Bucharest and its six districts
Our series on city districts takes us this week to the Romanian capital, Bucharest, a city with an area of 228 square kilometres divided into six districts.
This division has existed since 1979, but as the districts are so large and heterogeneous, the people of Bucharest do not generally identify with the district they live in. This impersonal character is reflected in the fact that none of the districts have a name, but just a number. When asked where they come from, most inhabitants usually reply by stating the area they live in.
The most elegant district in Bucharest is without a doubt the 1st district, which still recalls the “Little Paris” of the interwar years. The most dynamic district, however, is the 6th, which is also the point of entry for many newcomers to the city, as it contains three of the largest student residences in Bucharest.
Dynamic district with the smallest share of the city centre
The 6th district in the west of Bucharest is 37 square kilometres in size and has over 360,000 inhabitants, making it the second largest district in the city. It is not so much the architecture that makes it attractive as its pulsating life. There are lots of monolithic apartment buildings, explained in part by the fact that only a small part of it is in the city centre, but this does not mean that the four main residential areas – Drumul Taberei, Militari, Giulești and Crângași – are without character. This is particularly well illustrated by Drumul Taberei, a very green area. Real estate agents have difficulty in selling apartments when the trees are bare, particularly to people who are new to the area, but in spring and summer, when nature wakes up from its winter hibernation, it turns into one of the most desirable residential areas in the city. This part of the city is also full of small coffee houses, outdoor restaurants and taverns, which teem with life on warm summer days. The main drawback is the fact that Drumul Taberei is the only residential area in Bucharest that is not accessible by underground. Because there were no important factories there, Ceaușescu reckoned that it didn’t “deserve” to be connected up to the system. This drawback should be removed soon, however, as work is well underway on the underground line Drumul Taberei–Pantelimon, and the Drumul Taberei–Eroilor section should be completed within the next three years.
From farmers’ markets to shopping malls
The Romanians are used to buying fruit, vegetables and cheese at farmers’ markets. They are open every day, and the larger the market the greater the range of produce and, in many cases, the better the price. There are eight markets in the 6th district including Crângași, Drumul Taberei, better known as Moghioroș, and Veteranilor. For those who prefer window-shopping or a visit to the cinema, however, the 6th district also has two of the largest shopping centres in Bucharest: Plaza România and AFI Palace Cotroceni. These malls are open until late in the evening, and the Real-Hypermarket in AFI Palace Cotroceni is even open 24 hours a day.
Many students started their life in Bucharest in one of the three large student residences in the 6th district: Regie, Grozăvești and Leul. As they are close to one another, the area has developed into a student district with pubs and discos and all of the infrastructure demanded by young people – not only in terms of entertainment but also for studying, as it is the home of the Polytechnic University of Bucharest as well. In addition, the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Bucharest is located in Grozăvești.
From passion to pure adrenalin
Football is well-known for rousing passions. The 6th district is home to two of the three major teams in Bucharest: FC Rapid in Giulești and FC Steaua in Ghencea at the border between Drumul Taberei and the 5th district. The fervour of their loyal fans can be really appreciated when these two clubs have an important match, not least when they play against each other. Excitement and an adrenalin rush can be found not only in the football stadiums, however, but also in Terra Park, the largest amusement park in Bucharest, which opened last October, where the Willis Tower or Toltec Pendula are “extreme sports” in their own right.
Leisure and more
For those who wish to relax with their families amid the greenery, there is plenty of choice in the 6th district as well. The most attractive is probably the 150-year-old Botanical Garden, which extends over an area of 17.5 hectares. There are three other parks – Crângași, Drumul Taberei and Giulești – and four open-air swimming pools – Drumul Taberei, Dâmbovița-Crângași-Ciurel, Giulești and Uverturii – where visitors can bathe and relax in the sunshine. And in winter, sports fans can put on their skates and enjoy themselves at the Drumul Taberei ice rink.
Also read our series on Vienna´s 23 districts
Districts in our partner cities
Part 1: Belgrade
Part 2: Bratislava
Part 3: Budapest
Part 4: Bucharest
Part 5: Ljubljana
Part 6: Krakow
Part 7: Moscow
Part 8: Prague
Part 9: Sarajevo
Part 10: Sofia
Part 11: Zagreb