Among the first things noticed by foreign tourists visiting Bucharest are its beautiful parks. And there are still a few large green areas that give the city an air of tranquility in a natural surrounding. We say “still” because in the last twenty years, we have seen a real race for using all the available urban space to build something: an office building, or a shopping mall, or an apartment complex. Slowly, the green open spaces have become scarce and more precious.
Looking at the Bucharest map, you will see it dotted by green spots, but there are at least ten large parks covering more than 100.000 square meters each. As the parks are managed by each district municipalities (there are six different municipalities in Bucharest called “sectors” from one to six), they have recently entered a kind of mutual competition in order to show that their parks are more beautiful than the others in the neighborhood. Parks were cleaned, ingeniously landscaped, and sprinkled with children’s playgrounds or skate tracks.
Spending a day in Bucharest parks could be a wonderful idea if you are in love with romance and nature, or if you are an avid photographer looking for the perfect picture to impress your friends and relatives back home. Do it between April and October and you will not regret it. These are the first five beautiful parks in Bucharest you should not miss.
It is one of the largest park in the city, covering more than 1 million square meters, and it is probably the first one you will notice in your way in from the airport. Located in the northern part of Bucharest, Herăstrău Park lies around a fairly large lake and it hosts one of the most interesting museums in Bucharest – the Village Museum. Do not miss the park if you go to the museum and do not miss the museum if you go to see this park.
Not far from the Village Museum but still in the park, you will see Palatul Elisabeta (Elisabeth Palace) which is the official residence of King Michael of Romania. This is the place where Michael was forced by the communists to sign his abdication on December 30, 1947, just shortly before he went into exile with his family.
The northern part hosts the only golf course in Bucharest within the Diplomatic Club, and there is a small Japanese garden nearby the Arch of Triumph. On the lake, there are small rowboats for rent, or you can buy tickets for the big boat and spend around 45 minutes on the water. Herăstrău Park is also an excellent place for running or jogging.
You can reach Herăstrău park by metro (Aviatorilor on the blue line) or by public bus 331, 131 (from the city center), 205 (from Gara de Nord), 335.
This is the oldest and the most central park in Bucharest. It is a historical monument of the city and it is arranged in English style with diverse vegetation and lawns and polychrome rows of flowers. “Cişmea” is an old Turkish word, later adopted into the Romanian language and is the outdoor
metal facility used for pumping water to be used in a household. “Cişmigiu” was the name given to the person in charge with overseeing these installations in the city. Back in 1779, such a facility was installed in the areawhi his now covered by the park, and this created a puddle of water in the middle of the city. This puddle was later transformed into a lake, and the area became a public garden in 1847. At that time, it was creatively landscaped by Wilhelm Mayer, the former director of the Vienna Imperial Gardens.
Metro: Izvor on red or yellow lines.
Carol I Park
Carol I was the first king of Romania and this park named after him was inaugurated in 1906 to celebrate 40 years of his reign. The park was initially designed by the French architect Edouard Redont and organized by the academician Constantin Istrati, a former mayor of Bucharest. A small artificial pond was created under the central alley.
This impressive monument that can be seen from any corner of the park was inaugurated in 1963 and was dedicated to the “heroes of the fights for the freedom of the people and the country, for the socialism.” Up to 1991, the mausoleum housed the tombs of some important representatives of communism in Romania (former heads of the Communist party, ministers, etc). After the anti-communist revolution of 1989, the monument was gotten rid of and the tombs of the Communist leaders were moved to other cemeteries. Following some contradictory discussions about its future role, in 2006 the monument became a memorial dedicated to the Nation’s Heroes.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
It was initially inaugurated in 1923 and dedicated to the memory of the more than 200.000 Romanian soldiers who died in the World War I. The Royal Family, members of the government, and a large audience were present at the unveiling. Later on, in 1958 and in order to make room for the new mausoleum, the Communist government moved the tomb to Mărăşeşti (in Moldavia, in the east of Romania), in front of the Mărăşeşti mausoleum. Following the political changes beginning in 1989, the Tomb of the Unkwnown Soldier was installed again on the original location in 2006.
Dimitrie Leonida Technical Museum
The National Technical Museum – as it was initially called – was founded in 1909 by professor and engineer Dimitrie Leonida, following the model of the National Technical Museum in Munich. It displays over 5000 exhibits including the first steam engine and the first power plant in Romania, the first aerodynamic vehicle built in 1923, and the model of Vuia aircraft – the first aircraft in the world to take off by itself in 1906. It is especially attractive for young people as they can see and experiment with different mechanisms that illustrate the laws of mechanics, electricity or magnetism.
Metro: Eroii Revoluţiei on the blue line.
It is the largest park in Bucharest and a big green island in the south of Bucharest. It was created between 1965 and 1974 in order to balance a very large residential area hosting more than 8000 people, most of them living in apartment buildings. The Communist authorities wanted it to be a place for promenades and recreation for the working class. The park also includes a natural lake with three islands connected by arched bridges.It is the perfect place for jogging if you live in the southern part of the city.
Metro: Tineretului on the blue line.