Archives February 2015

Car sharing service Uber, now available in Romania

American company Uber, an increasingly popular mobile-app-based transportation network, officially entered the Romanian market by launching its uberX app in Bucharest, on February 25.

uberX is the first ridesharing program in Romania. The smartphone application connects riders with drivers on the platform looking to share the costs of their cars.


What are ‘mărţişoare’ and where to buy them in Bucharest?

Spring is almost here; if you’ve passed by any large market or metro exit in Bucharest, you’ve probably seen street traders selling mărţişoare (trinkets) – a sure sign seasons are about to change in Romania.

The Mărţişoare are spring tokens, small objects that men offer to women on March 1, the Mărţişor Day, marking the first day of spring. They are usually small items tied with a red and white entwined cord. As most Romanian women expect to receive such martisoare on March 1 and even later until March 8, we’ve made a list of common places in Bucharest where you can buy them from.

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The place for really tasty burgers in Bucharest: Burger Bar

Burger Bar is so far my favorite place for burgers in Bucharest. Twice I’ve eaten their burgers, and I was hooked. I know in Bucharest there are other places which also serve burgers (among others), but at Burger Bar – which specializes in..well, burgers – I like the combination of tasty burgers, laid back staff and atmosphere and reasonable prices.

Their Burger Bar at Dorobanti Square is small, with most tables at the basement. You can see the chef preparing the burgers upstairs, as you enter the place – it is small.

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Unconventional building in Bucharest, shortlisted in prestigious European architecture competition

An apartment building in Bucharest is on the short list for the Mies van der Rohe  architecture prize for 2015 – the most prestigious architecture competition in Europe.

The building, called Urban Spaces and designed by the local architecture studio AND, is one of the only two residential projects shortlisted, among the 40 projects that made it to this stage. Only five of these will go to the final. Their names will be announced in London, at end-February, and the winners, in Barcelona, at the start of May.

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Romanian song: Nu plange, Ana! by ADDA – meaning of original folk ballad

We’ve been listening to this song for a while – it’s been all over the Romanian radios and music TV stations. Our test for choosing to feature a Romanian song is usually to listen it for several times, to see if the effect wears off. We still like this one, so here it is.

It’s called Nu plange Ana – Don’t cry Ana. We’re not the only ones who like this song – it already has 9.3 million views on YouTube.


Romanians make it to the final of the Sony World Photography Awards

Two Romanian photographers made it to the final of the Sony World Photography Awards, the largest photo competition in the world.

Cosmin Bumbut is among the finalists of the Architecture section in the competition dedicated to professional photographers. He submitted a portfolio of images taken in 35 Romanian prisons (one of them is the opening photo of this article).

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First online store for left-handed people opened recently in Romania

Left-handed Romanians can now purchase products adapted to their needs from a new online store recently launched in Romania.

Both children and adults can buy various items on, from pens and games to kitchen and gardening items, watches and musical instruments.


Romanian insider: Why I’m NOT ashamed about “The Romanians Are Coming”

Romania-Insider guest writer Matt Sampalean writes about the controversial documentary ‘The Romanians are Coming’, recently broadcast in the UK, which stirred street protests from Romanians who felt offended. Matt brings his own, fresh perspective.

This week’s big story in Romania is the first episode of a Channel 4 Documentary entitled “The Romanians Are Coming.”

There’s a lot to be said when a controversy-stirring documentary comes out of one of the world’s most politically correct nanny states. For one, somebody at the British Censors Bureau realized that as long as Muslims wouldn’t be offended, it was safe to air. But seriously, I’m glad it has come out because it says a number of things:

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What tickets are still available at Robbie William’s first concert in Romania

Romanians queued up early on to buy tickets for Robbie Williams’ first concert in Romania this year. They bought as many as 21,500 tickets in the first hour and a half since tickets started selling on Tuesday, February 24.

By the end of the week, the organizers estimate to sell 30,000 tickets, according to Telekom Romania, the main sponsor of the event.

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Romantic places and gift ideas for Dragobete: traditional Romanian lovers’ day

Even though more and more Romanians started to celebrate Valentine’s Day in recent years, Romania has its own lovers’ day – Dragobete, celebrated every year on February 24. An increasingly number of Romanians – and even foreigners – started preferring the local holiday to the foreign one.

There are several traditions related to the Dragobete, but they are not so much kept in Romania’s urban areas. Here, the day is mainly celebrated through special events, while lovers give each other small gifts.

As Dragobete is a traditional Romanian celebration, here’s a list of Romanian things that can turn into gifts for your loved ones.

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Bucharest competes for a place on the Monopoly board

Romania’s capital city Bucharest is among 80 cities worldwide which currently compete for a spot on the Monopoly map.

