Enjoy a rich landscape of rolling green hills and quaint towns as you make your way through Romania's countryside while en route to the capital city of Bucharest. Once considered the Paris of the East for its long leafy avenues, elegant buildings and distinguished social scene, today's Bucharest is a fascinating blend of both old and new. Here, you'll find an eclectic combination of architecture that mixes charming historical buildings along with those of the Communist-era and some highly modern structures as well.
Arriving in Bucharest you will first travel to the Palace of Parliament for a photo stop. Formerly known as the Palace of the People, the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. This grandiose building was built and furnished exclusively with native Romanian materials and reflects the work of the country's best artisans and craftsmen. It has been reported that during the last years of construction, this structure and the Centrul Civic created such a massive demand for Romanian marble that headstones throughout the country had to be made from alternate materials.
Your tour continues on to the Patriarchal Church. Built between 1654 and 1658, an outstanding bell tower greets you at the entrance and the beautiful Byzantine interior reveals exquisitely carved side altars, frescoes and a remarkable icon depicting Constantin and Helen that dates back to 1665. Adjacent to the church in the same courtyard, is the Patriarchal Palace. Closed to the public, it serves as the residence of the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Following your visit at the Patriarchal Church, you'll transfer to a local restaurant where you'll be treated to lunch while enjoying a delightful performance of traditional folk music and folkloric dances.
After lunch, re-board your coach and travel to the Village Museum, considered to be one of Bucharest's finest attractions. Situated in an idyllic lakeside setting within Herastrau Park, this utterly fascinating and unforgettable outdoor museum provides a true insight into Romania's rural culture. A collection of over 300 buildings accumulated from various regions throughout Romania recreate a village setting and represent the history and design of the country's rural architecture. Included are peasant homes, barns, wooden churches and Transylvanian houses. Traditionally dressed peasant workers further illustrate what life was like during the 16th and 17th centuries and perform everyday tasks using tools and accessories from that period. The homes at the museum are lovingly cared for by local women who volunteer their time to preserve this rich piece of Romanian heritage.
Before returning to Constanta, your tour will also visit Revolution Square where you can see the former Royal Palace of the Romanian Royal family, which later served as headquarters for the Central Committee of the Communist Party. It was from this very building that Romanian dictator Ceausescu escaped by means of a helicopter during the Revolution of 1989, although captured a short while later outside the city. Today, this magnificent former palace is home to Romania's National Museum of Art.
Please note: The roundtrip travel time to Bucharest is approximately 6 hours on a motor coach and is not considered suitable for those who cannot sit for extended periods of time. The Patriarchal Church and the Village Museum charge camera and video fees ranging from approximately 6 - 15 Euros. These fees are not included in the tour cost and must be paid directly at the site. Those wishing to use their cameras or video equipment are strongly encouraged to bring along an adequate amount of Euros for this purpose.