The road to Bucharest’s highest altitude point is a unique one in the capital. The Xenofon street, as it is named, is often referenced as the city’s only stairways street. The 200 years old and narrow road is less than 100 meters long but has over 100 steps, and links the Constantin Istrati street to the Suter alley. It is named after Greek philosopher Xenofon, author of famed Anabasis, describing the adventures of returning home of an army of 10,000 Greek mercenaries, as they were passing through the Persian Empire.
The only Bucharest street cars never travelled is divided into two sections, linked by a small passage. On the right side, going up, the visitor sees a grey wall, on the left side the yard of two families. At the end of the stairs one can find the Suter rotunda and the building of the former Suter palace, more than a century old.
In 1895 the swamps surrounding the site were turned into a park, to mark the General Romanian Exhibition of 1906. Swiss architect Adolf Suter worked on designing and building the park and bought the land on the top of the Filaret hill to build a small palace here. The palace is called today Carol Park Hotel. It accommodates one of the largest Murano crystal chandeliers in the world, stretching over four stories tall.
Last year, the street got a facelift when, as part of a socio-cultural project, painter Eva Radu colored the street with eight images of some of Bucharest’s cultural and historical landmarks. The steps leading up to the Carol Park hotel were painted with representations of the Romanian Atheneum, the Triumph Arch, the Carol Park Mausoleum, the People’s Palace, the National Art Museum, the Romanian Peasant Museum, the National Theater and the National Opera. The paint used was meant to last at least a year so you can still check them out and see how it compares with Rio de Janeiro’s Selaron or San Francisco’s 16th Avenue Tiled Steps.