Situated in the southeast of Romania, the bustling capital of Bucharest has been an economic center since antiquity. It is nestled on the Dambovita River and against the Vlasia forests, which drew rulers to build their castles and homes here since the time of Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Throughout its history, it has soaked up Turkish, Greek, Balkan and Russian cultures, creating a mix of cuisine and elevated high art from painters to musicians. However, Bucharest is probably most noted for being the seat of power for Nicolae Ceausescu, the Soviet-era dictator who razed entire historical sections of the city for his grandiose designs of state architecture. In the end, Ceausescu was forced to run out of his own establishment by an angry mob after more than 20 years of rule, and subsequently tried and killed.
Romania’s capital will keep visitors captive during the days in Bucharest, as the city is rife with history and rich in culture. You can visit historic landmarks and sites of the Soviet era such as Ceausescu’s grand Centru Civic as well as the Revolution Square, where he was shouted down and chased out, intermingle with quarters from centuries past.
The historic center brings visitors back to a quaint Romanian life in the 17th century, and the Patriarchal Cathedral offers stunning icons and frescoes as well as a view over Bucharest from atop a hill. Art lovers will revel in the impressive collections of art because of city’s stature in the world of classical music as well as the palace of the man who was the real-life inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula is situated here.
Bucharest and its surroundings area are wonderful to drive around, with spectacular scenery and impressive sights along the Dambovita River. For wintertime visitors, the bordering Carpathian mountain range offers premier skiing facilities in the region, with picturesque, tree-lined trails that aren’t graded too difficult, and the area offers exquisite resorts and accommodation.