Friday, December 9, 2011

The Victory Avenue

Victory Avenue (Calea Victoriei) is perhaps the most representative street of Bucharest; it's one of the city's oldest , longest (about 3 Km) and most interesting streets; it runs between two major squares: Victoria Square in the north and close to Unirii Square in the south.

The northern part of the street has beautiful houses and palaces, the southern part is more comercial and includes shops, banks, hotels, restaurants, cafes. So, it is recommended that you start your stroll in the northern part, and when you reach the southern part you're ready to relax and treat yourself to a good meal or a coffee and cake at one of the restaurants/ cafes in the area. You deserve it.

A walk along Calea Victoriei is a good lesson both in architecture and history.

The buildings here are a mixture of neocclassical style architecture and communist era structures. Many buildings bear the following little sign which reads:' Historical Monument' (Monument Istoric) offering details in three languages: romanian, english, french.

sign on outer wall : Historical Monument

Here are a few buildings and monuments of interest:

Cantacuzino Palace which houses the George Enescu Museum of music. George Enescu was Romania's greatest composer and he was married to a widow from the Cantacuzino family. The museum is dedicated to his life and music. It displays documents and objects belonging to him, among them his first violin he got at the age of four(4).

'George Enescu' Museum in Cantacuzino Palace

The CEC Palace whose building was completed in 1900, serves as headquarters of the national savings bank. This impressive palace is not open to customers.
The daily banking activity takes place in an adjacent building.

CEC Palace

CEC Bank

Military National Club (Cercul Militar National) - This palace was built in 1912 on the spot of former Sarindar monastery. It has reception halls, a library, conference rooms, performance hall, a book shop, a restaurant. Most of the building is reserved for the social and cultural needs of the army people. In front of the palace there's a fountain .

Military Club

Odeon Theatre
- one of the best and most elegant theatres in Bucharest. It is located in a tiny square between Majestic Hotel building and an appartement building.

In front of the theater there's a water fountain and a statue of the turkish figure of Kemal Ataturk.

Odeon Theatre

The Monument of the Rebirth - in Revolution Square ( In the same square there's also the rebuilt equestrian statue of King Carol 1 - see top picture). It's a white marble triangle which commemorates the victims of the 1989 revolution and it symbolizes freedom rising up through a dark cloud. It was here in Revolution Square , on the balcony above the entrance to the former Central Commitee that dictator Ceausescu held his last speech.

Monument of the Rebirth

This memorial is controversial to this day. The citizens of Bucharest are not happy with its design and refer to it as the " olive on a toothpick", "potato on a stick", "meatball on a spike", etc..
It would appear that the revolution that killed Ceausescu, also "killed" the designer of the monument.


  1. Again a very interesting post. As are all your posts. So educational! I like your idea of starting in the northern part so you can relax with a little treat when you reach the southern part!

    It's amazing to me how similar the languages are. In Spanish Victory Avenue would be Calle Victoria which is almost the same as Calea Victoriei!

    Odd thing is I really like the Monument of the Rebirth. The way you describe what it is meant to represent depicts it exactly...freedom rising up through a dark cloud. You wouldn't want a monument that looks just like very other monument on Earth. For instance, the equestrian monument looks like lots of other monuments I've seen, but the Rebirth one is truly unique!

    Thank you for sharing your part of the world with us! It's always enlightening and enjoyable DUTA.

  2. I can't stress enough how much I delight in reading your blog. It is as if I were walking along side you as we enjoy the design through an historical perspective.

    Truly amazing and thankfully still standing strong.

  3. I love the architectural photos and rich history! You have such an amazing way of bringing everything to life in your posts.

    Have a GREAT weekend Duta!!:D

  4. Thanks for the wonderful tour again, Duta. If I could be there in person, I would want to see everything you share with us. I very much appreciate and look forward to your posts.

  5. I like seeing these beautiful palaces! The last one is funny, how people refer to it!

  6. Are you still there? Goodness, you brought same "home" to me, thank you.

  7. There is so much to see!
    I was impressed with the Odeon Theater, it is dwarfed by its surroundings, and by the Rebirth monument. I can understand the feelings of the people about the Rebirth, and I thank you for the explanation of it. To me, it looks rather like a pierced egg...

