Bucharest is a city filled with culture. In Romania, this city represents the center of culture, where most Romanian artists move to and create their art. Besides that, in Bucharest you can find some of the most interesting collections of historical artifacts and scientific exhibitions.
The number of museums open in Bucharest can be overwhelming and confusing, especially if you only have a few days to spend here. That is why it is important to know which are those few museums you should pay a visit to and why we recommend them:
The Village Museum
The first open air museum that presents original houses from actual Romanian villages, this establishment opened over 80 years ago in 1936. The concept has since become very popular in Romania and in many other European countries that wished to preserved their traditional heritage. The museum is situated in the largest park in Bucharest – the Herastrau Park – and covers a surface of over 14ha in which it features dozens of old houses taken from all the historical regions of Romania. The houses are put together as in a village with fences, church, windmills and barns. For this reason, walking around the Village Museum will get you acquainted with how the traditional villages in Romanian looked like 50-100 years ago and how people lived back then. Bonus: there are many cats living in this open air museum, which are taken care of by the staff, and they are very friendly and, of course, cute. Best to plan your visit on a sunny day.
Located in the former Royal Palace of the Romanian Royal Family, this museum is perfect for those who love art, be it Romanian or European. The museum is divided into two sepparate bodies. In the left wing you will find European Art, with paintings from famous artists like Rubens, El Greco, Rembrandt or Rodin, while in the right wing you can discover Romanian art starting from the 16th century Byzantine church tradition to 19th century French influenced art and 20th century modernism.
This is the first museum to feature dioramas in the world and it is a fun place for kids to discover the natural world. Adults also can enjoy the experience just as much. It is closed on Mondays, but otherwise open from morning until the evening. The logo of the museum features an elephant, because the most valuale item is a huge skeleton of a prehistoric ancestor of the modern elephants, an item you cannot miss since it is exhibited right at the entrance. Besides this, you will find out about the biodiversity of Romania, the large variety of ecosystems in the world and the history of how humans developed.
Recently opened as a museum for the general public, you will find it inside one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest. The National Bank building is situated right in the Old Town area on the famous Lipscani street and it was built by French architects at the end of the 19th century. Because it represented the most important institutions for the finances of Romania, this building was made to impress its visitos: the amazing imported marble, the gold leaf coverings, the details of its decorations and statues. But the main reason why we recommend visiting this museum is its incredible collection of coins, especially its gold coins. Inside you will see thousands of valuable coins found on the Romanian territory, from coins made in the 6th century BC to special gold coins from the days of the Romanian monarchy or the rare coins issued during the Second World War and then confiscated by the Communist regime. Besides this fascinating introduction into the history of money in Romania, you will get to see a room filled with around 70 kg of gold in the shape of coins and gold bars. For the visit you must make a reservation 2 days in advance by email, but it is free and totally worth it.
THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Opened in the largest building in Bucharest – the Palace of the Parliament – this museum has a large space to exhibit its collections and impress visitors. The great thing about it is that it regularly changes the art displayed, thus giving you the chance to understand what is happening now on the art scene in Romania. There are plenty of exhibition opening parties or discussions with the artists here and that is why it is probably the liveliest museum in Bucharest. At the end of the tour of the art galleries, you can relax at their cafe on the terrace. From here you will have a great view of the surroundings while enjoying one of the best coffee in the country prepared by an award winning barista.