Until the second half of the 19th century, the city was described by foreign travelers as a strange mixture of Oriental and West European influences, since Bucharest was under the Ottoman Empire control for almost two hundred years. In less than a century, the city became the state capital and it flourished as one of the most beautiful Southeast European cites.
The first decades of the 20th century represent the Golden age of Bucharest, as it was known as “Little Paris”. Unfortunately, the city lost most of its old glamour and pre-war beauty during the destructive and oppressive communist regime which ruled the country for fifty years. Despite all that, Bucharest offers to its guests a dazzling blend of different eras – grey buildings from Nicolae Ceausescu’s period, beautiful French palaces inspired by French architecture, 21st century glass and steel office buildings or remains of medieval churches and courts.
We invite you to discover, in a two hour tour, the proof of its lost glory and modern beauty.
Included Services: transport and certified national guide.
Entrance fees not included.
Photo stops and historical presentation at the Military Academy on request.
Bucharest – From Bucur the Shepherd to Count Dracula
Every city has its legends, more or less true, about their founders. Bucharest makes no exception, there are several stories about a shepherd named Bucur. It is told that Bucur lived on the banks of Dambovita river, taking care of his sheep and enchanting travelers with his flute. They say he built a church on the right bank of the river, around which a village grew in time.
Another legend says the shepherd Bucur was engaged to a lovely young lady, Dambovita, daughter of a poor ranger who lived in a forest. One day, a young prince got lost in the forest and Dambovita helped him get back to his companions. Charmed by her beauty and gentleness, the prince asked her to marry him. Dambovita turned him down and told him that she was already promised to another man. The prince, willing to thank her for her help, gave her a penknife and a spinning top which could fulfill any wish. In order to prove to her fiancé that she was faithful to him, Dambovita hit a stone with the penknife and a spring burst out of the stone. The river was named after Dambovita and the settlement she and her fiancé built was named after Bucur – Bucuresti.
The legend of the shepherd called Bucur was widely spread between common people, although historians often disregard this legend and say that there is no historical truth in it. According to them, the first historical mention of Bucharest dates back to the reign of Prince Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), on 20th of September 1459. Vlad Tepes, or – as he is known in Western Europe – Dracula, built a princely residence and a military citadel in Bucharest during that period. Remains of that medieval court can be seen today in the center of the city, namely The Old Princely Court.