Souvenirs and traditional Romanian artifacts
If you want to buy handicrafts made in Romania look for the "Artizanat"
stores which can be found throughout the city. There are quite a few of them in downtown Bucharest.
These stores sell local artifacts like embroidered clothing and decorations, hand painted Easter
eggs, pottery, carpets, carvings, dolls, masks, and other items. Other popular places to buy Romanian
goods are the shops located in the Peasant Museum and the Village Museum. Many of the artifacts are
top quality and inexpensive.
Bucharest Mall is a modern shopping mall that opened in 1999. The building
in which it is located has a bit of history. It is part of a series built all around the city
at Ceausescu order. They were intended to be used as produce markets but I believe only one or
two opened before December 1989 which was the end of Ceausescu's era. The rest have been left incomplete
and abandoned for a long time. Their official name was "Complex agro-alimentar" but they were known to
everyone as "hunger circuses" (the reason being that their dome-shaped design looked a lot like Bucharest's
circus building; and hunger because people didn't really expect to find any food there despite the official
word). Anyway, the past is in the past :-) the building got a good facial and today it looks a lot like a
US mall. It has over 70 (expensive) stores spread over 4 levels, a large supermarket, a food court with over
20 restaurants, a multiplex cinema, a video games arcade and ... I can't think of something else to enumerate
but it has almost everything one needs. It even has a big parking lot, a true rarity in Bucharest. Address:
Calea Vitan 55-59
Everything you want under one roof
Unirea Shopping Center is a former communist department store which was
transformed into the largest shopping area in Bucharest. Today it has over 200 shops and
boutiques in which you can buy pretty much everything you can think off (clothes, shoes, food, souvenirs,
home stuff etc.). You can also find places to eat inside the shopping center. It doesn't look very appealing
from outside (I've read somewhere that they're planning on a new facade) but it's a good place to go shopping.
Address: Piata Unirii
Antiques and art galleries
A lot of antiques stores seem to have flourished in the historic quarter in
particular on Lipscani and Covaci Streets (or maybe they were there for a long time but we didn't notice them).
Since we're not into buying antiques we can't say if the prices are high or not, you'll have to judge for yourself.
From what we saw you can find almost any type of artwork like paintings, sculptures, icons, etching, engraving,
jewelry, tapestries, carpets etc. A nice place to visit, even if you don't plan on buying something is Hanul cu Tei
Complex, a former caravanserai built in 1833. Nowadays a rectangular courtyard lined with antiques shops the place
retains some of the 19C atmosphere. The courtyard links the Lipscani and Blanari Streets. They also hold auctions
there. Even if you walk away with nothing, this is still an interesting experience. Address: Hanul cu Tei Complex is
located at Str. Lipscani 63-65