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Bucharest is Romania's capital and largest city, as well as the most important industrial and commercial center of the country. With 2 million inhabitants in the city proper and more than 2.4 million in the urban area, Bucharest is one of the largest cities in Southeastern Europe and it is the 6th largest city in the European unnion by population within city limits, after London, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, and Paris.
The official language is Romanian, a Romance language which claims to be the closest currently-spoken relative to Ancient Latin; but which contains around 20% of loan words from Slavonic languages. Most younger educated people will speak English very well indeed.
Bucharest, like most of Romania, has a temperate-continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. This region of Romania gets all four seasons, although spring is brief and falls mainly in April. The average high daily temperature in summer is about 29ºC and in winter about 2ºC. It can get really hot and dry during the summer (40ºC) and really cold during the winter (-20ºC), even though temperatures below -12ºC are extremely rare. Best time to visit is April through June, September through October and early December.
Connections and airports
Bucharest has reasonable connections with most European capitals and with the largest cities in Romania, but it can be difficult to find a direct flight to Bucharest from outside of Europe or the Middle East. The city is also reached by a large number of low-costs flights, mainly from destinations in Italy and Spain as well as from some major cities in Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Hungary, Turkey, Austria, Israel etc.
Bucharest has one of the most extensive systems of public transport in Europe, even though it can sometimes be confusing and crowded.
Note that most of the neighborhoods and urban areas are known and called using the name of the nearest Metro station. The other well-known areas without Metro stations are Dorobanţi in the Northeast, Drumul Taberei (Metro network under construction) in the West, Rahova and Ferentari in Southwest (best avoided) and Lipscani - the old city centre situated between Unirii and Universitate Square.
What to see
In the center of Bucharest, near Piaţa Unirii, the tourist can see the largest parliament building in the world, formerly named "Casa Poporului".
A part of the city's historical heart was not demolished by Nicolae Ceauşescu. The area today contains an assortment of middle 19th century buildings, ruins of the Wallachian princes' medieval court, churches, bank headquarters, a few hotels, clubs, restaurants and shops.
Revolution Square - Site of part of the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Centrally located, it is not a long walk from the other squares, Gara de Nord, or the Parliament Palace. There is a tall monument in the center of the square in memory of those who died during the revolution.
The Arch of Triumph - Situated in the norhern part of the city, close to Herăstrău Park. The current arch was inagurated in 1936, but on the same site other arches stood starting with 1878.
Romanian Atheneum - A beautiful building situated near Revolution Square (Piaţa Revoluţiei) is home of the George Enescu Philarmonic. If you have the time, visit the interior of the building as well, as it holds a fresco that depicts scenes of the Romanian history. The building was inagurated in 1888.
WWII American Memorial - Small memorial dedicated in 2007. Located in the eastern area of the Kiseleff Park (Parcul Kiseleff). It is visible on the western side of the Bulevardul Aviatonlor between the "Institutul de Istorie Nicolae Iorga al Academiei" and Strada Ion Mincu.