Hundreds of volumes have been written about Bucharest, pure history, stories and tales, memoirs, and Bucharest will forever remain a source of inspiration for those who know how to see beyond the high walls of modern buildings, beyond the daily hustle and bustle, beyond the present.
Today is time for a walk on Kiseleff Road, one of the most beautiful streets of Bucharest.
The name is a tribute to the one who designed it in 1832, Russian Count General Paul Kiseleff. Cutting the forest that borders this part of Bucharest, along the road were arranged gardens of great beauty. The charm and uniqueness of the road which has more than 100 years old are described wonderfully in this quote: "Green, flowering and resounding with the song of birds in summer, covered with snow in winter, Kiseleff Road offers the eye, throughout it and in all seasons, enchanting perspectives. Palaces, public monuments, museums as well as private villas built along, in different eras and styles, are all surrounded by gardens or hidden among charming groves."
But let's not waste our leisure time in Bucharest and let's start the tour!
The House of the Free Press is one of the landmarks of Bucharest that best reminds of the communist regime. The building combines elements promoted by the Soviet architecture and specific details of religious architecture you can meet both in Romania and in the neighboring Republic of Moldova. Admire this mega structure from the outside. It is absolutely magnificent and transmits strength through architectural style and dimensions.
On the left side, going towards Calea Victoriei, immediately after The House of the Free Press, there is Herastrau Park. You can make the first stop here for a boat ride.
Few meters away, you will find the entrance to The National Museum of the Village "Dimitrie Gusti". Stretching over an impressive area, the museum has the size of a true village and includes a lot of monuments and artifacts from the 17th century to the 20th century. Here you will find, in fact, houses and rural buildings representative of each ethnographic area of the country, including from Transylvania, Maramures, Oltenia, Moldova, Dobrogea, Muntenia, and Banat.
1.4 km, in a straight line, from The House of the Free Press you will find The Arch of Triumph. The Arch of Triumph celebrates the Great Union from 1918, being a symbol of Romania's victory in the First World War. If you are lucky enough, you will find the Arch of Triumph opened to the public. The upper view is amazing!
Going forward, on the right side, you will see a white, beautiful, imposing house. A commemorative plaque informs us that Nicolae Titulescu lived here. He was a diplomat, jurist, university professor, and Romanian politician, repeatedly Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister Plenipotentiary, former President of the League of Nations, and a full member of the Romanian Academy. Today, the house hosts the European Foundation Titulescu. You can visit it during public events or, if you have luck, you can also visit it during the normal days.
Keep going, admire the houses, if it is early summer smell the lindens which guard the boulevard. Soon, on your left hand, you will see the Triumph Hotel. In 1935, this building was built as a residential complex for BNR (National Bank of Romania) employees. Today, the hotel dominates with its size and the red color of the apparent brick from which it is built. The entrance is sumptuous and in front of it there is a garden guarded by tall fir trees. Unfortunately, the comfort of the rooms is far from what you'd imagined when admiring the building from the outside, but you can cool off with a drink in its garden. You definitely need this!
Not far away, on the right side, another building attracts attention through the classic neo-Romanian style, through sobriety and grandeur. Kiseleff Palace, the former aristocratic house of Candiano Popescu, lawyer, journalist, and general of the Romanian army, and Constantin Iarca, landowner, liberal politician, deputy, and former mayor of Buzau, was expanded and rebuilt after 1910 by architect Grigore Cerchez to serve as the residence of members of the royal family (Charles II, Princess Helen, Michael I and Queen Elizabeth of Greece). The royal family lived here until 1940.
The palace was donated by the king to the Ministry of Education after his aunt moved to Herastrau Palace during World War II. Until the early 1980s, the Palace housed the headquarters of the Soviet Embassy. In the years 1981-1982, the palace was transformed into a student dormitory. This transformation also required the construction of outbuildings and the excavations for the foundation led to the finding of the remains of several legionaries executed and buried in these places. This sounds creepy, right?
Today, the Palace hosts the headquarter of a bank.
At the intersection of Kiseleff Road with Ion Mincu Street, you can admire the Villa of Princess Adina Woroniecki. She was the widow of Take Ionescu, prime minister of Greater Romania between 1921 and 1922. Adina was much younger than her future husband, which became gossip for badmouths. Three years after the marriage of the two, Take Ionescu dies of typhoid fever in Rome. His widow became the lady of honor of Queen Maria and in 1922 she married the Polish prince Korybut Woroniecki.
Completed in the summer of 1940, the house bears the signature of the architect of Jewish origin Alexandru Zaharia (real name: Zusman). The Venetian style with richly ornamented columns at the end of which is the heraldry of the family gives it a special air. After the nationalization dictated by the communist regime in 1949, the princess continued to live in the kitchen of her house until her death in 1975. Today, the beautiful villa is slowly deteriorating due to the lack of interest of the authorities supported by the defective laws that govern us.
Historical monument, dating back over 120 years, Casa Doina (Doina House) is one of the high-end restaurants in Bucharest, known for its Romanian cuisine, as well as a meeting place for business people or those in the political class.
At the beginning of the 20th century, The Buffet, as it was known during that time, attracted like a magnet the good world of the city who came to listen to Grigoras Dinicu singing, violinist, and head of the band. "The Buffet" was also the favorite meeting place for lovers who came here to eat grilled steak and drink beer. Today, the Buffet is called Casa Doina, but it fulfills the same function for which it was built: that of a luxury restaurant.
On Kiseleff Road, near The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, you will find an architectural ensemble of rare beauty and historical significance for Bucharest: a school, a church, and a very small cemetery.
We will tell you only that this school stood out at the beginning of the 1850s with two technical successes made by the students themselves: the replacement of the terracotta stoves used to heat the wood with the heating with the help of the hot air captured from the kitchen hearth and transported through a pipe. Also, the old school lighting system with candles is replaced by the lighting process with lamps with rapeseed oil or gas. Find out more by reading our dedicated article to this beautiful ensemble.
And finally, we arrived in Bucharest are where one can find three of the most important museums in Bucharest: the Geological Institute, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, and the Grigore Antipa National Museum.
If you don't feel tired, you should choose to visit these museums. Each has its own charm and you will certainly not regret the choice that you have made. If you still need a break, cross the street towards the Romanian Government. Next to it, you will find a complex of restaurants where you can hydrate or eat something absolutely delicious.