Romania’s largest city and it’s capital – Bucharest – is well known as “Little Paris”. Founded on the banks of river Dambovita by a named shepherd called Bucur. Bucur translates to “Joy”, Bucharest also is the cultural center of Romania. The city was very influential during the two world wars and grew through booming industrialization, business, and nationalization. Its progress as a city is reflected in the architecture and the large-scale projects that came up. The city often goes unnoticed by tourists and travelers but like most East European cities it is a very energetic and historical town.  

An architectural review of a location: Bucharest - Sheet1
Buchrest – Recent Urbanisation_©Dani Chercha
An architectural review of a location: Bucharest - Sheet2
Urbanisation in Bucharest_©

City planning of Bucharest, is very evident, unlike the organically grown cities from the 1900s. Several squares branch out into boulevards, making them a very characteristic element in the urban identity of Bucharest. Bucharest is also dotted with churches, and palaces among other imposing buildings of cultural, historical, administrative ad political significance. Churches, mainly small chapel style are built in the Byzantine style, attracting a lot of tourist attraction. The city also boasts of some of the best museums of East Europe, which can be explored via local guides, walking tours, or other locals promoting cultural heritage. 

Some unique elements of Bucharest’s Architecture and city planning include its vibrant courtyards, as in-between spaces, these have been dealt with in each architectural style differently. Arched, boulevards, vaulted, each has its grace and glory from the past. 

Fabrica, a red brick industrial building is another example, which has stood the test of times and politics in Bucharest. It has been recently transformed into a bar, terrace, club, and arts center. This is a first of its kind development in Bucharest. Fabrica was subjected to demolish rumors post the pandemic, and several campaigns in support of the place were then launched, making it a part of the city’s listed buildings. 

Bucharest is radially divided into six sectors – each believed to have its own economic and social significance. Sector one houses most of the wealth in Bucharest, with large parks, gardens, palaces, etc. The old and the new come together beautifully in this part of Bucharest. Each sector in spite of its divide is complete with green spaces, residences, and places for recreation. The époque villas characterize quaint nooks of these sectors, very European indeed. Bucharest’s urban planning has also faced numerous challenges, particularly in the post-World War II era. In the 1960s and 1970s, the communist regime implemented a series of urban planning projects aimed at modernizing the city, but at the expense of many historical buildings and neighborhoods. This resulted in the destruction of many of the city’s historic landmarks, and the creation of large, monotonous apartment blocks. Since the fall of communism, Bucharest’s urban planning has shifted towards a more preservationist approach, with efforts being made to restore some of the city’s historic landmarks and neighborhoods. There has also been a renewed focus on green spaces and public transportation infrastructure, with the construction of new parks and the expansion of the city’s metro system.

Overall, Bucharest’s urban planning is a complex mix of historic preservation, modernization, and social housing needs. The city continues to evolve, with new projects aimed at improving the quality of life for its residents while preserving its rich cultural heritage.

Even though a lot of the buildings in the city are in a state of disrepair and prone to being dilapidated, their charm isn’t lost. Communism and political vendetta is changing the face of the city, in an attempt to mark respect to the changing political scenario several years of history are being raised down. The Palace of the Parliament is a glaring example of irresponsible citizenship and decision making. The palace built as the second largest in the world – is a far cry from the real identity of the city or its local or local life. The post-communist era has brought with it a renewed interest in innovative architecture and urban planning, as well as a desire to create a more livable and sustainable city. This has led to the construction of modern buildings and landmarks, such as the National Library of Romania, the Palace of the National Military Circle, and the Bucharest Tower Center. Additionally, many older buildings have been renovated and repurposed to serve modern needs, such as the conversion of old factories into trendy loft apartments and creative spaces. While Bucharest’s modern architecture scene is still relatively small compared to other major European cities, it is growing and becoming increasingly diverse, with many exciting new projects on the horizon. Finally, there is a growing appreciation for the city’s historic architecture and a desire to preserve it for future generations. This has led to a renewed focus on restoration and adaptive reuse, with many historic buildings being repurposed for modern uses such as museums, galleries, and cultural centers.

Modernist Bucharest_©Greyscape

Bright Nomad (2023) Bucharest architecture: Beautiful buildings and interiors, Bright Nomad. Available at: (Accessed: April 23, 2023).

Virginia Duran (2017) 23 spots you shouldn’t miss in Bucharest if you love architecture, Virginia Duran. Available at: (Accessed: April 23, 2023).