Bucharest’s churches are part of the local history, tradition and spirituality. The churches are not impressive in terms of size, but in terms of the atmosphere full of spirituality and for their astonishing beauty. They don’t overwhelm the tourists by their sheer size, but by the spirituality they are embraced with.
Here is our top 10 old churches from Bucharest that will help you in choosing the most impressive ones:
Located in the heart of the Old Town, this iconic church is impossible to miss. Omnipresent in all the travel guides, the Stavropoleos Church was built in the first decades of the 18th century and is, even today, one of the most beautiful churches from Bucharest. It is one of the best representations of the ‘Brancovenesc’ architectural style that combines local elements with Italian and Byzantine influences. Like most churches from the former Old Court, Stavropoleos was an inn church, a current practice of those times.
Adress: Strada Stavropoleos 4, București 030167. View in Google Maps
The Romanian Patriarchy
The Patriarchy, the most important church in the Orthodox religious hierarchy, concludes our top 10 of the most beautiful old churches from Bucharest. Located only 10 minutes away from the Old Town, the church of the Patriarchy was built in the second part of the 17th century, inspired by the plans of the medieval church from Curtea de Arges.
The Patriarchate Palace was built according to the plans of the architect Dimitrie Maimarolu, being the first reinforced concrete work in the country. It underwent various changes in time, the most important being the restoration of the dome, which collapsed during the earthquake of November 10, 1940.
Adress: Aleea Dealul Mitropoliei 2, București 040163. View in Google Maps
In the heart of Bucharest, next to University Square and opposite the Sutu Palace, we can find one of the most beautiful churches in Bucharest, Coltea Church, one of the largest architectural ensembles of the early 18th century. The Coltea Church was founded by the Sword Bearer Mihail Cantacuzino, a scholar of his time, a well-educated and widely traveled man, descendant of one of the wealthiest boyar families (belonging to nobility) in Wallachia.
Coltea Church is a representative and extraordinary monument of Brancovanian art, famous for the mastery of decorative art that combines Byzantine, Oriental, and Italian Baroque influences.
Adress: Bulevardul Ion C. Brătianu 1, București 030167. View in Google Maps
Visiting this small church will take you far away from the noisy and crowded central boulevards of Bucharest, giving you the chance to explore the quieter side of the city. This small church was founded in 1834 by the Darvari family who built here a hermitage and a family chapel. Hidden behind solid walls, the church was declared a historical monument, and its monastery was restored after being closed for decades by the communist regime.
Adress: Strada Schitul Dârvari 3, București 030167. View in Google Maps.
The largest church in Bucharest, Spiridon Church is impressive not only when it comes to its proportions as compared to the other Bucharest churches, with its 38 meters tall and 41 meters long, but especially for its Renaissance-style interior paintings done by Gheorghe Tattarescu, the most prolific religious painter from the 19th century. Built between 1852 and 1858, the church combines Neo-Gothic, Neo-Byzantine, and Neo-Classic architectural elements, with some influences from the local ‘Brancovenesc’ style.
Adress: Calea Șerban Vodă 29, București 030167. View in Google Maps
Mihai Vodă Church
Over 400 years old, this is one of the oldest churches from Bucharest. Mihai Voda Church was built by the legendary Prince Mihai the Brave who, in 1600, managed to realize the first union of the Romanian historical provinces. Part of a large monastery that in the last two centuries served as a hospital, medical school, and even as an archive deposit, the church barely escaped the communist demolitions.
Adress: Strada Sapienței 4, București 050131. View in Google Maps
Apostles’ Church (1636) is one of the oldest preserved and most precious churches in Bucharest, belongs to the reign of Matei Basarab (1632-1654), whose peaceful and flourishing era was a happy exception in those times when the invasions, internal struggles for power, fires and robberies were common practice. The church is most representative of 17th-century ecclesiastical architecture. Located on the right bank of the Dambovita river, in the central-west part of the city, the actual Apostles’ neighborhood is one of the city’s areas affected by the harsh transformations in the last years of communist rule, when extended demolitions were part of the urban planning intended to replace the old Bucharest with a new socialist-type city.
Adress: Strada Sfinții Apostoli 1A, București. View in Google Maps
‘Doamnei’ Church (Lady’s Church)
Doamnei Church (around 1675). Founded by Maria Doamna, the second wife of Serban Cantacuzino (1678-1688), the church was initially the chapel of the boyar house of Serban Cantacuzino, destined for a future Princely residence. The mural painting is the original one, but you have to admire the intricate pattern of the carved wooden door and the wonderfully sculpted stone portal with the inscription above.
Adress: Strada Biserica Doamnei, București 030167. View in Google Maps.
Radu Voda Monastery
The right bank of the Dambovita river terrace formed natural hills on which monasteries have been set up since old times. On one of these hillocks stands Radu Voda Monastery, very close to Old Town Bucharest.
Radu Voda is a Princely foundation, one of the earliest in Bucharest. The first church founded here dates back to 1568 as part of a large complex that included thick defensive walls and a Princely Palace. In those turbulent times, the monastery has been soon occupied by Sinan Pasha’s Turkish armies which set up here their headquarters turning the church into a mosque (1595).
Adress: Strada Radu Vodă 24a, București 040275. View in Google Maps.
Local folklore places this church as the oldest in the capital although it most likely dates from the 18th century. Located right across the street from Radu Voda, Bucur Church is a miniature comparing to the latest religious venues built across Romania.
Initially a chapel for the nearby monastery, this church is so tiny that you might just miss it. You should visit Bucur Church because it has a splendid collection of icons and an overwhelming feeling of tranquility even if it’s so close to the noisy Unirii Square.
Adress: Strada Radu Vodă 33, București 030167. View in Google Maps