A Walk on Calea Victoriei, Bucharest

Palatul Cantacuzino

Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue), located in the center of the Romanian capital, is one of the busiest streets during the week (as is the whole downtown at rush hours, actually) but also an ideal place for a Sunday afternoon walk, thanks to the numerous old buildings, museums, gardens, parks and terraces that you can find here.

Short History

This avenue was first known under the name of Podul Mogoşoaia (Mogoşoaia Bridge) and was inaugurated by Constantin Brâncoveanu in the 17th century, in order to ensure an easier transport route between his residence in Mogoşoaia and the Royal Palace in the centre of Bucharest.
For about one and a half century, Podul Mogoşoaia had a wooden pavement, which was later replaced with asphalt. Also, starting with de beginning of the 19th century, it was illuminated with oil lamps during the night – these were replaced with electric light bulbs before the end of the 19th century.

After the Romanian victory in the Independence War in 1878, the avenue – already one of the main streets of Bucharest – was renamed to Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue) and became the most en vogue part of the city: there were more boyar (noble) houses, shops and inns, as well as state institutions and churches (all built in various architectural styles and each bearing the distinctive mark of its own, famous architect) than anywhere else in the city.
Inevitably, Calea Victoriei has also acquired the status of “favorite promenade of Bucharest”, especially during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when every weekend the Bucharesters would fill the cafes, restaurants and terraces around the avenue.

What to Look for

Unfortunately, time has left its mark on many of the older buildings and some of them no longer exist; they were replaced with modern, steel-and-glass façade buildings or luxury shops and hotels.

So what is there to see today on Calea Victoriei (a 2.5 km walk from Piaţa Victoriei to Piaţa Naţiunilor Unite)?
You can still discover (and photograph!) numerous architectural masterpieces of the past centuries, most of them turned into museums or historical monuments:

Fundatiunea Universitara Carol I

Fundatiunea Universitara Carol I - Carol I Universitary Foundation, hosting the Central University Library of Bucharest

Ateneul Roman

Ateneul Român (Romanian Athenaeum)

Palatul Cercului Militar National

Palatul Cercului Militar Naţional (National Military Club Palace)

Casa Capsa

Casa Capşa (Capşa House)

Biserica Kretulescu

Biserica Kreţulescu (Kreţulescu Church)

Palatul Telefoanelor

Palatul Telefoanelor (Bucharest Telephone Palace)

Teatrul Odeon

Teatrul Odeon (Odeon Theatre)

Casa Vernescu

The house was built in 1821 by boyar Filip Lenş and offered to his wife as a wedding gift. In the 19th century, the house was considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Bucharest.
During the Crimean War, the building hosted the Russian Army Headquarters; the young lieutenant (and future writer) Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy was also a guest here, during the war.

Casa Vernescu

Casino Palace - Casa Vernescu (Vernescu House)

In the late 19th century the lawyer Guna Vernescu took possession of the house, which bears his name ever since. The new owner renovated the house with consistent help from famous Romanian architects and painters of the time.
Today the building houses one of the most exclusive casinos in Bucharest and the Casa Vernescu restaurant.

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5 Responses to “A Walk on Calea Victoriei, Bucharest”

  1. Sherry says:

    These are gorgeous architectural photos. I always love old European cities because it they are often so full of old-world charm. Bucharest – a destination I never would have thought to go to, but now, it looks like it has a lot of potential.

    • Adrian B. says:

      Thanks, Sherry.
      We’ll soon be posting other articles about Bucharest and particularly about Calea Victoriei in hope that this “old-world” charm of Bucharest (the city once called The Little Paris) will gain the interest of both Bucharesters and foreign travelers again.

  2. […] 15: the clock on the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business Environment building – Calea Victoriei, Bucharest, Romania. The clock on the Ministry of Economy building, in Bucharest, Romania […]

  3. […] Posted by traveltosun on July 7th, 2011 As promised last week, we continue our virtual walk on Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue) and visit other interesting sights, representative for Romanian culture and […]

  4. […] ops in my city include Victory Avenue (where major icons of Bucharest like the Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Român)or the CEC Palace can […]

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