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Str. Xenopol 2
Looking very out of place architecturally speaking, this small red-brick (looking genuinely English) Anglican church offers English language services on Sundays at 10:00.
Str. Antim 29
The splendid Antim Monastery, with its elegant dome and gold finish stands as a symbol of strength in the area around the Civic Centre. Highlights include the scenes of the Nativity and Revelations beautifully executed in 1812 (the time when most of the buildings were in the monastery were constructed). The palace building to the left of the entrance was moved 20m to make place for apartment buildings. The monastery still functions, and while the priests seem not to mind being asked questions about their home, there are certain areas that are not open to the public.
Str. Sfintii Apostoli 33A
One of the oldest churches in Bucharest (with parts dating back to the 16th century and a steeple built in 1715), the Apostles' Church is brimming with some rather strange portraits that are well worth seeing. Among the portraits are those of the church's builder, Voivod Matei, as well as the person who built the steeple, Voivod Stefan Cantacuzino.
B-dul Carol I 43
313 90 70
One of the largest and best preserved Orthodox churches in central Bucharest, the Armenian Church (built between 1911-15) is an exact replica of a cathedral in the Armenian city of Ecmiazin and serves the city's once large but now dwindling Armenian population. Next to the church is an interesting library with documents on the Armenian population (phone ahead to see it). Sadly, building work on a site right next to the church has allegedly done substantial damage to the church's foundations.
Str. Biserica Doamnei/Calea Victoriei 28
314 49 10
Built in 1683 under the orders of Princess Maria, wife of Prince Serban Cantacuzino, this church is dedicated to the 'well-known Saint Hramu Vavedenie Prea Sviatie Vladiciti Nasei Bogorodoti Prisnoviavi Marii.' Bucharest's Biserica Doamnei was the first church in the city to boast octogonal stone pillars. Note the decorative floral motives of oriental origin at the foot and on top of each column and on the door. The original paintings were lost during previous repair work. Slowly but surely, the interior is being restored.
Domnita Balasa Church
Str. Sfintii Apostoli
To say this church has been the victim of bad luck would almost be an understatement. Built in 1885, the church is named after Constantin Brâncoveanu's sixth daughter, who built an earlier church on the site in 1744, but which burnt down soon after. In 1751 a second church was built but that was also later damaged during an earthquake in 1838. Building work almost immediately started on a third church, but that too proved unstable and just 40 years later the edifice was replaced by the current, orange-coloured, neo-Romanian building. Serious cracks that crept their way into the building following another earthquake in 1940 have since been were repaired, but were damaged again in the earthquake of 1977. Be cautious when viewing.
Located a little out of the centre along the side of a beautiful roundabout, the Greek Temple was built in 1899 and has just been restored to its former glory. It's not possible to go inside, but a walk around it if you're in the area, along with a little sit down on one of the benches on the roundabout is a nice way to pass time.
Str. Icoanei 12
The Church of the Icon is named after the 17th-century icon of the Holy Virgin in the nave, a gift from Prince Brâncoveanu. A wooden church was built on this site in as early 1681-82. The brick church, erected in 1745-50, collapsed during the devastating earthquake of 1838. Rebuilt the same year, the high altar was added in 1850. Note the huge grave of General Ioan Odobescu (1793-1857) alongside the church, adorned with a helmet.
B-dul Bălcescu 28
Juxtaposed by grey 1930s blocks on the busiest street in the city, the red brick Italian church looks a little uncomfortable in its setting. The interior is nothing of note, but acts as a lovely refuge from the bustling street outside. The church happens to be owned by the Italian government and holds daily services (in Romanian) at 18:00. On Sundays, services are as follows: 09:00 (German), 10:00 (Romanian), 11:00 (Italian), 17:00 (Polish).
Str. Luterană 2
313 31 65
The brownish grey and rather plain Lutheran church relaxes the busy street corner every 15 minutes when its bell chimes. German-language mass and occasional organ concerts.
Piata Sf. Gheorghe
Sitting rather awkwardly in a square flanked by trams, street dogs and children playing football, this two-domed church is said to be the most representative of Orthodox religious architecture. Plenty of icons inside (all of which need restoring) excite the faithful. Sunday morning services tend to be extremely crowded.
Str. C-tin Mănescu 4
336 11 33
Service in Arabic at 12:30.
Str. Dealul Mitropoliei
Set atop one of the city's few hills, known as Mitropoliei, the Patriarchal Cathedral has been the centrepiece of the Romanian Orthodox faith since the seventeeth century. Built to a design based on the Curtea de Arges, near Pitesti, it has undergone a number of facelifts, but the overwhelming majority of the cathedrals structure is the original, built between 1654 and 1658.
Radu Vodă Monastery
Str. Radu Vodă 24A
Orthodox monastery and theological seminary around St. Treime church with a separate bell tower. In front, at Strada Vodă 33, the cute little Bucur Ciobanul
(Bucur the Shepherd) church is wedged between two new high-rise buildings. Entrance forbidden for women wearing trousers.
Str. Demetriade 3
230 93 01
Handsome Catholic church built in 1934 that was recently renovated. Used by many expats. Mass: English - Sat 18:00, Latin - Fri 18:00, Sun 08:30, 09:30 and 18:00, French - Sun 11:00, Arabic - Sun 18:00.
St. Ilie Church
Str. Doamnei 18
Orthodox church in a courtyard which serves the city's small Bulgarian community.
St. Joseph's Cathedral
Str. G-ral Berthelot 19
312 12 08
Very austere and built in red brick, the cathedral, which is Roman Catholic, would look quite at home in an English town. Also a good place to hear organ recitals every Sunday at 19:00 (see the program on the door).
St. Nicholas Church
Special seats for the king and queen sit on the left and right, respectively, facing the iconostasis. The 200-year-old icon of Saint Nicholas is believed to contain special healing powers. The church attendant will give you a free tour and explain that the three skeletons recently found in the churchyard are the remains of unknown martyrs. Don't miss the music recital on the crystal chandelier.
St. Nicholas In-One-Day Church
Str. Academiei 22
Small, tranquil and smoke-blackened church crammed between the university and office buildings. Built 'in one day' (într-o zi)
in 1702, it has a wonderfully ramshackle iconostas
. From 1911-45, the Albanian community used the church for prayers.
St. Nicolas Students' Church
Str. I. Ghica 9
Built in 1905-09 by a Russian Tsar for 600,000 gold roubles, this Russian Orthodox church is topped with seven typical onion domes and crowned with an Orthodox cross. The wooden, gold-gilded iconostasis (catapeteasmă)
is allegedly a copy of the altar in Arhangelsk Cathedral in Moscow's Kremlin. The interior walls, blackened by soot, were last washed in 1967.
St. Stephen's Church
Str. Stirbei Vodă 99A
This little 18th-century church hidden behind the housing blocks was moved and thus saved from destruction.
Small, old and very warm, Stavropoleos was built in 1724 by Greek monk Ioanikie Stratonikeas. Currently under going much-needed restoration (it's going to take a long time) you will come across beautiful stone and wood carvings that characterise the edifice. Most things have been well preserved and the atmosphere is so relaxed you could almost fall asleep. The icons have been painted on wood and use plenty of gold leaf. The courtyard outside (beautiful on a warm afternoon) has a curious collection of tombstones dating from the 18th century as well as the occasional priest doing his stuff. Services (Romanian) are worth viewing if you can find room: Sun 09:30, 10:30, Wed 16:30, Fri, Sat 17:00.
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