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Bustling Bucharest: A Stopover on a Romanian Holiday

A holiday in Romania is made fuller by a trip to its capital, Bucharest. Landmarks include Calea Victoriei, which is lined by important buildings; lavish Cantacuzino Palace, done in neoclassical and art nouveau styles; and Lipscani District, the old town which was where merchants plied their trade.

Relive the 1989 revolution against the Ceausescu dictatorship, a communist regime characterised by political repression and brutality. Go on a trip to Piata Revolutiei, where Nicolae Ceausescu made one last speech before protesters made themselves heard, only to be rained on by bullets. The words “Glorie martirilor nostril” (“glory to our martyrs”) are emblazoned here. Dissidents continued on to Piata Universitatii, where today ten stone crosses stand as a tribute to those who died fighting for their rights. Televiziunea Romana is another important landmark of the uprising, from where the end of the administration was announced.

The Arcul de Triumf is another testament to Romanian bravery, dedicated to the soldiers who fought in World War I. A wooden one before it was rebuilt; it is covered by sculptures today, moulded by the leading artists of the country at that time.

There is much to see and learn at the museums of Bucharest. At the Muzeul Taranului Roman or the Peasant Museum, visitors can peek into everyday Romanian life through the centuries, with people engaged in activities like iconography, pottery, and Easter egg-painting. Samples can be bought from the museum shop. Within is the Communist Iconography Museum, which contains newspaper clippings, pictures, and other mementos from that era. An excursion at the Village Museum or Muzeul Naţional al Satului Dimitrie Gusti is like taking in the regions of Dobrogea, Moldavia, Oltenia, and Transylvania at once. This outdoor display contains earth houses, a wooden church, windmills, and more.

Spend an evening listening to a performance by the Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic at the Ateneul Roman or Romanian Athenaeum, a magnificent concert hall with frescoed walls and ceilings, marble columns, and fantastic acoustics.

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