The stunning Romanian capital of Bucharest (București) is one of the most populated and beautiful cities of Europe, a bustling modern metropolis with a leading role in directing its economy.
Perhaps founded in the 15th century on the banks of the Dâmboviţa River by Vlad Ţepeş, it grew over the centuries until it reached the maximum brightness during the second half of the 19th century, everywhere Bucharest was known as a stimulating and dynamic meeting place for artists and intellectuals coming from all corners of Europe embellished by imposing palaces and architectural treasures of rare beauty; due to this new status and a prominent French influence enriched by marvelous Belle Époque buildings, Bucharest earned the nickname of "Little Paris" or "Paris of the East" (Micul Paris); this idyll was unfortunately interrupted by the first and the second world wars, the city suffered severe losses caused by German troops, moreover aggressive earthquakes and the communist Nicolae Ceaușescu's dictatorship contributed to its complete destruction, a large part of the historic centre with its ancient architectural treasures were razed and later replaced with new buildings built in a classical socialist style, the Palace of the Parliament (Palatul Parlamentului), also known as Palace of The People (Casa Poporului), and the Civic Centre (Centrul Civic) are a tangible example of that.
Bucharest is a fascinating mix of ancient and ultra-modern with a number of well-preserved traditions and habits and a variety of museums, old churches and luxurious palaces, gardens, scenic parks enriched by stunning fountains, squares and must-see attractions such as the Palace of the Parliament, the second-largest building in the world after Pentagon; tourists can round out their time of relaxation with a walk along tree-lined avenues, the suggestive 4 km. long-Unification Boulevard (Bulevardul Unirii) extending from the Palace of the Parliament to Unification Square (or Union Square, Unirii Square, Piața Unirii) is a wonderful example of that. Unirii Square as the focal point of daily life and a major metro station in Bucharest surrounded by offices of all kinds, banks, shops, trade centres, cafés, restaurants and imposing buildings, is the heart of the capital; here we can admire the statue of Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, not so far away the Theatre Museum (Muzeul Teatrului) and the Museum of Natural History (Muzeul de Istorie Naturala); on the opposite side of the Palace of the Parliament is located the new imposing National Library (Biblioteca Naţională), about 12 millions books stored, 14 wide reading halls and exciting programs of exhibitions, events and learning opportunities for people of all ages and interests make it one of the most popular meeting place of Bucharest from early morning until late at night. Bucharest's scenery is breathtakingly beautiful both in winter, when it is fully covered in snow and in summer time when it is surrounded by a very relaxed atmosphere.