When people think about tourism for fine art and culture, they often think of going to countries like France or Italy – the Louvre or the David tend to top their lists. However, Romania is an amazing country to visit if you are interested in the arts.
Not only is Romania home to many very talented artists, but Romania is very accessible and inexpensive, and you won’t be fighting the kinds of crowds that gather around the Mona Lisa! Romania has a very rich history that has been well-preserved. In this article, we will discuss different art scenes in Romania and where to go to experience them!
Folk Art is big in Romania. Not only because the country’s history is so well-preserved, but also because this type of art is unique to the country. Every country has artists that create photography, but no other country in the world has such a wealth of Romanian folk art! If you are in Bucharest, we would recommend visiting the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Venture a little further out to Moldovita and visit the National Museum of Painted Eggs – egg painting is a classic Romanian tradition. You can also head out to the Open Air Museum ASTRA, which is one of the biggest open-air folk museum in all of Europe. This museum has more than just folk art and is a great place to learn about the history of Romania.
If you are interested in contemporary art, there are two cities you must visit while in Romania: Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca. We would recommend Bucharest above all, as the capital city has a wealth of contemporary museums and galleries. For sure you should check out the National Museum of Contemporary Art. This museum is the biggest of its kind in the country, and they host many events. Events range from concerts, film projections, and artist talks to workshops and contemporary performances.
Cluj-Napoca is much further north than Bucharest, but if you have the chance to visit Cluj, we would recommend the Paintbrush Factory. This space is an old factory that has been converted into a cultural space. It has five galleries, two performance rooms, and more. Some of the most famous Romanian artists display their work here, so it is definitely worth a visit!
Romania is one of the most religious countries in Europe, with over 90% of the population identifying as Christian. Romania has a long and rich religious history and tradition and, as such, there are many places throughout the country where one can view religious art.
First, we would recommend visiting as many churches and cathedrals as you can if you are interested in religious art! There are so many beautiful churches throughout the country, in every city, so you will definitely not run out of churches to visit. Some of the churches that we would recommend are The People’s Salvation Church in Bucharest, The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Constanta, and the Black Church Brasov.
Another famous place to view religious art is the Merry Cemetery in Maramures, where all the tombstones are decorated colorfully and have poetry or other writing describing and celebrating the life of each person buried there. Finally, we would recommend The Painted Monasteries of Bucovina.
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the paintings are absolutely jaw-dropping and wondrous. There are eight painted monasteries going all the way back to the 15th century, and they are painted with bright colors portraying different religious stories.
If you love photography, Romania has something for you! The Photo Romania Festival is a huge festival dedicated to photography in Romania. It takes place during an entire week in October and hundreds of photographers go to showcase their work. Many international artists attend this festival and there are all kinds of activities.
There are workshops, meetings with photography managers, conferences, and even concerts. More than that, even if you are not a photography pro, you can go to get photography training or to attend a beginner’s workshop. All levels are invited and encouraged to attend!
Romania is festivals galore! What is so great about Romanian festivals if you are a tourist is that they allow you to learn about and participate in Romanian culture and traditions. If you are into electronic music festivals or other pop music festivals, Romania has that. If you are more into celebrations of classic music, Romania has that. If you want a smaller, more traditional village festival in celebration of a local flower or fruit, Romania has that too. Just go online and search your interests and go from there!
Speaking of music, if you are more interested in classical music, Romania also has rich tradition in this. Every September, Bucharest hosts the George Enescu Classical Music Festival. This event is in tribute to George Enescu, who is arguably the most famous classical musician of Romania.
He was a child music prodigy and later gained prominence when he moved to Paris and was recognized throughout the world as one of the most promising young musicians. In fact, he is considered by many to be Romania’s best musician ever.
The George Enescu Classical Music Festival attracts talent from all over the world. Famous orchestras and opera companies, such as the Russian National Orchestra or the Scala di Milano. The event also has jazz concerts, traditional music concerts, and movie concerts, in attempt to appeal to a wider audience. In short, even if you are not a classical music guru, this event has something for you!
If you are an art lover, Romania has something you will enjoy. Romania has a rich history and artistic tradition, so you will not run out of art to enjoy while you are in this beautiful country. There are even more art forms that are celebrated in Romania, beyond what is written about in this article, including cinema. Continue to explore and we are sure you will find something you will love!