RRI Live!

Listen to Radio Romania International Live

Bucharest on Foot

The first definite documentary attestation of Bucharest dates back to 1459

Foto: Iulia Opran/RRI
Foto: Iulia Opran/RRI

, 16.05.2024, 14:15

The first definite documentary attestation of Bucharest dates back to 1459. With a rich history, the capital of Romania presents itself today as a point of major interest. Some of the tourists are welcomed by a group of enthusiastic and experienced local guides who organize free walking tours. They are led to the most important objectives, always finding out the most interesting information. Today we are learning about three free walking tours: Communism vs. Monarchy, Old Town and Dracula, as well as Old Town and Communism. They have been included for over seven years in a project called Btrip Bucharest Walking Tour.

Marius Burda, the initiator of this project, says that the inspiration came from countries that already had a tradition of free walking tours for tourists.

“I was once in Sweden. I saw a couple of tours in Stockholm and I really liked them. I said that we could adapt something like this for Bucharest as well. In the spring of 2017, we started. I did the project together with Ștefania, my colleague, who is an experienced guide, and we had to work out several details: which route we choose, what a foreigner would be interested in seeing in Bucharest, how we present the city, because, for most of the time it had a bit of a negative image, and we wanted to turn that whole image into a great experience. Then we decided that the first tour would be called Communism versus Monarchy.”

This tour starts from the Romanian Athenaeum, an emblematic building, and ends at the point of maximum interest for foreign tourists, the Palace of Parliament.

“On this route, we are actually talking about two regimes that changed both Romania and Bucharest, communism and the monarchy. We present the last 200 years of history of the city of Bucharest at the architectural, political level. That’s what this tour is based on: beautiful stories about Bucharest. There are many foreign tourists, for example, who come to Bucharest from countries with a tradition of monarchy, from Norway, from England, and then for them this tour is quite easy to understand and attractive. At the same time, they didn’t have communism, and then it’s all the more interesting. Residents of Bucharest or those passing by came, saw the tour, and were surprised. Indeed, we know the history, but somehow a local informs you better about the city. For example, we talk about the Romanian Athenaeum, we say how it was built, what its history was, then we go to the Statue of King Charles, in front of the National Art Museum, where we talk about the monarchy, and in Revolution Square, where we talk about the Romanian revolution. “

Tourists participating in the tour receive a catalog with images that present the evolution of the places visually, from the past to the present. Many remain impressed, shocked to see that, for example, in Revolution Square, 35 years ago, there were tanks and battles. The tour continues on Calea Victoriei, with Marius Burda, tour guide.

There we have a hundred stories. We stop at the former National Theatre. Many do not know, for example, that the former National Theater used to be the site of the Novotel hotel. Bombed in the Second World War, it was subsequently demolished. We then go down to Cișmigiu, where we present to them the most beautiful and oldest park in Bucharest, and the last stop is at the Palace of the Parliament, in Izvor Park, where we tell them how the communist regime transformed the city from scratch. It literally razed an entire neighborhood of houses, with everything that was there, and built one of the largest buildings in the world.”

The second tour is also in English.

It’s called Old Town and Dracula. We only do it in the Old Center area of Bucharest. We meet at Halul lui Manuc, Manuc’s Inn, and there we have a set route only in the central area. In the second tour we present the stories about Old Bucharest, the legend of the city. Many foreigners come to Bucharest and then leave Bucharest for Bran Castle, or Peleș Castle, just being attracted by the legend of Vlad Țepeș. It was a shame not to use this. We present the whole story to them historically, we tell them how the city transformed, how it became Little Paris, then we take them to the Old Center, to see the beautiful churches, at Stavropoleos, at Saint George. We really have something to see.”

The third tour is in Spanish. Marius Burda, tour guide and initiator of the Btrip Bucharest Walking Tour project, says that the decision to have a tour in Spanish came as a result of the large number of tourists speaking this language, who had difficulty understanding English.

“Within our project, we found two very beautiful people, Esu and Gema, originally Spanish, who moved to Romania. With their help, we decided to do a tour for Spanish speakers in Bucharest. The Spanish tour is actually a combination of the two stories from the English tours. We leave with them from Manuc’s Inn and finish the tour at the Palace of the Parliament. It takes about three hours. The other tours last two and a half hours, so we have quite a few stories to tell. Most of them, from my point of view, taking into account that we have a Spanish tour, come from the area of Spain. But many Italians also come. At the same time, many are coming from Germany, from England. We ask how they heard about Bucharest, why they chose Romania, why did they came to Bucharest, how they like Bucharest? Many people have a very good opinion about Bucharest. They say they like the architectural mix. On Calea Victoriei, in a few hundred meters, the architecture changes, they go from old buildings, built over a hundred years ago, to communist buildings. You don’t see something like this in any capital. And in the area of the old center they have everything. Again they are amazed. Our restaurants, our clubs are open until morning. In other European capitals they close at a certain time.”

