Bucharest is known as the Paris of the East or Little Paris for many reasons. First of all, Romanian culture was greatly influenced by the French. In past centuries, French was the common language in the ball rooms of Bucharest and France was the favorite destination of the well to do for both leisure and study. This cultural trend started to shape the city itself in 1853, once the Stirbey Palace was finished. The old oriental influences were replaced by neoclassical features, French architects designed majestic buildings while great parks and gardens adorned the city. The city’s look and the life style reminded every traveler of the charming French capital.
THE LEGENDARY PALACE
The Palace of the Parliament (formerly know as the House of the People) is the second largest administrative building in the world, after the Pentagon. Moreover, the building’s volume is 2% bigger than that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Palace of the Parliament stands 86 m high, is 270 m in length, 245 m in width, it goes 92 m underground and has a total surface of 66.000 square meters. 200 architects were involved in the project during the communist regime in Romania. 20.000 men worked in 3 shifts, 24 hours a day, for 6 years to complete this colossus.
Say 'salut' for hello and 'multsumesk' for thank you.
Most young people speak some English, older people are more likely to speak French. In Romanian
We recommend you pack an extra piece of luggage to carry everything… you just had to have! Modern shopping malls offer a great variety of international and local items but it’s the less known places, like the Peasant Museum, that surprise you with authentic Romanian pieces.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Between the world wars, Bucharest was known as 'Little Paris'. The city was built by French architects coming from the school of Baron Haussmann, the father of modern Paris.
The first 5-star hotel in town
The InterContinental Bucharest is the first 5-star hotel to be built in Bucharest. Since its 1971 opening, the InterContinental has been the highest hotel in town and, until 2004, the highest building in Bucharest. The 22 floors offer a luxurious meeting area, 257 rooms and suites, restaurants and a spectacular Health Club, on the top floor. A landmark of Bucharest for almost 4 decades, this building was designed so that every room should have its own balcony and a spectacular view to go with it.
Bucharest City Name origins
The name of Bucharest (Bucuresti) has an uncertain origin: tradition connects the founding of Bucharest with the name of Bucur who was either a prince, an outlaw, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a hunter, according to different legends. In Romanian, the word stem bucur means 'glad', 'joy' and in Albanian, a language which may have historical connections with the Thracian languages, 'bukur' signifies 'beautiful' and 'esht' signifies 'is', literally translated as 'it is beautiful'.
The inventor of the airplane turbo jet engine
Henri Coanda, a Romanian engineer, was the inventor of the airplane turbo jet engine. Also, don't forget Brancusi, one of the world's greatest sculptors and Nadia Comaneci, the first gymnast to ever receive a perfect 10 for her performance at the Olympics in Montreal, in 1976.
WHAT TO PACK
As the weather in Romania is unpredictable, when a sunny day can turn into a cold, windy and rainy one, it is advised to pack a warm, waterproof jacket. Also, please keep in mind that during winter, the temperatures can go down up to -10°C during the day, and -25°C at night. Spring is beautiful, summers are hot and dry. If it happens to unexpectedly rain, you can barrow an umbrella from the Concierge Desk.
220-240V is the standard Romanian voltage, with two-pin continental type plugs, reason why you should pack a plug / power adaptor, depending on the case.
It's a good idea to buy some Romanian currency before leaving for Bucharest. All payments are in lei, although some hotels will also accept foreign currency. Change money only in official exchange bureaus and refuse all street proposals in this matter. Credit cards are usually accepted.