Romanian Athenaeum (Ateneul Român)0
The country's most prestigious concert hall, the Romanian Athenaeum stands as a national monument to the arts -- built almost entirely out of donated funds from the public. Completed in 1888, French architect Albert Galleron sought to design an ancient temple for a modern city. The result was a stunning blend of classical architecture and the French flare for ornamentation. Inside, the venue is known for its superior acoustics; it currently hosts the George Enescu Philharmonic. The concert hall is also known for its great location downtown, which one TripAdvisor user says "is very nice" with "lots of cafes and restaurants" for you to enjoy.
The only way to experience the beautiful Athenaeum is at a concert, not on a tour. But recent guests say that could be a blessing in disguise. And fortunately, tickets are cheap; as little as 8 RON, or about $3 USD. Look at the philharmonic's website for tickets and concert info.
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#0 Bran Castle
Although this remarkable fortress has weathered centuries of war, poverty and multiple political empires, Bran Castle is most famous for being the assumed residence of Dracula. Vlad Tepes, the real-life inspiration for the fictional vampire, attacked the fortress several times and even conquered it once in 1459. This castle, which sits on the border of the Transylvania and Wallachia regions, has endured legal battles and state-seizures. It has changed hands between the Romanian royals and the government several times in the past hundred years.
Hopefully, the ownership issue was permanently resolved in 2009, when the royal family transformed the castle into a public museum. Now, you can tour the five floors of this ancient structure and its grounds. However, don't say yes right away. A TripAdvisor user criticizes, "This castle is just a line of tourists goin' in one door and out the other with little of interest." Less of a tourist trap is a village museum, also located on the premises. Near the castle gates, you'll also be able to load up on vampire gear and traditional Transylvanian snacks from local vendors.
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