True friendships are tied at the end of the tours. The proof is the photos on the freetourinbucharest.com website and on social networks. And one of the most important aspects of these tours is that tourists, if they wish, receive all the information to experience Bucharest differently, just like a local.

Mangalia (photo: visitmangalia.ro)
Traveller’s Guide Thursday, 13 June 2024

Mangalia, Major Summer Destination

Located at the south-eastern tip of Romania, on the shores of the Black Sea, Mangalia is an important holiday destination. Here you will find a wide...

Mangalia, Major Summer Destination
Oradea, Art Nouveau Capital of Romania
Traveller’s Guide Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Oradea, Art Nouveau Capital of Romania

Without impressing in size or opulence, the buildings in Oradea have always stood out for their beauty. The city can be a perfect city-break...

Oradea, Art Nouveau Capital of Romania
Padurea Craiului – an Experience for Everyone
Traveller’s Guide Thursday, 23 May 2024

Padurea Craiului – an Experience for Everyone

Thematic paths and hiking trails, caves, mountain running or biking trails, traditional food, these are just some of the ingredients of an...

Padurea Craiului – an Experience for Everyone
The Corvin Castle; photo: Daniel Onea
Traveller’s Guide Thursday, 09 May 2024

The Corvin Castle, a living legend of Transylvania

Along the years this construction has become part of various rankings, being declared one of the most beautiful castles in the world but also one of...

The Corvin Castle, a living legend of Transylvania
Traveller’s Guide Thursday, 02 May 2024

Easter Holidays in Maramures and Bucovina

The Easter holiday is the best opportunity to get to know the Romanian village up close. There are two areas where this celebration gathers the most...

Easter Holidays in Maramures and Bucovina
Traveller’s Guide Thursday, 25 April 2024

Tourism in Valcea

With top spa resorts, Vâlcea county is a suitable destination for any season. In a special landscape, with gentle hills and mountain peaks, we find...

Tourism in Valcea
Traveller’s Guide Thursday, 11 April 2024

Harghita, the Family Friendly County

In the center of Romania, in Harghita county, there is a petting zoo. Contact with animals can be therapeutic, and here you can find deer, Icelandic...

Harghita, the Family Friendly County
Traveller’s Guide Thursday, 04 April 2024

Alba, a Land of Experience and Heritage

In the center of Romania, in Alba county, we find special tourist attractions and products. Alba is a county of diversity. It is a land of sights,...

Alba, a Land of Experience and Heritage

Partners

Muzeul Național al Țăranului Român Muzeul Național al Țăranului Român
Liga Studentilor Romani din Strainatate - LSRS Liga Studentilor Romani din Strainatate - LSRS
Modernism | The Leading Romanian Art Magazine Online Modernism | The Leading Romanian Art Magazine Online
Institului European din România Institului European din România
Institutul Francez din România – Bucureşti Institutul Francez din România – Bucureşti
Muzeul Național de Artă al României Muzeul Național de Artă al României
Le petit Journal Le petit Journal
Radio Prague International Radio Prague International
Muzeul Național de Istorie a României Muzeul Național de Istorie a României
ARCUB ARCUB
Radio Canada International Radio Canada International
Muzeul Național al Satului „Dimitrie Gusti” Muzeul Național al Satului „Dimitrie Gusti”
SWI swissinfo.ch SWI swissinfo.ch
UBB Radio ONLINE UBB Radio ONLINE
Strona główna - English Section - polskieradio.pl Strona główna - English Section - polskieradio.pl
creart - Centrul de Creație Artă și Tradiție al Municipiului Bucuresti creart - Centrul de Creație Artă și Tradiție al Municipiului Bucuresti
italradio italradio
Institutul Confucius Institutul Confucius
BUCPRESS - știri din Cernăuți BUCPRESS - știri din Cernăuți

Affiliates

Euranet Plus Euranet Plus
AIB | the trade association for international broadcasters AIB | the trade association for international broadcasters
Digital Radio Mondiale Digital Radio Mondiale
News and current affairs from Germany and around the world News and current affairs from Germany and around the world
Comunità radiotelevisiva italofona Comunità radiotelevisiva italofona

Providers

RADIOCOM RADIOCOM
Zeno Media - The Everything Audio Company Zeno Media - The Everything Audio Company