Promoted Sites

The Herăstrău Park

Located on the banks of the lake with the same name, Herăstrău Park is the largest in the Capital, covering an area of 110 ha. It was established in 1936 by King Carol II, on the occasion of the „Month of Bucharest” Fair. But it had been a place highly appreciated even before that, ever since the 18th century. More precisely, since 1780, when the Phanar prince, Alexandru Ipsilanti set up a summer kiosk here, for ”chatting and partying”. The Prince would come here accompanied by, his Royal Wife. He would remain in the pavilion with the nobles, as the Princess would go for a sail on the lake, in a beautiful boat, accompanied by her daughters, while on the shore the band would sing Turkish military music for them”.

On April 21st, 1912 land donations were made from the Royal Domains, and as result, the National Park was established and the lake organization works began in the northern part of the Capital. For the arrangement of the park, a substantial area of the lake needed to be drained. The works were carried out between 1930-1935.

During 1935-1940, under the reign of King Carol II, the Herastrau Park became a place of festivity. For a whole month, form May 9th to June 9th, numberless folk festivals would be organized here. They came to be known as the festivities of the „Month of Bucharest”. Cultural events as well as artistic, social and sports contests (for instance the largest family, or the oldest resident) were held here. There were commercial events as well, where one could buy goods on sale, or demonstrations in the superlative: for example the largest orchestra, usually on Rose Island, hydroplane flights, laser experiments or the first TV broadcast.

Over time, the park was called in many ways. Initially, it was the ”National Park”. Later it received the name ”The Carol II Park”. During the early years of communism, the park's name was once again changed into the "I.V. Stalin" Cultural and Leisure Park.

Geographically speaking, the Herăstrău Lake is part of the medallion of lakes along the Colentina River (Mogosoaia, Tei, Fundeni, Pantelimon, Cernica) which can be found all across the Capital, from NW to SE. Herastrau Park has tree vegetation consisting of willows, poplars, maple trees, ash trees and linden trees. Starting with 1948, this pleasant recreation site received the name of Herastrau Park and today it comprises many more attractions, such as a summer theater, exhibitions pavilions, terraces and restaurants.

Herăstrău has several subdivisions: Expoflora (15 ha), the Rose Island, the Village Museum, the Herăstrău-Kiseleff Park, the Herăstrău-North Park and the Bordei Park. Great architects contributed to its design – Doicescu, Creanga, Jojea, Gr. Ionescu, Fonescu, as did famous sculptors - Baraschi, Jalea, Medrea.


The Alley of the Caryatides

Lay out year: 1939  •  Restored: 2005  •  Author: Ionel Stoicescu  •  Material: composite

The group of statues entitled „the Alley of the Caryatides” was conceived by sculptor Constantin Baraschi in 1939 and consists of 20 statues made of artificial stone, with 10 statutes on each side of the alley, representing peasant women from the Muscle and Mehedinti area, carrying big jugs on their heads. The arms of the City of Bucharest, made of bronze, can also be found here - the ones from 1879 and the ones of today. The original statutes were destroyed in the 50s but the entire statue ensemble was restored by sculptor Ionel Stoicescu in 2005.

Constantin Baraschi (1902-1966) was a disciple of Paciurea at the School of Belle Arts in Bucharest. His debut took place in 1925, at the Official Hall, and in 1927 he started studying at the Julian Academy and the „Le Grande Chaumière” in Paris, where he worked in Bourdelle's studio. In 1928 Baraschi’s career began to take an ascending course, and he became highly appreciated even in the communist regime. His sculpture stands out due to the correct and yet expressive conveying of the human anatomy. Baranschi received several awards, among which: the Gold Medal (Paris, 1937), The Sculpture Award of the Romanian Academy (1938), the „Sfântul Gheorghe” Silver Medal (1940), the title of „Honored Master of Arts” (1951). He was a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy (1955).

Ionel Stoicescu (born on April 25th, 1968) graduated the Faculty of Plastic and Decorative Arts, the Sculpture section, at the Academy of Arts in Bucharest (1997). He is a member of the Union of Plastic Artists in Romania and over the years, he has restored many monuments among which the Monument of Dinicu Golescu in Bucharest, the Monument of Dr. Constantin I. Istrati, the Monument of Mihail Cantacuzino and the Monument of the Heroes of the Engineer Corps – Leul.


The „Dimitrie Gusti” National Village Museum

17 May 1936 has great significance in the history of the Romanian museums: It is marked as the opening day of the Romanian Village Museum, an event that took place in the presence of the country's leaders and of all the political and cultural personalities of those times. Nowadays called the "Dimitrie Gusti" National Village Museum, it was named after its most important creator, a school founder and a charismatic scholar – Dimitrie Gusti. It was his idea to set up the Village Museum after having organized, between 1925 and 1935, at the Sociology Department of the University of Bucharest, a series of interdisciplinary researches in over 600 villages from various regions of Romania.

