Archives October 2016

Veranda Mall opens in Obor area of Bucharest

A new mall is opening in the capital this week, the second such opening this year in Bucharest after ParkLake Plaza opened in Titan neighborhood this September.

Veranda Mall, which required an investment of EUR 60 million, is anchored by a Carrefour store. The shopping center counts among its tenants brands such as H&M, CCC, Deichman, Pepco, Yves Rocher, DM or Pimkie. It has over 100 stores, a restaurant area, a parking lot with 1,200 places and a vast green area of over 15,000 sqm.

No malls are located in the Bucur Obor area in the second district of Bucharest, only the Obor commercial center.

Photo: Veranda Mall Facebook Page

The medieval Rupea fortress

The medieval Rupea fortress has turned into a local tourism success story after the rehabilitation it underwent between 2010 and 2013. Also known by the name of the Cohlamului fortress, from the Cohlam hill it stands upon, the fortress sees thousands of tourists yearly, coming here to visit one of oldest archeological sites on Romanian territory.

First documented in 1324, when the Saxon population living in the area rose against King Carol Robert of Hungary and took refuge in its premises, the fortress served throughout the 15th century as an important commercial and manufacturing center.

Rupea Fortress2The site is made up of three types of fortifications. The high fortress is the oldest construction, erected on the ruins of what is believed to be the ruins of the Dacian fortress Ramidava. The middle fortress was built in the 15th century and expanded in the 17th century to add the chapel and a surveillance tower. The lower fortress was built in the 18th century. It served as a place of refuge against the 1716 plague epidemic. In 1790 the spiral-shaped construction was damaged and later abandoned. During communist times, its demolition was planned in order to allow for the exploitation of the basalt from which the hill its stands upon is formed.

You can find the site 50 kilometers away from Brasov, on the Mures-Sighisoara-Brasov tourist route. Close to Rupea is the Fisher (or Schweischer/ Sövénység ) village, home to one of the several fortified churches in Transylvania.

Photo source:

IKEA to open barbecue food-truck next to its Bucharest store

Swedish retailer IKEA is set to open a barbecue food-truck next to its store in Baneasa area in northern Bucharest, the only one so far in Romania. A new Bucharest store is planned to open by the end of 2018.

The new food truck is set to open in November this year.

The trailer will be located on the right side of the IKEA store, and will offer takeout only services, as there will be no tables arranged near the food-truck. It will stay open daily between 12:00 and 20:00.

IKEA is already operating a restaurant and a hot dog stand inside its store in Baneasa. The restaurant has grown to be one of the biggest in Romania in terms of sales.

Read more about the planned opening at

The street food trend has caught on locally, with many stand-alone food trucks and vans opening lately. Several large restaurants in Bucharest also added street-food units to their existing venues, and events dedicated to the the trend multiplied. More street-food units in Bucharest here.

Ikea recently announced plans to expand to new cities in the country in the following years.

New Stradale restaurant opens in Bucharest’s Oregon Park

A new Stradale restaurant is opening in Bucharest’s office complex Oregon Park at the beginning of November. The restaurant has a 500 sqm surface and works under the “street food” concept, created by Chef Foa (pictured) for the event catering company Flavours.

This will be the fifth Stradale restaurant to open in Bucharest. Clients can see here “live cooking shows” and chefs working to prepare various types of grill or freshly baked bread.

The décor of the restaurant mixes natural wood with metallic elements and is meant to remind clients of the relaxed atmosphere of street festivals.

oregon-parkFlavours was established in 2002, with a team led by Chef Foa, one of the best-known chefs in the country. Stradale will open in building A of Oregon Park, which was delivered this September. The building has a total surface of 21,000 sqm and has US company Oracle as its main tenant. Oregon Park is located at Pipera Road, in northern Bucharest. The complex is set to include three office buildings with a total surface of 72,000 sqm. The B building is set to be delivered in October, with a surface of 24,000 sqm, of which 5,000 are already leased.

Photo: PR

McDonald’s plans to expand food delivery service in Bucharest

Fast-food restaurant chain McDonald’s Romania is looking to expand its delivery service McDelivery in Bucharest, according to local daily Ziarul Financiar. The service is currently available in office buildings in the Barbu Vacarescu, Pipera, and Promenada mall area in Bucharest.

The company started delivering food in the Piata Victoriei area three years ago. It was the first McDelivery project in the capital.

McDonald’s network had sales of EUR 115 million in Romania in 2015.

