Top 10 Old Churches from Bucharest You Should See

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

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The old Orthodox churches from Bucharest aren’t probably the first option that comes to mind when you think of all the places you can see in the capital. But many of these monuments are well worth your time even if you’re not into religious services or the Church for that matter.

If you’re curious enough to go inside, you’ll see centuries-old paintings and rare objects, and you’ll get to live a completely distinct experience. Our top 10 old churches from Bucharest will guide you in choosing the most impressive ones.

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1. Stavropoleos Church

Situated in the heart of the Old Town, this iconic church is impossible to miss. Omnipresent in all the travel guides, Stavropoleos Church was built in the early 18th century. It’s one of the best representations of the ‘Brancovenesc’ architectural style that combines local elements with Italian and Byzantine influences. Don’t miss the small interior court of the monastery where you can see fragments of demolished churches and old funeral stones.

Stavropoleos Church

Stavropoleos Church

2. Coltea Church

Built more than three centuries ago, the church highlights the same ‘Brancovenesc’ style as Stavropoleos. Initially part of a fortified monastery that was later destroyed to make space for the current boulevard that goes up to the University Square, the church still conserves on its porch walls the original paintings done by Parvu Mutu. Its interior walls have Renaissance paintings done centuries later by Gheorghe Tattarescu.

The statue of the church’s founder, Mihai Cantacuzino, stands in front of the neighboring Coltea Hospital. Done from Carrara marble by Karl Storck, this is the first statue from Bucharest.

old churches from Bucharest

Detail with the coat of arms of the founder

3. Antim Church

This church is one of the few saved from the demolitions ordered by the communist authorities in the last years of the regime. Built between 1713 and 1715 by Antim Ivireanul, the church has the same ‘Brancovenesc’ style as the previous ones. Here functioned the first public library in Bucharest and an important book publishing center. Despite its importance, the monument was moved, in January 1985, some 20 meters away to make space for the new blocks of the communist Civic Center.

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old churches in Bucharest

Antim Church

4. Schitu Darvari

Walking to this small church will take you far away from the noisy central boulevards, giving you the chance to explore the quieter streets of Bucharest. Hidden behind solid walls, the church that dates from 1834 was declared a historical monument along with its monastery, restored after being closed for decades by the communist regime. Its tranquility, beautiful icons, and garden make it a locals’ favorite.

Churches from Bucharest

Schitu Darvari

5. Kretzulescu Church

With its imposing brick façade, this church is one of the main monuments from Revolution Square. The church was built in 1722 by the daughter of Prince Constantin Brancoveanu and her husband in the same ‘Brancovenesc’ style as were other churches included in our list Located where once was the northern border of Bucharest, the church miraculously survived the bombings from 1944, the numerous demolitions from the communist time, the revolution days from 1989, and many earthquakes.

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Churches from Bucharest

Kretzulescu Church

6. Mihai Voda Church

This is one of the oldest and most interesting churches in Bucharest. Built by Prince Mihai Viteazu over 400 years ago, the church was part of a large monastery that also served as a hospital, medical school, and even as an archive deposit. Despite its historical value, the church barely escaped the communist demolitions.

Mihai Voda Church

Mihai Voda Church

Only the church and the bell tower survived, moved almost 300 meters from their original location, while the monastery collapsed under communist bulldozers. The small church has some of the most intriguing interior paintings that represent a unique historical testimony of WW1 and a controversial military figure of WW2.

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7. Spiridon Church

The largest church in Bucharest, Spiridon Church is impressive not only when it comes to its proportions, 38 meters tall and 41 meters long, but especially for its Renaissance-style interior paintings done by Gheorghe Tattarescu. Built between 1852 and 1858, the church combines Neo-Gothic, Neo-Byzantine, and Neo-Classic architectural elements, with some influences from the local ‘Brancovenesc’ style.

Very close, behind the apartment blocks from Dimitrie Cantemir Boulevard, in the garden of an older church, you’ll find a stone cross that dates from 1632.

Churches in Bucharest

Spiridon Church

8. Radu Voda Church

Some 10 minutes from the central Unirii Square, across the Dambovita River, you’ll see one of the oldest monuments in Bucharest. The monastery Radu Voda dates from 1614, built in the place of another church, blown up by the Ottoman army during a devastating attack. Its architecture was inspired by the features of Curtea de Arges Monastery, one of the most important religious monuments in Romania.

The church is very popular with local worshipers who believe the saint remains from the church help cure diseases. In the court of the church, you’ll also see the bell tower of the original 16th-century monument.

old churches from Bucharest

Radu Voda Church

9. Bucur Church

Local folklore places this church as the oldest in the capital although it most likely dates from the 18th century. Located right across the street from Radu Voda, Bucur Church is a miniature compared to the latest religious buildings from Romania. Initially a chapel for the nearby monastery, this church is so tiny that you might just miss it. It has a splendid collection of icons and an overwhelming feeling of tranquility even if it’s so close to the noisy Unirii Square.

Churches from Bucharest

Bucur Church

10. The Patriarchy

The Patriarchy, the most important church in the Orthodox religious hierarchy, concludes our top 10 of the most beautiful old churches from Bucharest. Located only minutes away from the Old Town, this church dates from the second part of the 17th century.

It became a Metropolitan Cathedral in 1668 and a Patriarchy after the First World War. It’s today the most popular pilgrimage place in Bucharest. So popular that worshipers’ queues reach several kilometers during major religious celebrations from May 21 and October 27. You’d better avoid these days if you’re looking for a quiet time to visit the church.

old churches from Bucharest

The Patriarchy Church

Like all cities in Romania, Bucharest has many churches. These centuries-old landmarks go beyond their religious function, creating a rare and memorable cultural experience.

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