Imagine a city where history, culture, and nature effortlessly intertwine, creating a captivating and unique travel experience. Welcome to Craiova, Romania’s hidden gem, boasting a rich history, vibrant city center, and stunning natural surroundings. Join us as we uncover the many treasures this charming city has to offer.
- Experience Dolj County’s historical landmarks and explore the University of Craiova.
- Enjoy day trips from Craiova to Horezu pottery, Curtea de Arges, Danube River and Iron Gates Nature Park for unique cultural experiences.
Exploring Craiova’s city centre – regional trading centre
As the largest city located in southwest Romania and the capital of Dolj County, Craiova has built a reputation for its:
- Historical structures.
- Lush green spaces.
- Unique customs.
- Mouth watering gastronomy.
As a regional trading centre, the city prospered, and its city center showcases the result of this growth. Strolling through the streets, you’ll encounter beautiful parks, historic buildings, and a vibrant atmosphere that brings the city to life. The historic center of Craiova has been brought back to life in the iconic “La Belle Epoque” style. This transformation has made its city hall and center one of the most beautiful city center’s in Romania.
Nicolae Romanescu Park
Spanning over 100 hectares, Nicolae Romanescu Park is the largest natural park in central and eastern Europe, designed by the renowned French architect, Édouard Redont. This picturesque nice park offers a serene escape within the city, featuring lush greenery, a lake, and various recreational activities. The park is home to a middle age castle, lakes, waterfalls, a suspended bridge, a hippodrome, a velodrome, and a zoo, all designed by French architect Édouard Redont. This masterpiece of landscape art was awarded a gold medal at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris.
Nicolae Romanescu Park becomes a cultural hotspot during the summer season, hosting a myriad of events as part of the Summer Festival. Take your time to explore this beautiful park, discovering its unique attractions, and soaking in the tranquil atmosphere. With its combination of exquisite architecture, charming botanical garden, and wide array of activities, it’s no wonder that Nicolae Romanescu Park is a must see attraction in Craiova.
Craiova Art Museum
Located in the Constantin Mihail Palace, the Craiova Art Museum showcases over 12,000 pieces of Romanian and international art, including works from the Romanian principalities. Established in 1954, the museum is housed in the oldest building in the town of Craiova, providing a perfect backdrop for the stunning art collection it contains.
Artworks by notable artists like Theodor Aman, Nicolae Grigorescu, Vasile Popescu, Ștefan Luchian, and Constantin Brancusi grace the halls of The Craiova Art Museum. As you stroll through the museum, take your time to appreciate the valuable paintings, modern sculpture art, and the gallery devoted to Constantin Brâncuși. With its expansive collection, the Craiova Museum is an essential destination for art enthusiasts visiting the city.
Uncovering Craiova’s rich history
The history of Craiova traces back to its initial establishment on the site of the Dacian stronghold Pelendava, which was subsequently renamed Castra Nova after the Roman invasion of Dacia. As you delve into the city’s rich history, you’ll uncover stories of ancient civilizations, cultural influences, and architectural marvels that have shaped Craiova into the captivating city it is today.
To gain a deeper understanding of the region’s past, explore Dolj County’s historical landmarks and visit the University of Craiova, one of Romania’s oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning. From ancient roots to modern day significance, Craiova’s history is a fascinating tale waiting to be discovered.
Dolj County’s historical landmarks
Dolj County in Romania is home to approximately 700 officially registered historical monuments, including:
- Architectural buildings.
These landmarks depict the history and traditions of Dolj County. Visiting them provides a unique opportunity to learn about the region’s past and appreciate the cultural heritage that has been preserved throughout the years.
Notable landmarks include the Saint Ilie Church, erected by Mircea the Old in the 14th century, and the All Saints Church, believed to date back to the late 18th century. Exploring these historical sites will transport you back in time, as you learn about significant events and renowned figures associated with these landmarks, including St. Oprea Nicholas, St. George the Pilgrim, and St. Sabbas the Goth. By visiting Dolj County’s historical landmarks, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the region’s past and the stories that have shaped its present.
University of Craiova
Established in 1947, the University of Craiova is one of Romania’s oldest and most esteemed institutions of higher education. As the most prominent university in the Oltenia province of Romania, it has produced notable alumni such as Ana Maria Brânză, a Romanian épée fencer, and Valeriu Nicolae, a human rights activist.
The University of Craiova offers a wide range of courses and fields of study, including undergraduate degree programs in science, mathematics, informatics, physics, literature, and foreign languages, as well as master’s degree programs in economics, public relations, history of arts, history, and archeology. With 17 faculties and international partnerships, the university is a testament to Craiova’s commitment to education and its role as a cultural and educational hub.
Day trips and excursions from Craiova
While Craiova offers a wealth of attractions within its city limits, the surrounding region presents a variety of exciting day trips and excursions for those looking to further explore Romania’s wonders. From the traditional pottery nearby village of Horezu to the breathtaking Danube River and Iron Gates Nature Park, there is no shortage of adventures to be had just a short journey away from the city.
