Fiction

The glass ceiling of the ballroom can open to allow a helicopter to land!

Michael Jackson stood on the balcony and said 'Hello Budapest, I'm so glad to be here' (he made the legendary error at the National Stadium). The entire palace is decorated with pure gold.

Unirii, atop Patriarchy Hill. It's the majestic centre of the Romanian Orthodox faith. During the 15th century a small wooden church surrounded by vineyards stood on the hill. The cathedral consecrated the metropolitan centre of Wallachia in 1868, and was built between 1656 and 1658 by Wai-lachian prince $erban Basarab. None of the original interior paintings or icons remain bar a single icon (1665) depicting Constantin and Helen, the cathedral's patron saints. The present-day frescoes were painted by Dimitrie Belizarie in 1923. To the west is a small chapel, linked by a balcony to the Patriarchal Palace, the southern wings of which date to 1932. Three beautifully

mrved, 16th- and 17th-century stone crosses lliink the northern wall of the cathedral. Alongside is a belfry (1698) and a former IMrliament building dating from 1907.

Other surviving churches include the IMh-century Prince Radu Monastery (Manastirea lladu Voda; Map pp54-5; Str Radu Voda 24) and the nearby Church of Bucur the Shepherd (Biserica llucur Ciobanul; Map pp54-5; Str Radu Voda), dating I Kim 1743 and dedicated to the city's legendary founder.

Tiny St Apostles' Church (Biserica Sfintii Apostoli; Map pp54-5; Str Apostoli 33a), built in 1636, survived systemisation to a degree. It was not moved but the surrounding parkland was I ipped up and replaced with blocks of flats. Southwest is the surviving Antim Monastery (MSnastirea Antim; Map pp54-5; Str Antim), a beautiful walled complex built in 1715 by the metropolitan bishop Antim Ivireanu.

Another impressive church that survived is the candy-striped Princess Bala;a Church (Bi-wrica Domnita Bala┬ža; Map p60; off Spl Independentei). The church, just north of Piata Unirii, is named after Brancoveanu's sixth daughter, who had a small wooden church built here In 1744. Widowed from 1745, the princess replaced the church with a stone structure In 1751 and set up a school and asylum. Damaged by an earthquake, the second church was replaced by a third church between 1838 and 1842, which was subsequently damaged by floods and replaced by u fourth church between 1881 and 1885.

Prince Mihai Monastery (Manastirea Mihai Voda; Map p60; Str Sapientei), built between 1589 and 1591 under the orders of Mihai Viteazul (r 1593-1601), was moved 279m east in 1985 to a patch of wasteland between apartment blocks.

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