Concerned with finding suitable land for setting up the future museum, Professor Dimitrie Gusti and his close collaborators accepted the proposal to "organize it in the Carol II Park, in an area covering 4,500 square meters, on the banks of the Baneasa Lake, which had been recently diked, for the festivities of the "Month of Bucharest" to be held in that same year". The "Prince Carol" Royal Cultural Foundation provided moral and material support to the project. The task of designing the museum was assigned to H. H. Stahl and Victor Ion Popa. It was supposed to be more than just a collection of houses aligned or crowded in an outdoor space, but rather "a museum village",... a unique representation of a real-life village, with its streets, and plantations and wells and markets.

29 houses, a wooden church from Maramures, five wind mills, one water mill, an oil press, a distiller, an installation for preparing and conserving fish and other annexes which summed up everything that could be normally found in a village, were all transported and reinstalled on the territory where the museum lies today. The museum was opened to the public on May 9th, 1936 and received the name the Romanian Village Museum. The opening ceremony was attended by King Carol II and by members of the government, and the place was blessed by the Romanian Patriarch of that time.

In 1948, Professor Gheorghe Focşa, the second greatest personality founder of the museum, an active participant in monographic research and close friend of Dimitrie Gusti, carried on the course of action set by Gusti, but transformed the Museum from a sociological one into an ethnographic museum. Unique monuments of high originality were brought to the museum. With these, the Village Museum completed its image, becoming an exceptional institution, not only a special part of the City of Bucharest, but also a paradigm-museum on a national and international scale.

Currently, the Museum has a collection of 350 monuments which form up the permanent exhibition and 55,000 objects organized in heritage depositories, built to meet the principle of modern museology. The Village Museum has become a school where many children take pleasure in the study of “live” history, a school of museology acknowledged in the country as well as abroad, and a center for research and documentation on traditional life. The National Village Museum has become, over time, one of the most important centers for the research, restoration and preservation of the cultural heritage, a model to be followed by many out-door museums and a place where craftsmen come every year to demonstrate the vitality and validity of peasant creation in the midst of the modern landscape and the tumult of the big city.

Loved by the people of Bucharest and by foreigners alike (approximately 350,000 people visit the museum every year), admired by most personalities who have passed through Bucharest - the Village Museum has celebrated its 75th year of existences in 2011. Nowadays it ranks among the most important cultural institutions in the country, harboring a precious and original thesaurus of monuments and objects, of great value for the identity of Romanians as a nation, and, at the same time, carrying out educational programs dedicated to children and to the young generation as well as to adults and seniors.

The current projects carried out within the Village Museum are quite extensive, propelling the institution towards a larger cooperation with museums all over the world. Since 2010 the museum development project has been put into practice, by the adding 3.5 ha of land. This land is meant to be used for the placement of new monuments rescued from their original sites, but also for the illustration of the concept of "museum vivum". It is a project that shall offer the public of Bucharest a place where it can actually experience live "country life". Plans are to have a functional church, a school where lessons will impart knowledge on village life, history, ethnology; a playground - the place where children will experience an encounter with the traditional games that revealed the beauty and yet effectiveness of a world where a child was educated in close connection to his environment, to real people, to nature, bonding with it in harmony and respect. “Story night” held in a house relocated from Maramures, shall rekindle the charm of the evenings spent with grandma and grandpa, by the fire, telling tales about to be forgotten. This is how we wish to bring back to life the atmosphere of the old times, of country life, when “all was right in the world”.

We keep in close contact to the public, we test its preferences, we develop specialized programs and, by doing this, we try to attract visitors of all ages and social categories. To this end, the programs address a comprehensive category of the public. For children, we have developed programs such as: Discovering the Old Crafts, From Folk Art to Plastic Art, Discovering Rural Communities, Creative Camps, for grown-ups: Craftsmen’s Fair, Holidays and Customs in the Folk Calendar, Christmas and New Year's Eve Customs and Traditions Festival, Days Celebrating Each Region Represented in the Museum, Folk Music Concerts etc. We honor and encourage craftsmen by organizing Exhibitions and Medallions, discovery of new talents, radio and TV shows. As a special feature, there are programs designed for disabled persons.

Inside the premises of the National Village Museum, one will encounter an exceptional architectural, technical and artistic heritage, a presentation of traditional technologies, most of which have disappeared, a modernized infrastructure, and all these elements contribute to making this museum in downtown Bucharest one that can proudly stand alongside the great museums of Europe. It is safe to say that among the cultural institutions from Bucharest and from the country, the "Dimitrie Gusti" National Village Museum is acknowledged as a dynamic and modern institution that currently ranks first in Romania in terms of number of visitors.