Bucharest (București), stunning capital of Romania, appears today as a real ever-increasing metropolis, an important industrial and commercial centre and one of the most populated and beautiful cities of Europe.
The city is said to have been founded in the 15th century on the banks of the Dâmboviţa River by Vlad Ţepeş, over the centuries it experienced an interesting growth, during the second half of the 19th century the city's population increased rapidly and knew a period of maximum brightness; as a stimulating and dynamic meeting place for artists and intellectuals coming from all corners of Europe and due to its new status the city was even nicknamed "Little Paris" or "Paris of the East" (Micul Paris) because of its notable Parisian influence. After the destructions of the first and the second world war, the aggressive earthquakes of the 20th century and the communist Nicolae Ceaușescu's dictatorship everything has changed and the idyll interrupted, a large part of the city, including entire sections of Bucharest’s historical old town, prestigious residences and ancient architectural treasures were razed and later replaced with new palaces 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.
The most interesting landmarks in Bucharest include the Palace of the Parliament, the second-largest building in the world after Pentagon and the most expensive administrative palace ever built, old churches and luxurious palaces, museums and theatres, the new majestic National Library (Biblioteca Naţională) but our tour is not complete without taking a relaxing walk along tree-lined avenues or spending a day in its scenic parks and gardens enriched by stunning fountains; as the focal point of daily life, the stunning Unification Boulevard (Bulevardul Unirii, 4 kms of tree-lined avenue) extends from the Palace of the Parliament to Unification Square (or Unirii Square, Piața Unirii); although Bucharest has emerged as a metropolis with a cosmopolitan outlook it is a surprisingly green city with a plenty of lovely spaces and relaxing areas including its enchanting historic centre (Centrul istoric). Buzzing every night, it can equally offer relaxing spots in its most ancient part as well as modern streets lined with bars and terraces, cafés and restaurants; as already said above, the historic centre was savagely razed during the 20th century, today completely renovated it is located between the Cismigiu Park (Parcul Cişmigiu) and Unirii Square, a wonderful area rich in ancient churches and monuments, frescoed adornment of the interiors and breathtaking scenarios; a tour in the streets of Bucharest will be a pleasant experience, strolling along the famous and lively French Street (Strada Franceza), the first paved street in Bucharest, and enjoying there a break will be a fascinating trip through time; going slowly on the old narrow streets of Bucharest we can discover the Lipscani district, one of the oldest and most beautiful areas of the historic downtown, home to antique shops and old markets still keeping the ancient style.
For adventure seekers and history fans a visit to the Dracula's Tomb will be a fascinating voyage through centuries, it is enough to reach the Snagov Monastery located on a small island on Snagov Lake not so far from Bucharest in which Dracula (also known as Draculea o Draculya) is said to lie, locals still tell legends about the wonderful things he did, this to confirm that his myth, legend and unique charme are still deeply rooted in whole Romania.