The churches of Bucharest is a topic that comes up quite often in my tours as people are honestly curious to find out more about this. We have 311 religious settlements in Bucharest. One at every street corner, I might say. While religion may be going through interesting times nowadays, the fascination with old churches and temples doesn’t seem to fade.
Which are orthodox churches and which aren’t? How old are they? Are they still in use? Are we allowed to go in? What are their stories? These are just a couple of questions that I often receive during my tours.
So I decided to pinpoint some of the religious settlements that you might want to see during your visit to
I had to begin with this one because it’s my absolute favorite.
The Coral Temple is a synagogue built between 1857-1867 in what is now the former Jewish Quarter. The temple is decorated in Moorish Byzantine style and although it has seen a lot of vandalism and destruction through its existence, today it is renovated and open for visitors.
The Coral Temple is a must see if you visit Bucharest. Be it if you are curious about the Jewish history of Bucharest, a history nerd or you just want to see something beautiful.
It is very easy to find, just a leisurely 10 minutes walk from the Unirii Square on 9 Sfanta Vineri Str. The opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 9:00 to 15:00, Friday from 9:00 to 13:00, Saturday is closed, Sunday is from 9:00 to 13:00. Entrance fee is 10 lei per person and you get explanations from the temple guide. (In several languages, English being one of them)
Stavropoleos is probably the most famous orthodox church in Bucharest. Set on the picturesque street of Stavropoleos, this monastery is an oasis of peace in the middle of crazy party town (aka Old Town Bucharest).
Stavropoleos was built in 1724 in Romanian Brancovenesc style and was originally part of an inn. This kind of arrangement, church + inn was quite common back in the day, as the income from the inn would be used to sustain the church.
While in the course of the centuries the inn was demolished, the church was renovated to its beautiful present day state. Romania’s star architect, Ion Mincu, renovated the church and draw the plans for the matching courtyard.
It is surely a must see when in Bucharest. It’s also impossible to miss since it’s in the Old Town on Stavropoleos Str. You are bound to pass by it at some point.
Please note that the church is still in use. Even if most of the time you’ll find more tourists than locals here, during service hours visits are not recommended.
If there is a church with a good story than this is the one.
The story begins in 1688 when Constantine Brancoveanu was the ruling prince of Wallachia. He is also the prince that created the only typical Romanian architectural style: the Brancovenesc style. Also used for the Kretzulescu church.
However, the political and administrative ventures of our artistic prince were not to the liking of the neighboring Ottoman Empire and its sultan, Ahmed III. On the 15th of August 1714 Constantine, his 4 sons and his adviser were all beheaded in Constantinople. Romanian history – never boring!
His son in law, Iordache Kretzulescu built the Kretzulescu church in 1722 on his estate, for the private use of Kretzulescu and Brancoveanu families. He dedicated the church to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary celebrated on the 15th of August every year.
It is also interesting to note that in 1722 the church and the estate were built at the Northern border of Bucharest. Nearly 200 years later and that is the city centre.
This is another church that it is impossible to miss. It’s the red brick church in the Revolution Square next to the Royal Palace.
This is the only Anglican church in Bucharest. It was built in 1914 to serve the local British community. Our Queen Mary, who was English born, helped and supervised the construction of this church.
The architectural style is Victorian Gothic. This makes it an odd appearance on the architectural scene of Bucharest. We don’t have a lot of Gothic in this part of the country.
The church is on the Arthur Verona Str with closest metro station at Piata Romana. The church is next to the park Gradina Icoanei. The best way to see the church is to dedicate a walk to the entire area around Verona street. This street has the best, most instagramed graffiti in Bucharest and there’s also the Carturesti library and Verona summer terrace.
*photo's to follow
The Armenian Church is a bundle deal together with the Armenian Quarter in Bucharest. For more information about the Armenian Quarter, a sweetheart neighborhood of mine read my article: The Armenian Quarter.
Going back to the church, it was built in 1915 in Armenian style (of course) by the architect called Dimitrie Maimarolu. The inspiration for this church was the cathedral of Etchmiadzin, the spiritual centre of Armenia.
Although it looks similar to the Romanian Orthodox churches, the Armenian church has some particularities: the altar is open and the walls are less ornate.
I highly recommend this church together with a stroll through the Armenian Quarter and a visit to the Melik House. You can find the church on 43 Carol I Blvd.
If the name doesn’t give it away, then this is the church next to the Old Princely Court in the Old Town, on Franceza Str.
Historically speaking, this was the court church and served the throne of Wallachia. It is the oldest, still functional building of the Princely Court ensemble. This is where the princes of Wallachia received their blessings upon taking the throne in the Middle Ages.
This mid 16th century church went through nothing less than 7 fires and several earthquakes. Nowadays, besides its proximity to the Old Fortress of Bucharest there is nothing to tie this church to its medieval importance.
This Romanian Orthodox Church is quite a hidden gem of Bucharest. It was only recently that I myself discovered it.
Built in 1726 this is one of the old churches of the city that was lucky enough to survive the 1980s communist demolitions.
During Ceausescu’s project of revamping the city, we’ve lost numerous old churches and historical buildings, simply because they were in the way of the dictator's plans. I mean, the man wiped out an entire neighborhood for his precious dream palace.
The Schitul Maicilor Church was scheduled to be demolished because its original place was on the present day SE wing of the Palace of Parliament. To protect it, it was placed on a platform and moved 245 m. This was the first church to be moved away and behind the monster buildings of the 1980s.
But none of them is in such a cramped, dark and forgotten place like the Schitul Maicilo Church.
For a better understanding of what happened to Bucharest in the 80s, I highly recommend visiting Schitul Maicilor church and the entire area around it with a professional guide.
Address of the church: Mitropolit Antim Ivireanul Str.Join our Roaring Romania Facebook Group! Be part of our community, get answers to your questions about travelling to Romania or share your experience with us! Bonus: free guide to Bucharest.