Only the top 15 cities will appear on the Monopoly board, in this year’s special edition of the popular property game, which is called Monopoly Here & Now.

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What concerts at the Enescu Festival still have available tickets. Full list

Approximately 25,000 tickets (from a total of 46,500) for the 2015 edition of the Enescu Festival were sold in just one hour from their placing on sale on Monday, February 16, at 10:00. Check out below what tickets are still available.

Fans of classical music can still find tickets for some of the concerts at the 2015 edition of the George Enescu International Festival (August 30 – September 20). Thus, the public can choose from some of the concerts in the Great Orchestras series taking place at Bucharest’s Sala Palatului and from those at the Romanian Athenaeum – the series Chamber Concerts and By Midnight.

Tickets for concerts such as the ones of the München Opera, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony (awarded with Pulitzer Prize for Music), London Symphony Orchestra to perform under the baton of one of the most acclaimed Romanian-born conductors in the world, Ion Marin, can still be purchased at prices between RON 40 and RON 160.

Among the highlights of the Great Orchestras series for which tickets are still available is the concert of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam (September 20) – one of the 10 best orchestras in the world. Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam consists of 120 musicians from over 20 countries and has an audience of 250,000 spectators per year and its first violinist of the orchestra is Romanian Liviu Prunaru. Also, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra concerts (August 31 and September 1) bring back to Bucharest renowned Zubin Mehta, who conducted this year’s edition of one of the best known classical music events in the world: the famous New Year’s Concert in Vienna.

Tickets are available online on in the Eventim network (Germanos, Orange, Vodafone and Domo stores, Humanitas and Cărturești book shops).

Check out the full list of concerts with available tickets:

Great Orchestras Series (Sala Palatului)

Romanian Youth Orchestra – August 30
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra– August 31 & September 1
Radio National Orchestra – September 2
Staatskapelle Dresden – September 4 & 5
San Francisco Symphony – September 6 & 7
London Symphony Orchestra – September 8 & 9
Bayerische Staatsoper – September 11 & 12
Choir and Orchestra of the George Enescu Philharmonic – September 14
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – September 17 & 18
Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam – September 20


Chamber Concerts Series (Romanian Athenaeum)

Tharice Virtuosi – August 31
Belcea Quartet – September 1
Scottish Ensemble – September 2
Cluj Philharmonic – September 3
New European Strings Chamber Orchestra – September 10
Bucharest Chamber Orchestra – September 12
Les Dissonaces – Xavier Philip – September 14
Monte Carlo Philharmonic – September 16
Mozarteumorchester Salzburg – September 17
Michelangelo Quartet – September 20

Some concerts in the series By Midnight and the Morning Concerts also have available tickets.

Go here for the full program of the Enescu Festival in 2015.

Berăria H launched new menu by Chef Cătălin Scărlătescu

Said to be the biggest beerhouse in Southeastern Europe, Berăria H launched officially a new menu signed by Chef Cătălin Scărlătescu. Starting February, Scărlătescu is also responsible for the coordination of the team of chefs and the suppliers of Berăria H.

Once with the official launch on February 19, at 20:00, over 50 dishes carrying the signature of the host at Hell’s Kitchen (the Romanian version of the TV cooking show) are available at the beerhouse: from fish cream soup to Black Angus burger with onion jam and camembert in a roll made after one of Scărlătescu’s original recipe.

“The new menu is simply chemistry, physics and mathematics. The food is not sophisticated, but rather classic, specific to a beerhouse. There are no star dishes, all are worth tasting: sausages, the Viennese schnitzel, as well as the Mangalitsa meat dishes or the beef short ribs.” said Chef Scărlătescu.

Launched in September 2014 with an investment of EUR 3 million, Berăria H is located in Herăstrău Park in Bucharest and attracts up to 4,000 customers in peak days. Read more about the beerhouse here.


Photo source: Cătălin Scărlătescu facebok page

A Romanian, finalist for the first human mission to Mars

A Romanian who lives in Canada is among the 100 candidates who qualified for the third selection round for the Mars One space mission that aims to take the first human crew to Mars.

Andreea, a 34-year old Romanian-Canadian citizen, is now one step closer to becoming one of the first humans on Mars. She was selected out of 202,586 applicants.

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The first 3D video game promoting Romania to be released this spring

Starting this spring, tourists can get along in some of Romania’s most beautiful places with the help of the first video game to promote tourism in Romania. Developed by an NGO promoting Romania’s rural beauty, the treasure hunt game is actually a 3D virtual guided tour including museum visits, sightseeing and even traditional Romanian products tastings. In the 3D trip to Romania, visitors are accompanied by Mihai, the game avatar and guide.

