Due to dust and smoke emitted by industrial activities, Bucharest’s Sector 3 is quite polluted. Sector 3’s cultural focal point is Lipscani, a slightly shabby but still lovely historic quarter of medieval buildings, including the Princely Court of Vlad the Impaler. Restoration of buildings has been ongoing here since 2008.
Room and apartment rentals are available in the neighbourhoods of Dristor and Unirii.
A stark reminder of the Communist era, Centrul Civic was one of the areas entirely rebuilt as part of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu’s systematization schemes. Various oversized and hollow buildings built in concrete with marble facades line the central boulevard, their uniformity typifying Communist architecture. One can be overwhelmed by one of the district’s distinct landmarks, the block-like and expansive Palace of the People. It was meant to be Ceauşescu’s personal residence, but he was overthrown before he could occupy it, and now it houses most of the country’s government offices. It is also the world’s heaviest building.
East of Centrul Civic, between the Mircea Vodă and Nerva Traian Streets, are many vast, near-empty, lots, the result of the demolition of Communist-era buildings in the 1980s (called “Ceauşima”, a sarcastic merging of Ceauşescu and Hiroshima). The government renamed the area Esplanada and is planning a big redevelopment.
The district bustles with activity, especially the areas fronting Unirea Square. Quaint shops and restaurants are an exuberant contrast to the homogeneous Communist-era buildings. Lipscani Street has various historical, pre-Communist landmarks. Other historical markers include the Sf. Nicolai-Mihai Vodă Church, the Antim Monastery, and the Patriarchal Cathedral and Palace, the seat of Romania’s Orthodox Church.
The district of Dristor is accessible through the Bucharest metro station. This station is the foremost and busiest point of the network.
Known as the “Wolf’s Mouth”, Dristor is a historic district that was once the southern entry of Bucharest to Bulgaria. During both world wars, it led to the Bulgarian city of Dristor, from which the area derives its name.
A busy district, Dristor is an ideal residential area for employees who commute to the city centre for work, not only because of its access to the metro but also because of the many high-rise apartment buildings in the area.
One of the oldest districts in Romania, Lipscani is rich in medieval architecture. A fine example is the Princely Court of Vlad the Impaler, famous for inspiring Bram Stoker’s Dracula. During the Middle Ages, it was the country’s most important business centre.
During the Communist era, Lipscani’s demolition was proposed. Fortunately it was spared, but many old buildings were still abandoned. However, when Romania joined the European Union, efforts have been made to restore Lipscani to its former splendour.
Lipscani’s days as a busy commercial centre ended long ago. A bit shabby in some places and grand in others (much like the rest of Bucharest), it is rather charming, and a good place to find good, inexpensive food, entertainment, and places to hang out in.
The neighbourhood of Titan is in Bucharest’s Sector 3. The buildings here are mostly grim, Communist-era-style apartment blocks. Wide boulevards lead to large squares and commercial areas. Titan is well-connected to the rest of Bucharest by buses, trams, trolleys and the metro.
Titan includes the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park. Its lake is surrounded by the relatively new neighbourhood of Titan-Balta Alba. Its apartment blocks may look as nondescript and unappealing as any you might find elsewhere in the city, but the green surroundings make it a more pleasant place to live in.