  8. Duta
    Everything is so beautiful except the Rebirth Monument. I can understand the feelings the citizens have because it is like a sore thumb which is so out of place with the surrounding beautiful buildings. The person who approved the design should have his head examine. Peace

  9. What a beautiful place! The architecture is so interesting. How wonderfully maintained. Especially liked the theatre. Your postings provide me experiences I would never be able to achieve on my own. Thank you, Duta!

  10. Lovely pics from Bucharest along with in depth incisive narration.Beautiful majestic regal palaces,monuments, edifices. Is Romania now totally free from Communists?

  11. Beautiful pictures and informative text!!

  12. Alicia,

    Romanian belongs to the latin group of languages which includes spanish, italian, portuguese.. hence the similarity.

    As for the monument of the Rebirth - I like the white marble. White represents purity, and in this case maybe purity of the struggle against the regime and of the fallen heroes of the revolution.


    Walking alongside with me ...Wow! I sure would have enjoyed your company.

    Lisa Petrarca,

    Thank you. Have a great weekend too!


    Thanks a lot. Who knows, you may have the chance to be there in person one day.


    You mean the monument, it looks funny to you. Well, many people think the design is not appropriate to what it was intended to represent.

  13. Lumi Ro,

    Yes, I'm still there (not physically). After my return from my visit to Bucharest , I decided to write a series of 5-6 posts on it. It's not much.


    Indeed, Odeon Theatre looks "dwarfed by its surroundings". However, inside it looks great and elegant.

    Lady Di Tn,

    As you know 'Beauty is in the eyes of the Beholder'. In this case, your opinion is shared by many of the people of Bucharest city.

    C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    The palaces and old houses are indeed well-maintained, so that every generation can enjoy their beauty, history, and architecture.

  14. I love this architecture - it's so European-mixture of decorations and monumental huge forms:)

  15. What a rich and beautiful post here!!! I adore seein' the detailed work on the architecture. It's simply magnificent. Loved that castle but ya cracked me with 'the olive on a toothpick'. I do see it! Heeehehehe!

    Thanks again for another educational and most interesting post sweetie.

    God bless and have an outstandin' day my friend. :o)

  16. R. Ramakrishnan,

    Thank you.
    Romania is now a member of the European Union and has to comply with the european standards.

    I guess there is stiil some communist influence here and there. Bad habits are hard to get rid of, as the saying goes.

    Phivos Nicolaides,

    Thanks. I wish I could insert some more photos but 'more is less'; it might be tiresome for the reader.


    Me' too. It's neo-classical architecture with attention to details and emphasis on columns, decorations,balconies, doomed roof.

  17. Many thanks my dear friend Duta, for so interesting tour!!!
    Wonderful photos of beautiful buildings!!!
    Many greetings and kisses

  18. Thanks for commenting on my blog and saying I am a good reviewer.


  19. Beautiful Duta! Thank you so much for sharing the lyrics from Love Story! Do you have something that you are deeply grateful for that you would like to add to this year's Gratitude Word Quilt? It will be posted on December 31st. So far I have collected 71 words of thanks from people around the world!

  20. Thank you for visiting my blog Duta. I enjoyed seeing yours too and all the wonderful places you have visited to share with us. I think now i may have to put Bucharest on my bucket list. It is so beautiful. Great blog...

  21. Amazing structures -- how fortunate you are to be surrounded by such beauty.

    And thank you for your visit to my blog and your kind comment. I appreciate it very much. :)

  22. magda,

    Yes, the buildings are beautiful, aren't they?
    I'm glad you like my photos.


    You're welcome! I've really enjoyed your review of the book.


    Well, I'm grateful to God for giving me life and the ability to enjoy its daily pleasures.

    Ross Lynem,

    You just do that...put Bucharest on your bucket list. This city is worth a visit.

    Nancy @a Rural Journal,

    Thank you for the comment.

    I WAS surrounded by that beauty during my stay in Bucharest. Now I'm back home.

  23. I'm seriously impressed with these buildings, not quite what I expected. Informative post.

  24. J_on_tour@jayspaze,

    Impressive buildings indeed. I realized here that I needed a better camera to be able to capture the details and carvings on these buildings.