Copyright: Luchian Comsa
Muzeul Național de Artă Contemporană (National Museum of Contemporany Art, or MNAC)
Since its opening in 2004, MNAC has played an active role in Bucharest’s arts scene.The decision to house the gallery in Ceaușescu’s People’s Palace was initially controversial, but the four-level facility with exterior glass lifts has proved to be a modern and remarkable space. The venue showcases multimedia rat such as video installations, digital and interactive exhibits. Taking a prompt from the building in which it is housed, the museum also tackles the Communist legacy from the time to time.
An open-air café on the top floor is a good place to finish a visit.
People’s Palace. Strada Izor 2-4, wing E4 (entrance from Calea 13 Septembrie).
Tel(021) 318 9137. www.mnac.ro
Open: 10 am-6pm Closed: Mon & Tue.
Admission charge. Bus: 385
Muzeul Național de Artă al României (National Art Museum)
Housed in the Royal Palace, former home of the prince under whom Romania’s principalities were first united, the National Art Museum (for some reason never referred to as a gallery) contains Romania’s premier collection. The building’s three floors each feature one permanent exhibition.
The medieval art collection has a predominantly religious theme. Many of the pieces were salvaged from churches around the country and include an impressive 14th-century fresco of the Last Supper. The second-floor modern Romanian art display contains work by all the local masters, the most famous of whom is sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. European paintings and sculptures also get a floor. A separate wing is home to changing displays by contemporany European artists. The art works are accompaniend by informative captions in English. The gallery also hosts some evening events.
Calea Victoriei 49-53 Tel: (021) 313 3030
Open: May-Sept daily 11 am- 7 pm, Oct-Apr daily 10 ma- 6 pm
Closed: Mon &Tue.
Admission charge. Metro: Piața Română
Muzeul Satului (Vilage Museum)
The superlative Village Museum is a microcosm of Romania architecture, and as such ideal for anyone who wants to get an impression of the whole country without venturing outside Bucharest. The enterely outdoor museum covers 15ha (37 acres) and consists of over 60 original buildings transported from their former locations.
Visitors walk around and peer into 18th- and 19th-century houses, churches, mills nad farmsteads from all over Romania; a rustic signpost tells you which region is represented where.
Some of the buildings have audio information, including in English, available at the touch of a button. There is a well-stocked gift shop, and market stalls peddling traditional wares can sometimes be found outside.
Șoseaua Kiseleff 28-30. Tel: (021) 317 9068
Open: Tue-Sun 9am-7pm, Mon 9am-5pm
Admission charge, except for visitors with disabilities
Metro: Piața Victoriei
Muzeul Țăranului Român (Peasant Museum)
One of the highest-rated museums in the capital and indeed the country, the multifarious exhibits in the Peasant Museum paint a vivid history of Romanian daily life and sutoms over the last few centuries. Textiles and costumes, pots, carving, icons and delicately painted eggs are a few if the items on display, and if anything takes your fancy you can usually find a version of it in the museum shop. The basement houses a fascinating and sinister collection of Communist memorabilia- the museum’s previous incarnation was as the Communist Party museum-including a portrait of Joseph Stalin and two of Ceaușescu.
Șoseaua Kiseleff 3 Tel: (021) 317 9660
Admission charge. Metro: Piața Victoriei