Author: Cristiana-Teodora Ușurelu
Bucharest is one of the hidden jewels of Eastern Europe that usually does not receive its deserved time in the spotlight. But the city hides a lot of charming buildings rich in history, unique churches, and monasteries, beautiful chic streets, and boulevards and parks. To help you get better acquainted with your new home, I have gathered 10 essential pieces of information about Bucharest, some better-known facts than others, yet all worth knowing!
The legend says that Bucharest was founded by a rich shepherd named Bucur, who wanted to lead his sheep and dogs to the Danube but chose to remain by the Dâmbovița River. He built a large house for him and his daughter, Ana, and also a small church, „Bisericuţa lui Bucur” (The Church of Bucur), standing tall in the city to this day. Other Romanians, Greeks, Russians, and Turks settled down around Bucur’s house and, after a few centuries, the city of Bucharest was born. The name „Bucur” is derived from the Romanian word „bucurie” which translates to „joy”, and makes Bucharest „the city of joy”.
Bucharest started to get its nickname „Little Paris” at the beginning of the 1900s. The beautiful and elegant architecture was one of the major reasons for it. Bucharest has its own Arc de Triomphe, inspired by the famous one in Paris, although significantly smaller than the original. Several boulevards and avenues were designed after the French style, one example being Unirii Boulevard to resemble the iconic Champs-Élysées.
The citizens frequently traveling to Paris for holidays and to study also added to the „Little Paris” dubbing. Locals began to greet each other in French, a custom that still exists nowadays. It is not surprising to hear Romanians say „Mersi!” when showing their gratitude.