București, Romania – An Artist’s ViewNovember 12, 2023
București, Romania; A Wander Through the CapitalNovember 19, 2023
The most important church in București, Romania, is said to be the People's Salvation Cathedral. At 86.2 metres (283 ft) above sea level, and 135 metres (443 ft) height (ground-cross), it’s a dominant feature in Bucharest's skyline.
The Churches of București
I’ll say it time and time again, whether you are religious or not, visit the churches! I have been dumbstruck by the beauty inside some and will forever seek them out, no matter which country I visit. My first apartment in București was situated in the perfect spot, with a church practically on the doorstep.
Across the road, the unassuming Biserica Albă hides a delightful little space. Plain white walls and rather simple style give nothing away as you walk around the exterior. Once inside, the incredible golden iconostasis takes mainstage until you look up at the ceilings. Intricate detailing, gold inlay and elegantly shaped chandeliers only added to the grandeur. Delicate stained-glass windows adorn every wall from what I remember – I know I was stunned by the beauty of it all. It’s not often I feel emotional over a building but this one I did. My pictures aren’t the greatest here as I was rushing and not checking, I felt rude even taking them.
Oh, and those stairs. Leading up to the pulpit, Biserica Albă has an incredibly well carved, wooden piece that takes the stairs themselves to another level. This detailing just isn’t seen on newer buildings, make a point of slowing your visit down to look more closely at the finer details.
The wonderful priest encouraged my photo taking, delighted in my attempts to converse with him in Romanian (after my query “deschis?”), and spent a good 10 minutes telling me about his father before him and the history of the church. He explained that they still offered services. His English proving on par with my Romanian, he disappeared for a minute and came back triumphantly waving a pamphlet in English. It was a lovely gesture, his enthusiasm for his church was infectious.
Mănăstirea Stavropoleos is a place I recommend; it had a such a calm atmosphere. This exquisitely designed Eastern Orthodox monastery, offered a sanctuary of peace after the hustle and bustle of the streets. Built in the Brâncovenesc style, it has an interesting allure. I initially arrived during a service so respectfully left as the nun requested but, with a smile, she told me to come back later.
On my return, I was able to take stock of the designs scattered throughout. Even the quaint little courtyard held its own charm. There were also some pieces that had ancient languages inscribed on them. Historic pieces fascinate me, and I spent a long time looking at random items.
Others I’d Recommend
• Biserica "Sfântul Nicolae Dintr-o Zi" ("Saint Nicholas Built-in-a-Day" Church)
• Biserica "Sfântul Nicolae" ("Saint Nicholas" Church)
• Catedrala "Sfântul Iosif" ("Saint Joseph" Cathedral)
• Biserica "Sfântul Elefterie" ("Saint Eleutherius" Church)
• Biserica "Sfântul Gheorghe Nou" (The New "Saint George" Church)
• Biserica Cașin (Cașin Church)
• (The Italian Church) Biserica Preasfântul Mântuitor
• Biserica "Kretzulescu"
• Biserica Zlătari
A Full List of Churches can be found here.
There are untold churches in București, and I barely touched the surface with those that I did have the pleasure of finding. I recommend being open-minded and just entering curiously. Be mindful if there is a service on (doors aren’t always locked) and be respectful with both your entrance and your appearance. Many churches are old-fashioned and prefer modest looks. I usually carry a scarf or shawl that I can use to cover my self with if I am scantily clad.