Oseaua Kiseleff And Around

Home to some the most luxurious villas of Bucharest, §oseaua Kiseleff stretches from Piata Victoriei to Herâstrâu Park. During the Communist era it was the most prestigious residential area in the city, reserved strictly for Communist Party officials (nomenklatura).

Nicolae and Elena Ceauçescu had their private residence, Primaverii Palace (B-dul Primâ-verii 50), nearby. The palace is heavily guarded and off-limits to everyone except state guests and personnel from NATO or the Cultural Tourism Initiative. Just across from the entrance to Ceauçescu's mansion is Gheor-ghe Gheorghiu-Dej's former residence (B-dul Mlrcea Eliadeof ), once the home of Romania's Communist ruler until 1965.

The Romanian TV Headquarters (Calea Doro-bantilor) had its daily air-time reduced to two hours in the late i980s, one hour of which was devoted to broadcasting presidential activities. In December 1989 revolutionaries broke into the television building and announced the collapse of the government on air. In front of the building is a small memorial to those killed here.

The Zambaccian Museum (Muzeul Zambaccian; fbi 230 1920; Str Muzeul Zambaccian 21a; admission €1; fVI 10am-6pm Wed-Sun) boasts Romania's only

Cezanne. Art-loving Armenian business man Krikor Zambaccian's (1889-1962) small collection includes works by Matisse and Picasso.

Northwest of the Zambaccian Museum is the Exhibition Pavilion & Conference Centre (B

dul Expozitiei 2), home to the Romanian Expo. The modern World Trade Centre, housing a fashionable shopping mall and five-star Sofitel hotel, is just opposite the Exhib ition Centre.

The famous Village Museum (Muzuel Satului; @ 222 9110; §os Kiseleff 28-30; adult/child €1/0.50; ® 9am-7pm Tue-Sun) is a shadow of its former self after fires wrecked many exhibits in 1997 and 2002. It's still worth an afternoon, however, as there's a total of 50 complete homesteads, churches, windmills and even sunken houses from rural Romania. Built in 1936 by Royal Decree, it is one of Europe's oldest open-air museums and a must for children. Get here from the centre by taking bus No 131 or 331 from B-dul General Magheru or Piata Romana to the 'Muzuel Satului' stop.

At its northern end, §oseaua Kiseleff splays out into Piata Presei Libere, which is dominated by the enormous Press House (Casa Presei Libere). It has a 1956 Stalinist, wedding-cake structure. The Press House gave a clear message to the citizens of Bucharest - Big Brother is watching you! A symbol of the powerful Communist regime, until 1990 the house was called the 'House of the Sparks' (Casa Scanteii); behind closed doors it was known as the 'House of Lies'. It's still home to the city's hacks.

A statue of Lenin that stood on the red marble pedestal in front of the building was moved in 1989 to Mogo^oaia (see p80).

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