Living in BucharestIyna Bort Caruso
The origin of the name Bucharest derives from the word ‘bucur,’ meaning joy. For Bucharesters, joy is a way of life anchored in culture and tradition.
Bucharest is the densely populated capital city of Romania situated on the banks of the Dambovita River.
The late 19th century and early 20th century witnessed a pronounced French influence in the form of elegant architecture and grand boulevards, so much so that Bucharest was known as Micul Paris or Little Paris of the East. A notable example was the building of the Arcul de Triumf in 1878 to honor soldiers after Romanian independence and modeled after the Arc de Triomph in Paris. Neo-classical gave way to Art Nouveau, Art Deco and, after World War II, socialist realism.
Many landmarks and historic structures crumbled under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu who ruled from 1965 to 1989. Buildings were demolished to clear space for the Palace of the Parliament, the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon. The Romanian revolution in 1989 and the fall of Communism started a long, slow campaign to restore the city’s historic center and give once-beautiful facades much-needed facelifts.
A premium real estate sector emerged. New high-rise buildings, gated communities and high-end developments started to rise. In the meantime, international investors have been buying older historic buildings to renovate and rent.
Real estate in Bucharest is the country’s priciest, yet it is less than other former Communist Bloc capitals like Budapest, Hungary, and Prague, Czech Republic. As a member of the European Union, EU citizens can own property in Bucharest. Non-EU citizens, however, can own a flat or home but not the land.
The northern neighborhoods of Bucharest and suburbs beyond are among the city’s most desirable areas with their large parks, international schools, wide boulevards and easy access to lakes. Prestigious areas include Aviatorilor, Aviatiei and Dorobanti, home to a number of embassies and international offices.