular beliefs say that in the past, the women that wanted to get rid of their unborn babies came there and stayed a few minutes in the water.
Besides myths and stories, the truth is that the animals fear this place and it is unlikely to see even a frog there.
6. 13th Fort of Jilava
The 13th fort was built starting 1884 and it was supposed to be added to the Romanian penitentiary system.
Even in Carol ‘s times, this place was designed for transition purpose only due to the unbearable accommodation.
Even so, the communist regime turned it into a penitentiary with normal use and moved plenty of political prisoners there.Messages like: “Daca vrei sa traiesti , baga paie sub haine” (If you want to live, put the straws under your clothes) can be read on the walls even in the present.
The fort is located in the neighborhood of Giurgiu-Bucharest road, at 10 km south from the capital and at 3km north-east from Jilava.
7. Virgin Island of Morii Lake
Morii Lake is an artificial lake built by the communist authorities.
In the middle of the lake, they wanted to build an island for the people to visit during the free days.
The initial plan included: shops, promenades etc. but the construction was stopped in ’89.
After the revolution, the island was used for many arts festivals.
Even so, it will remain a piece of art in Bucharest, since it created its own biosystem.
If you want to see it, remember you can only do it by boat.
8. Bellu Cemetery
Since 1852 this cemetery is located at the crossroad of Giurgiului road, Oltenitei, Viilor and Serban Voda.
Here are buried the most important cultural and political figures from Romania: George Bacovia, Nichita Stanescu, Ion Barbu, I. L. Caragiale, Toma Caragiu, Tudor Musatescu, Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu, George Pruteanu, Marin Preda, Florian Pittis etc.
What makes this cemetery even more interesting is the story behind some statues or tombs.
For example, there is a beautiful statue with eyes of emerald, sculpted by Rafaelo Romanelli and it is the representation of Katalina Boschott.
This woman is considered a mystery and on her tomb, you can find the following inscription:” ‘Cet animal de médecin m’a tuée! Herkulesbad-Mehadia 11-12 Août 1906’. (That animal of a doctor killed me!)”. Her death was not explained in over 100 years and the key to solve the mystery was always her lover’s wife.
Another interesting monument is the one dedicated to the Poroineanus. They loved each other so much that in the moment when they found out they were brothers they killed themselves.
How to get there:
Metro: Eroii revolutiei
More details: www.bellu.ro
9. Politehnica Metro station
This metro station was first used in 1983 and it’s made out of marble and granite plates that held fossils from 18 million years ago.
Even if people may think that everything was planned by the constructors, the truth is that in their rush to finish everything on time they extracted the material from Apuseni Mountains caring only about the color.
Eventually, it was founded out that, there you are actually stepping on a petrified ocean.
It is a jewelry of the railways that is in perfect condition and can be rented with 15 000 euro/day.
It is located near Mogosoaia Forest and Buftea, right after a “NO PASSING” sign.
If you want to visit the place you will need some approvals, so take care!
The train in question was made in 1928 at the king Ferdinand’s request.
In 1984 Ceausescu decided that he wants to have its own trains and he ordered 2 of them: they have Rolls Royce engine and they can reach over 160 km/hour. As well 2 of the 17 wagons of each train are armored.
What can we find in these trains?
Everything: conference rooms, restaurants, bedrooms and even living rooms, relaxing areas and the secret wagon (nobody has access inside)
Those 2 communist trains have as well grenade launcher at every corner.
So, I hope I just gave you a few checkpoints for your next trip to Bucharest.
Just remember that the most amazing places can be right next to you: you just have to open up the eyes to see them.
Do not hesitate to let me know about your experiences and don’t forget to send pictures too! 😉