Developers announced Arad, Timişoara, Oradea, Drăguş, Belinţ, Jurilovca in Danube Delta, Vama Veche, Ecotour Romania and Drive in Romania as the first virtual tours in the country.

The official release of Play Romania is planned for beginning of April 2015. The first tours will be available online as of March 1.

Watch below a preview of the game:

Romanian movie Aferim! gets the Berlinale’s Silver Bear

Romanian film director Radu Jude won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film festival this year for his black & white historical drama Aferim!. Jude shared the prize ex aequo with Malgorzata Szumowska for the film Body.

The Romanian film was also in the race for the Best Actor award, with actor Teodor Corban in the cards to land the award, which however went to Tom Courtenay in 45 Years.

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Romanian teenager goes back to tradition: weaves and knits traditional items and sells them abroad

A 16-year old Romanian has learned the traditional craft of weaving carpets and knitting, and even turned his passion into a small business. Andrei Vladimir, a teenage boy from the town of Barlad in Northern Romania, learned how to weave and knit from his grandmother, and started crafting traditional items when he was 12. At first, he made carpets for himself, but as they started to pile up, he also started to sell them, according to Digi24 and Adevarul.

He makes traditional blouses – called Ie- carpets, blankets, wool socks and hats, and sells them either at fairs, or on the internet. The teenager also sells abroad, all over Europe.

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New record for Romania’s Enescu festival: 25,000 tickets sold in one hour

Over half of the individual tickets for this year’s edition of George Enescu International Festival in Romania were sold in about one hour, according to an announcement of the organizers.

The individual tickets were put up for sale on Monday morning, February 16. Some 25,000 tickets have already sold, which represents 55% of the total 46,500 tickets, according to estimations made at 12:30.

Tickets were sold out for 10 of the 22 cameral concerts to take place at the Romanian Athenaeum, as well as Orchestre de Chambre de Paris’s concert from the Midnight series.

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Romanian photography wins National Geographic Traveller’s competition

Romanian Alecsandra Dragoi is the overall winner of National Geographic Traveller’s 2015 photography competition in the UK, with the picture New Year’s Traditions in Comanesti, Romania.

Alecsandra Dragoi was one of the competition’s six finalists. Her photo was the People category choice.

“Romania, I promise this is just the start to show your beauties!,” she wrote on her Facebook page, after the winner was announced.

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On Valentine’s, more and more Romanians prefer romantic city breaks abroad

Romanians have started to take advantage of the cheaper plane tickets to spend their Valentine’s Day abroad. More and more couples pamper themselves with city breaks in Europe while some prefer more expensive getaways in exotic destinations in Africa or the Middle East.

Most of the couples who choose to spend a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend abroad prefer city breaks in European cities, such as Rome, Paris, London, followed by Munich and Prague, according to Romanian online tour operator

“The average budget is around EUR 300 per person, which includes plate tickets and two nights in a 3- or 4-star hotel,” said Remus Visan, managing director of

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Romania gets to Berlin Film Festival with two highly awaited films

Two long – awaited Romanian movies screened at the Berlin Film Festival this week, one of them in premiere, and both were met with a full house, and with international praises.

Romanian director Tudor Giurgiu´s movie De ce eu (Why me), pictures Romania in the year 2002: corrupt politicians, corrupt investigators and a young prosecutor who must decide between his career and the truth. A bleak picture of a society looking for a new beginning.

Giurgiu, who attended the second screening of the film on January 11 at the Berlinale, stressed on the movie’s relevance for our societies as it increases awareness of corruption. This would not only target Eastern Europe, but also include countries like Germany, with recent high-level corruption cases. „Corruption is endemic,“ the film director said.

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Photo source: Facebook greatest themed library in Eastern Europe is in Bucharest

Last night, the most talked about bookshop in Bucharest opened on historical Lipscani Street in the Old Town. Right after the official opening, posted an article calling Cărtureşti Carusel “the greatest enchanted themed library in Eastern Europe”.

The arts & creativity website with over 1.7 million Facebook followers worldwide mentioned that “the Carousel of Light” building is a monumental XIX century edifice, now regaining its status of architectural jewel.

The bookstore opened on Thursday, February 12, 2015 into the very heart of Bucharest, in an area with themed coffee shops, pubs, bohemian, traditional and high fashion luxury clothing stores. According to Boredpanda, the bookstore will become a symbol trough its innovative and contemporary-elegant style.

The 6 floors of the store host 10.000 books, 5.000 albums and DVDs, a bistro on the last floor, a multimedia space in the basement and a gallery dedicated to modern art on the first floor.

Opeed daily from 10:00 to 24:00, the new venue is expected to host numerous cultural events and concerts.