Venture out on these day trips to immerse yourself in the diverse attractions of the surrounding region, each destination revealing unique facets of Romania’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or an outdoor adventurer, these excursions promise unforgettable experiences.
Horezu pottery and monasteries
The village of Horezu is renowned for its traditional pottery, recognized as “Horezu ceramics”. This unique type of Romanian pottery is handmade and displays generations of knowledge and craftsmanship, earning a designation as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2012. As you visit the village, make sure to admire the skilled artisans at work and perhaps even bring home a piece of this traditional craft as a souvenir.
In addition to its pottery, Horezu is also home to the stunning Hurezi monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 1690 by Prince Constantin Brancoveanu, the monastery is a remarkable example of the “Brancovenesc” architectural style. As you explore this beautiful site, take in the intricate details and rich history that make it an essential destination for travelers in the region.
Curtea de Arges
Curtea de Arges is home to a beautiful 16th century Byzantine style monastery, where Romania’s kings and queens are buried. Founded between 1512 and 1517 during the time of voivode Neagoe Basarab, the Curtea de Arges Monastery is a part of the renowned Romanian legend of master Manole. As you explore this breathtaking site, soak in the history and legends that surround this important landmark.
In addition to the monastery, Curtea de Arges is also a gateway to other attractions in the region, such as the Transfagarasan Highway, Vidraru Dam, and Princely Church of St Nicholas. With its beautiful architecture and fascinating history, Curtea de Arges is a perfect day trip destination for those seeking to explore the treasures of Romania.
Danube River and Iron Gates Nature Park
The Danube River and Iron Gates Nature Park are a true testament to Romania’s natural beauty. This remarkable nature reserve offers stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and a variety of outdoor activities for all ages and interests. As you explore the park, keep an eye out for the various bird species, such as eagles, falcons, and herons, as well as other mammals like wild boars and deer.
With its breathtaking scenery and abundance of outdoor activities, the Danube River and Iron Gates Nature Park are an ideal destination for those looking to connect with nature and experience the beauty of Romania’s landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or simply seeking a tranquil escape, this nature reserve promises an unforgettable experience.
Accommodation options in Craiova
Craiova caters to all travelers, offering a diverse range of accommodation options (hotels) to match different preferences and budgets. Some options include:
- Bella House: A budget friendly hotel.
- Ramada Plaza Craiova: A luxurious stay.
- Hotel Golden House Craiova: Another luxurious option.
For those seeking a more unique experience, Craiova is also home to boutique accommodations such as The Arlington Boutique Hotel and Prestige Boutique Hotel Craiova. With so many options to choose from, you can rest assured that you’ll find the perfect place to call home during your stay in this charming city.
Getting around Craiova and beyond
Navigating Craiova and the surrounding areas is a breeze, thanks to the city’s efficient public transportation system. With an extensive network of 20 routes served by trolleys, buses, and trams, exploring the city and its attractions becomes easy, pleasant, and affordable.
For those looking to venture beyond the city limits, trains, buses, and taxis are readily available to transport you to nearby destinations. Whether you’re embarking on a day trip to Horezu or journeying to the Danube River and Iron Gates Nature Park, there’s a transportation option to suit every traveler’s needs.
Local cuisine and dining experiences
Offering a vibrant food scene, Craiova invites travelers to indulge in a variety of local cuisine and unique dining experiences. Sample traditional Romanian dishes, such as the country’s signature soup composed of rice, beans, potatoes, pumpkin, and tomato, at Carul din Stele, a restaurant offering authentic Romanian cuisine.
In addition to traditional fare, Craiova consists of a diverse array of highly regarded restaurants, including:
- The Manor Restaurant & Lounge.
- Pizzeria Trevi.
- Epoca Steak House & Wine Bar Restaurant.
As you explore the city’s culinary landscape, you’ll be treated to a delicious and unforgettable dining experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Craiova is a city where history, culture, and nature come together to create a truly unique and captivating travel experience. From its vibrant city center and rich historical landmarks to the stunning natural surroundings and diverse day trips, there is something for everyone in this charming city. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or simply seeking a serene escape, Craiova promises an unforgettable journey that will leave you longing for more.
Frequently asked questions
Is Craiova worth visiting?
Craiova is definitely worth visiting, given its stunning palace from the beginning of the 20th Century and the works of the most important Romanian painters including Tuculescu, Luchian, Iser, Grigorescu and Tonitza.
What is Craiova Romania known for?
Craiova, the capital of Romania’s Oltenia province, is known for its impressive architectural building from the early 20th century, containing works of major Romanian painters. Historically, Craiova was a major trading center and the site of the first Romanian society for shares in cereal shipping on the Danube. It also became a hub for specialists in dressing and tanning skins and hides due to the high demand for exports.
What are the must see attractions in Craiova’s city center?
Nicolae Romanescu Park and Craiova Art Museum are the must see attractions in Craiova’s city center.