Beautiful Historical Sites in Old Town 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

Take a guided tour of Old Town Bucharest

Bucharest is Romania’s most visited city, a surprising destination with a complicated history and plenty of attractions to impress. If you have only a few hours to explore it, start with the must-see sites from Old Town Bucharest.

1. The old merchant streets

Packed with bars and restaurants, the narrow streets from Old Town Bucharest were once the commercial center of the city. Their name is a reminder of past days when merchants traveled for months to bring back valuable goods. Lipscani, named after Leipzig from where the merchants brought their products, is the most important. The street is the backbone of Old Town Bucharest and intersects Victoriei Avenue and Bratianu Boulevard. The National Bank of Romania, the Linden In, and the spectacular bookstore Carturesti are the main attractions.

old town bucharest

Stavropoleos Street

Don’t miss Gabroveni, Selari, Blanari, and Covaci streets.

2. The former banks

Old Town Bucharest was one century ago the financial heart of the capital. The most important banks and financial institutions were all here. Imposing headquarters were the symbol of their power that reached its peak before the world crisis of 1929.

old town bucharest

Former bank edifice, Lipscani Street

Besides the Neo-Classic edifice of the National Bank, you can admire the Genovese-style palace of the former Chrissoveloni Bank, the former Marmorosch Blank Bank now a hotel, or the former Banca de Credit Roman from Stavropoleos Street.

3. The old churches

You can find in the Old Town three of the most beautiful churches in Bucharest: Stavropoleos, Zlatari, and Selari. Dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, all three are well worth your time. Stavropoleos is one of the best examples of the local ‘Brancovenesc style’, while Zlatari and Selari have paintings by Gheorghe Tattarescu, one of the most preeminent religious artists in Romania.

Stavropoleos Church

Stavropoleos Church

Discover more churches you should visit in Bucharest.

4. The old inns

Bucharest’s Old Town was once located on the prosperous commercial route that linked the east and west of the continent. A lot of merchants stayed in the city on their long journeys while others settled here for good. For them, the inns were the best accommodation option of the time.

Only two of the 19th-century inns survive today, Manuc, located in front of the Old Court, and the Linden Inn from Lipscani Street. While you can admire the first enjoying a cold drink at its interior court restaurant, the second houses small art shops. The ruins of an older inn, Serban Voda, are covered with glass in front of the National Bank of Romania.

Find out more about the history of Bucharest.

5. The Old Court

The Old Court, the residence of medieval princes, including Vlad the Impaler, is the oldest site you can visit in Bucharest. Built in the 15th century, the Old Court was very small compared to the almost 25,000 square meters surface it reached during its glory days. By the end of the 18th century, it was abandoned in favor of the New Court that no longer exists today.

old town Bucharest

The ruins of the Old Court

Check the visiting schedule of the Old Princely Court Museum.

6. The Macca-Villacrosse Passage

The Macca-Vilacrosse Passage connects the Old Town with Victoriei Avenue. Built on the place of a disappeared inn, like many of the monuments from the Old Town, this yellow glass-covered passage is one of the best-known images of Bucharest. It’s also one of the best shortcuts if you want to avoid University Square.

7. The Old Palace of the Chamber of Commerce

This impressive building dates from the early 20th century when it hosted the Trade Stock headquarters. It’s one of the best examples of the monumental architecture that changed the image of Bucharest during the time of King Carol the 1st. A splendid sculpture of a lion surrounded by symbols of industry and God Mercury, done by Emil Becker, the sculptor of the Royal House, adorns the entrance.

Old Town Bucharest

The Old Palace of the Chamber of Commerce

The roof decorations were done by Alexandru Dumitriu who also worked on the Atheneum, the Patriarchy, the City Hall, and the main railway station Gara de Nord. From 1955 until 2012, the monument housed the National Library, while today its ground floor is occupied by a flea market.

These are the highlights of Bucharest’s Old Town you shouldn’t miss, but there’s more to see, including the very interesting numismatic museum from the National Bank, the National Museum of History, and the fun to visit Kitsch Museum.

For the complete experience of the Old Town, cross the Boulevard I.C. Bratianu and explore the streets behind Coltea Hospital and Saint Gheorghe Nou Church.

Don’t miss the Choral Temple, the Great Synagogue, and the Museum of History of the Jewish Community.

Where to stay in Bucharest

Don’t forget to book your accommodation in time to be sure you get the best deals. You can find below a hand-picked selection of our favorite places to stay in Bucharest.

If you prefer a central hotel, our recommendations are Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest, Mansion Boutique Hotel, Grand Boutique Hotel, and Grand Hotel Continental. Check also Epoque Hotel, Cismigiu Hotel, and Marmorosch Hotel.

Booking an apartment is also a popular and more budget-friendly option. While there are hundreds of choices, we can help narrow down your list. Our suggestions are Vila Cotroceni Boutique, University Central, Bucharest Residence, Diana’s Flat, Cismigiu Orchid Garden, and Studio Old Town.

If hostels are your thing, try Umbrella Hostel, Podstel Bucharest, or First Hostel Bucharest.


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