The historical district, the heart of old Bucharest, is the place from which evolved the whole city. Here you can find the most ancient monuments of the city. This tour takes you to the most important ones, in almost two hours. It is recommended to start this tour in the morning, on a sunny day. The starting point is at the southern exit of the subway station Piața Unirii 1 in front of the Hotel Horoscop.
The first attraction is the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Metropolitan Hill. It is not located in the Old Town, but yet its history extends to the 17th century, when it was outside of town. The Patriarchal Cathedral was originally the church of the monastery of the Holy Kings Constantine and Helena. Today, from the old monastery, only the church and the bell tower, which was built by St. Constantin Brâncoveanu at the entrance in 1698, survived along the time. The church is now the headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Church in Bucharest and of the Patriarchate of Romania.
B. Union Square
The Union Square is the central square of Bucharest. Although he is now almost completely surrounded by buildings from the years 1984-1987, this place has a long history. For the first time it was mentioned in 1563 as the Great Square, which was much smaller than today. Until the 20th century, on this site were the Union Halls. Underneath the square flows today the river Dâmbovița.
An the north side of the Union Square is Manuc’s Inn, one of the newer inns of the city, built around 1800. It can be seen as a symbol of traditional Romanian architecture, which is mainly to find in the courtyard of the inn: Wooden balconies and covered stairs in the courtyard, steep, high shingle roofs, etc.
The St. Anthony Church is located directly opposite to the Manuc’s Inn. It is one of the oldest churches in the city, even in the 16th century coronations of Romanian rulers took place in this building. Today, after many changes over the years, the church has recieved its original appearance, a very unique one for Bucharest.
E. Hotel Concordia
Hotel Concordia is quite small, but plays a high role in the history of Romania. The union of the Romanian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia was decided and Alexandru Ioan Cuza was elected as ruler of the United Principalities on 24 January 1859 in this building. Today a museum about the Union will open after the extensive renovations.
F. St. Demetrius Church
The St. Demetrius Church is located next to the Post Palace, so it is often also known as St. Demetrius Post Church. The church was built in 1819 and houses the relics of several saints: St. Panteleimon, St. Antipas and St. Charalambos. Today the church is undergoing renovation.
The Post Street leads us past an imposing building, the National History Museum of Romania, also known as Post Palace. The main entrance is on the other side of the building, on the Victory Avenue. The palace was built in 1892, in place of the Constantin Brâncoveanu Inn, which was destroyed by the big fire in 1847.
H. Caru’ cu Bere
Right next to the Post Palace you’ll find the restaurant Caru’ cu Bere (The Beer Cart), which is known not only among locals, but also among foreigners. The restaurant has a rich history, because already in the interwar period it was one of the city’s most popular and well-known restaurants. Today, traditional Romanian dishes are served here.
Right nearby is the probably most beautiful church in Bucharest, the Stavropoleos Church, part of the Stavropoleos Monastery. The church is quite small, but it has a high architectural value. In the monastery courtyard you can finds grave stones and other ancient objects which may arouse the interest of archaeologists.
J. BNR Palace
The BNR Palace (Palace of the Romanian National Bank) located on Lipscani Street, the main street of the Old Town. The palace was built in 1884 on the site of the former largest inn of Bucharest, the Șerban Vodă Inn. Excavated ruins of the inn can be seen in front of the palace.
K. Macca-Villacrosse Passage
From the Victory Avenue open two passages towards the Old Town, the passages Macca and Villacrosse. Both are covered with yellowish glass, the passage Villacrosse entirely and the passage Macca only halfway. Both were built in 1891 in place of the Câmpineanu Inn.
L. University of Bucharest
The University Palace was built in 1869 in place of the St. Sava Monastery and the Royal Academy, which was founded in 1694 by St. Constantin Brâncoveanu. Today, the palace is home to the faculties of geography, mathematics, computer science, philosophy, foreign languages and history.
M. Russian Church
The Russian Church, also known as the Church of St. Nicholas, was built between 1905 and 1909 by the Russian Ambassador in Bucharest and is the only church in Bucharest which was built in Russian style. The church is not very big, compared to those in Russia, and yet it is a magnificent church. It has six towers with gilded domes.
N. Stock Exchange Palace
The Palace of Stock Exchange was built in 1912 by the Romanian architect Ștefan Burcuș. Initially it was seat of the Romanian Stock Market. From 1955, it functioned as National Library of Romania, which moved in a building on the Union Boulevard in 2008. Currently, the building is owned by the Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Bucharest.
O. St. Nicholas Saddler’s Church
In this location stood already in 1676 a church which was completely demolished after the earthquake in 1802. The present church, built in 1867, is now located in the northern part of the Old Town, on Furrier Street.
P. Linden Inn
The Linden Inn was built in 1833 by the merchants Anastasie Polizu and Ștefan Popovici. The inn consists of two symmetrical wings, in between which there is a wide passage in which once grew Linden trees. Today the former inn hosts art galleries and antique shops.
Q. Gabrovian Inn
The Gabrovian Inn was named after the Bulgarian merchants from the town of Gabrovo. It was built between 1804 and 1818. In the interwar period here opened the luxurious Hotel Gabroveni-Universal. Today, after extensive renovations, which were performed between 2009 and 2014, it opened as cultural center ARCUB.
R. Rome Square
In place of today’s Rome Square was formerly the St. George Square, one of the main squares of the old city. In 1938, the place was almost completely demolished because of the new I.C. Brătianu Boulevard, which was built right through the old square. Today, the square is called Rome Square because of the statue of the she-wolf, which was brought here in 2010.
S. New St. George’s Church
The New St. George’s Church is located in a park opposite to the Rome Square. It can be reached through the Latin Underground Passage. This church was founded by St. Constantin Brâncoveanu in the 17th century and has gone through many changes over time, until it regained its original appearance in the late 20th century.
T. Old St. George’s Church
The Old St. George’s Church is located behind a row of houses on the Elderly Avenue. The church is more impressive than the previous one, it is larger and more spacious. It was founded in the 15th century and is one of the oldest churches in Bucharest. In the 16th century, this church was the seat of Ungro-Wallachian Metropolis.
U. Bărăția Church
The Bărăția Church is the oldest Catholic church in Bucharest, in this location stood already in the 17th century a wooden Franciscan church. Bărățias as this one exist in other cities of Wallachia too. Noteworthy is especially the imposing clock tower in front of the church.
V. New St. John’s Church
This church dates from 1818. It is a perfect example of the fate of churches in Bucharest during the communist regime. Originally this church was situated 23 meters further in the direction of the Union Square. In 1987, the church was moved to its present location and hidden behind a communist building.
Here ends the historic city tour, at the Union Square. From here, you can use the subway or take a bus to visit other areas of Bucharest.