Randomness (r_ness) wrote,

A few views of Bucharest.

Bucharest has a terrible reputation. The always irreverent In Your Pocket guide to Bucharest says that "a cheeky but clever wag [they] know" once described it as "A shit hole, but my kind of shit hole."

People warn you of the packs of wild dogs said to roam the streets, and that the old dictator Ceauşescu had many square miles of the historic center of the city flattened to make way for his grandiose building scheme.

Well, it must have improved markedly in the eight years the In Your Pocket guys have been publishing their guide, because I rather liked the place. It won't win any huge awards yet, but it's got character.

Before the First World War, Bucharest was nicknamed "Little Paris", both for its architecture--many of its historic buildings were built during the late 19th century in the French style--and for its nightlife and cultural pretensions. They even built an Arcul de Triumf after the war, although this is now covered in scaffolding.

Arcul de Triumf, before the scaffolding went up.

I stayed a couple of blocks behind the Cercul Militar Naţional:

Cercul Militar Naţional

The Athenaeum is another building from the same period:

Ateneul Roman

It's on a street named after Benjamin Franklin. The street signs in the historic center are all in the Parisian style.

The nearest metro stop was over by Piaţa Universităţii (University Square). I walked past the university every day.

University of Bucharest

I'll post about the uglier bits of town separately.
Tags: travel
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