New business lounge at Bucharest’s Henri Coanda airport

The Bucharest Airports National Company (CNAB) together with flight catering company Alpha Rocas have opened a new business lounge within the Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest. The investment was worth EUR 210,000.

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Slot machines banned outside casinos & Lottery agencies in Romania

The Chamber of Deputies’ legal committee on Tuesday, February 10, approved the draft legislation that enables slot machines to function legally only in casinos and within the agencies of the Romanian Lottery.

A group of 100 MPs submitted in March last year a draft proposal that bans slot machines from any other location except for casinos and Lottery agencies.

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Romanian photograper among finalists of National Geographic Traveller’s competition

National Geographic Traveller (UK) has unveiled the finalists of its 2015 photography competition. A Romanian is among them.

There were six finalists in total, one for each of the competition’s categories: Action, Animal, People, River, Rural and Urban.

Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi’s New Year’s Traditions in Comanesti, Romania, is the People category choice, while Barry Robertson’s Bleaker Island, in the Falkland Islands is shortlisted in the Animal category, reports

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Hidden Bucharest: a portrait of the artist as an old man

In his small studio in downtown Bucharest, Ion Burcea has been refurbishing old furniture for the last 50 years. He loves the sun and laughs authority off. He is also called John Burch.

Piata Rosetti, a small square in downtown Bucharest, is located only 250 meters away from Piata Universitatii and has always been in its shadow. Big historic events have taken place in the Universitatii square; among them the 1989 Revolution, the miners’ uprising, subsequent protests. Important buildings such as the Bucharest University or the Intercontinental Hotel are located there. But hidden from history’s big events, Piata Rosetti has managed to remain a place where time doesn’t just fade away.

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Bucharesters wake up earlier than other Europeans

Three-quarters of Bucharest’s inhabitants wake up before 7:00 and 94% wake up before 9:00, according to a survey by Swedish furniture retailer IKEA. Romanian capital’s citizens get up earlier than those in other European capitals where IKEA conducted the same study.

However, waking up early is not easy. More than two-thirds of Bucharesters hit the snooze button of their morning alarms at least once, and nine in ten are stressed that they might not hear the alarm.

Once they wake up, they have in average 1 hour and 21 minutes until they leave home. How do they spend it?

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Bucharest is on the map of a new hot yoga concept

Bucharest is the second European city on the hot map of a new yoga concept, after its official launch in Romania this Friday, February 6, 2015. This accessible method became famous in London and then in other cities in the UK and attracted fans like Vogue, the Daily Mail and Men’s Health.

The two founders of the concept – Max Henderson – former business consultant and Nick Higgins, yoga instructor, were looking for an easily approachable exercise, intense and relaxing at the same time, with all the benefits of hot yoga without mystical connotations. They came up with Hotpod Yoga, an accessible version of hot yoga vinyasa, performed in a heated inflatable studio that can accommodate up to 20 people. The comfortable heat and exercise work together so that, during a session, an average of 700 calories is lost, making it a good choice for those who want to lose weight, to tone and detoxify.

“The classes already started in January and over 200 Bucharesters tried method. Our vision is to open our clients to a lifestyle oriented toward health, exercise, calm and inner balance.” said Anca and Mirela, two of the team members.

The studio is located at the heart of Bucharest, in a building full of charm and history – the “Universul” building on Ion Brezoianu Street, at the top floor, in a loft overlooking the city. Weekly, here are held over 15 sessions per week, the price of a session starting at RON 35 per session (for subscriptions).

The franchise was launched in Bucharest by a team of three young entrepreneurs, linked by a friendship of over 15 years and their love for yoga. Anca Strugariu, Mirela Mardare and Alexa Boeriu come from the business area and, in addition to their enthusiasm for yoga, share experience in both marketing and PR, as well as in finance and strategic consultancy, in London and in Bucharest.

New Starbucks luxury brand in the Bucharest expat neighborhood

Coffee shop chain Starbucks will bring its high-end brand Starbucks Reserve Strip Mall to Bucharest.  It will open the first coffee shop under this brand in the Pipera area of Bucharest on Thursday, February 12, the company has announced.

This will be Starbucks’ 13th unit in Romania. The opening comes soon after a new one, under the Starbucks brand, in the Old Town.

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Free entrance in Bucharest museums in the first Wednesday of every month

Every first Wednesday of a month, a series of museums in Bucharest can be visited for free during their usual visiting hours. Check them out below:


The National Art Museum (the Royal Palace)

Winter visiting hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00-19:00


The Vasile Goldiș Art Museum (29 Maria Rosetti St.)

Visiting hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 9:00-17:00


The Theodor Pallady Museum – Melik House (22 Spătarului St.)


The Art Collections Museum

Visiting hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00-18:00


The K.H. Zambaccian Museum

Visiting hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00-18:00