The Village Museum: The Rural Heart of Bucharest
The Village Museum of Bucharest is one of those few places that take us back to the past and inspire us to understand and appreciate it for its true value. Extending on 14 hectares, in one of the capital’s most beautiful and largest parks, Herastrau, the Village Museum is one of the first open-air ethnographic museums in the world.
This must-see museum recreates the past three centuries of the Romanian village, obtaining on an almost surreal experience in urban Bucharest. The Village Museum currently displays 346 house and more than 53,000 objects, unique peasant homes and technical installations, moved from their original location and rebuilt according to the original techniques, including watermills, oil presses, fountains, roadside crucifixes and churches.
The houses are organized according to their historical region, offering a rare opportunity to compare in just a few hours the diversity of architectural styles from Romania’s provinces, a clear sign of their history and social realities.
The existence of the Village Museum of Bucharest is the result of remarkable efforts led throughout the decades to protect the cultural heritage of Romania’s traditional villages. The museum was created in 1936, after 10 years of field research coordinated by Professor Dimitrie Gusti, one of the most notable personalities in the Romanian sociology. In this first stage, 29 houses from all over the country, water mills, windmills and other traditional elements of rural architecture were dissembled and brought to Bucharest where they were carefully reassembled.
Despite its promising beginnings, the museum faced difficult times during the Second World Ward when it was used to host refugees and even harsher in the communist decades when destroying the traditional village was a main ideological, political and economic objective of the regime. But, the Village Museum managed to survive and grow, adding new elements of folk architecture to its collection, safeguarding the story of centuries of rural creation.
The Village Museum of Bucharest is and will most likely remain one of the main attractions of Bucharest where visitors can spend hours discovering the authenticity of rural Romania, the creative, the inventive and artistic nature of the Romanian peasant. A long visit to the Village Museum is definitely one of the best things to do in Bucharest, whether you’re a local or a tourist.
The Village Museum Bucharest hosts many traditional fairs, usually on religious holidays, with a rich display of traditional food and crafts.
You can buy authentic and hand-made rural creations or serve lunch in the historical inn located inside the museum.