Read more on the planned expansion at

Standing the test of time: the Targoviste court

A visit here equates to a lesson in Romanian history, architecture and customs. Located in Targoviste, about one-and-a-half hour’s drive away from Bucharest, the princely court is an ensemble of medieval buildings and fortifications has served as residence for the princes of the Tara Romaneasca province.

Probably its most easily recognizable symbol is the Chindia Tower. It was built during the second half of the 15th century, during the rule of Vlad Tepes. Its construction began on the site of a chapel dating back to the time of Mircea cel Batran.  The tower was built as a defense and served, at the same time, for observation and for guarding the yard and its surroundings. During the 16th and the 17th centuries the tower was also the prison for the princely court. Twenty-seven meters tall, it has a pyramid-shaped basis out of which is cylindrical construction develops. Its external diameter is of 9 meters. The construction has three levels, the last two being marked on the outside by four openings and two balconies. Visitors reaching the site can enjoy a panoramic view of the city once they climb its 122 steps.

Although the Chindia Tower is the easiest part of the ensemble to identify, there are plenty of other places to visit while on site. Take the three churches, one of them dating back to around 1415, and another built by Prince Petru Cercel. The princely homes in the complex can also be visited as are the royal bath, built during the times of Matei Basarab. This rectangular construction houses three rooms and its floors are made of Albesti stone.

Part of the ensemble is also a defense moat, an impressive military construction which prevented the exit and entrance from and to the court and put the enemy in an unfavorable position during battle situations.

How to get there:

Take the DN7 and DN71 as shown.

Photo source: Cristian Chirita/ Wikipedia

The Botanical Garden in Bucharest

Among Bucharest parks, the Botanical Garden holds a special place for not only being home to more than 10,000 species of plants but also for being one of the quietest spots of the capital.

The Cotroceni site is not the capital’s first Botanical garden. The first such venue was established by Romanian physician Carol Davila in 1860 near the Medical School. Its first two directors were botanists Ulrich Hoffmann and Dimitrie Grecescu.  Its third director, Dimitrie Branza, whose name the garden carries, moved it to where it can be found today, spreading on 17.5 hectares, including 4,000 sqm of greenhouses. Belgian landscape architect Louis Fuchs also worked on the project and in 1891 the garden was inaugurated.

In time, the site suffered various damages, most notably at the 1892 flooding and during the First and Second World Wars when it was occupied by the German troops and damaged by the UK-US forces bombings in 1944, respectively. The garden’s Old Greenhouse was built between 1889 and 1891 after the model of the Liege Greenhouses in Belgium. In 2011 the construction was rehabilitated as a tropical rainforest corner and now accommodates several examples of exotic plants. The Botanical Museum, to be found also inside the garden, near the entrance gates, is home to more than 5,000 plant species, including 1,000 exotic plants.

Botanical Garden Bucharest Old Green HouseThe garden is divided into several areas dedicated to ornamental plants, rare plants from the Balkans and the Mediterranean, the Dobrogea flora, an Italian garden, a cascade, a space for mountain plants, a roses garden, and the exotic plants part. Among the must-see plants here are four ginko-biloba trees and the tulip tree.

The Botanical garden is open for visits between 8.00 and 20.00. The greenhouses can be visited between 9.00 and 13.00 on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The Botanical Museum is open from 10.00 to 15.00 from Monday to Thursday and from 9.00 to 13.00 on Saturday and Sunday. Group tours are available, upon request.


The Red Ravine

Rapa Rosie, roughly translated in English as the Red Ravine, is often considered the local version of the Grand Canyon. In the western county of Alba, at 3 kilometers away from Sebes, the traveler can find the site on the road linking this town to the Daia Romana village.

With the status of a geological reservation, Rapa Rosie stands on 10 hectares. Its walls are 80 to 100 meters tall and the varied landscape, shaped like red-looking of columns, towers, pyramids, was formed through water erosion. Deep valleys open left and right and rain water is leaving think creeks behind.  The highest peak in Rapa Rosie has more than 500 meters, offering spectacular views of the area. Dinosaur fossils have been discovered in 2009 in this 60 million years old site, and several rare plant species can also be found here. One of the largest caves in the country is located here, of which locals say it used to serve as a hiding place for outlaws through time.

How to get there:

The site has become more accessible for visits since the Orastie – Sibiu highway opened. The highway runs approximately 2 kilometers away from the canyon. You can take the DN 1-7 (E81) to Sebes from where the communal road leads to Daia Romana. After crossing the Vintu de Jos – Sibiu railroad the country road leads on the left side to the reservation.

Photo source: