Herastrau Park, situated on the shores of Lake Herastrau (70 hectares), in the north of the city, is the largest in Bucharest (187 hectares).
In the old area of the park there are two theatres, a children’s cinema, two exhibition pavilions, libraries, reading booths, a wharf (where rowing boats can be hired or boat trips taken), the Isle of Roses, and the Japanese Garden. Nearby can be visited the Museum of the Village. At the fifteen-hectare Expoflora there are periodic flower shows.
The other half of the park is reserved for sports and recreation. There is a base here for various craft (kayaks, canoes), as well as tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a bowling green, and roller-skating rinks. This area of the park is also well known for its lakeside restaurants.
The Museum of the Village was founded in 1936 by Dimitrie Gusti, the father of Romanian sociology. It is one of the most impressive museums in the capital, which makes it one of Bucharest’s “must-see” destinations. If you are visiting Bucharest for the first time, you should not miss this open-air ethnographic museum, which stretches for 15 hectares along the shore of Lake Herastrau. The museum has approximately three hundred traditional peasant houses, dating from the 17th to 20th centuries, and grouped according to region.
The Museum of the Village Muntenia and Oltenia Around Bucharest
Bucharest is surrounded by forests and a string of lakes, around which have developed recreational areas, which are wonderful places to spend the weekend.
Baneasa Forest (ten kilometres from Bucharest) is especially well known for its zoo.
On the shores of Lake Mogosoaia (66 hectares), fifteen kilometres from Bucharest, there can be found one of the most beautiful buildings in the Brancoveanu style: the Mogosoaia Palace (1702).The building combines elements of Muntenian architecture with features of the Byzantine, Renaissance and Italian traditions. Martha Bibescu, the wife of George Valentin Bibescu, rebuilt the complex after 1912, making significant alterations. The tomb of the Bibescu family is in the park of the palace. At present, the Mogosoaia Palace houses the “Brancoveanu Palaces at the Gates of Bucharest” cultural centre.
Lake Snagov (576 hectares in area and 16.5 km long), situated forty kilometres from the capital, is one of the largest expanses of water in the Romanian Plain. It is an ideal spot for fishing and water sports. An island in the north of the lake is home to the Snagov Monastery, probably founded in the 14th century by Mircea the Old and rebuilt by Vladislav II and then Vlad the Impaler. It is one of the largest monasteries from the reign of Vlad the Impaler and regarded as one of the most beautiful. The monastery church, dedicated to the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple, was built by Neagoe Basarab between 1517 and 1521.