Although a paradox, the National Village Museum, also named “Dimitrie Gusti” is not found in the countryside, but in the largest Romanian city, the capital, Bucharest.
The rich patrimony of this touristic objective is mainly composed of traditional constructions from throughout the country (religious buildings, dwellings and annexes), arts and crafts, folk equipment an installations (wind mills, water mills) and embellishing objects used for the aforementioned buildings.
North-West of Bucharest, 28-30 Kiseleff avenue, on the Herastrau Lake bank.
By car – the access is quite facile. There is a parking lot near the main entrance of the museum where you can leave your car.
By subway – you will have to get off at the Aviatorilor Station > head to Maresal Constanti Prezan Street > Kiseleff avenue.
By bus – 783 line, 331 line, 131 line and 205 line.
Mon: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m; Tue-Sun 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Architectural monuments are open for public Mon-Sun.
adults – 10 RON; elders – 5 RON; students – 2.5 RON
The guiding fee in the museum varies between 200-300 RON/group.
The ticket is available the entire day. You may rent an audio guide that could help you understand more about the exhibits (50 RON).
Description of the museum
Is one of the most important cultural and touristic objectives of the capital. It was opened on the 10th of May, 1936 in the presence of King Carol the Second. The museum depicts really well the abundance of the peasant life. It also reveals the diversity in the architecture of the wood, the originality of wood manufacturing and processing, the Romanian peasant’s creativity and initiative of minutely embellishing anything and everything.
Concerning the spatial organization, the museum is divided into several areas, depending on the origins of the constructions. All buildings that compose the patrimony have been taken to pieces (from their original setting – the rural part of Romania) and have been brought to Bucharest by train, carriage or car.
The only construction that was originally built right on the museum’s spot is the one from where you can buy tickets.
In the beginning of the tour we suggest that you take a picture of the panel with the map of the constructions, so that you may be able to identify every construction with its geographic area. Unfortunately, there are no leaflets or maps of the entire site that you could carry with you. The picture might help you orientate, not to miss anything. Although the following picture has a numbering for each construction, the numbering isn’t displayed on site. All descriptive panels are written only in Romanian and English.
Our country’s geography might have been the initiator of the accommodation of the inhabitants, making them a people of wood. The enormous surface of forests determined the Romanian to learn and develop an advanced handicraft in wood processing. Not too long ago, around 1930-1950 the Romanian life was a rural one.
Everything that was used on a daily basis was produced and processed in the rural household. The attention given by the wood artisans to every element and care for every detail have shown outright craftsmanship.
Transylvanian folk area
There are 36 total exhibits. Houses, households (from Bihor, Alba, Maramures, Bistrita, Brasov, Hunedoara counties etc.), sheep folds, cowsheds, installations used for trampling grapes or other oily plants, installations for ore processing, two churches and embellishing objects or pagan origins – crosses (found in the countryside usually around crossroads).
Most houses in Transylvania have a porch, are covered with shingle, the walls are made out of wooden columns. The floor is made out of battered dirt and are founded on stone plinth. Every column, beam or rail is sculpted with traditional Romanian motifs.
Many exhibits are surrounded by a fence, made out of birch or out of processed wood planks. Many have authentic, heavily decorated gates.
We can see the church from Dragomiresti village, Maramures with its 35 m high steeple, the latter being one of the most important pieces of the museum.
Indoor embellishing elements
All households are furnished, tooled up and decorated with authentic objects from the same area the house was. The elements used by the peasant for remodeling are: ceramic plates, towels hanged on the walls, religious glass icons, dowry chests, wool and cotton fabrics obtained in the folk household.
The Transylvanian household was generally comprised of: the house, a barn with a stable (or a shed), a larder, a pigpen, a corn storeroom.
Banat folk area
Since the nineteenth century, occidental influence could be found in the construction of households in Banat. The house alignment at the street, with a narrow facade towards the street, has been imposed by the Habsburg monarchy. The arched form of the gable and the floral motifs attest the baroque architectural motif brought by the Habsburg reign. There are four exhibits in total.
Greater Wallachia (Muntenia) folk area
The constructions brought here, among which five are households and an inn, disclose the folk, monumental architecture, with its many harmonious shapes. Agriculture, herding and fruit growing reflect upon the functions we encounter in households: a house, bird pen, storeroom for the fruit fermentation bowls, a stable.
Most of the houses have a front porch and many have a turret on the main facade. The interior is decorated with towels and embroidered handkerchiefs with geometric, floral and anthropomorphic shapes and motifs. The colors most utilized were red and black.
Lesser Wallachia (Oltenia) folk area
One of the most important pieces found in the museum is the cottage as a dwelling form. Taken to pieces from Dragiceni, Olt County, this construction shows one of the oldest dwelling forms. This type of dwelling has been kept in Lesser Wallachia until the middle of the twentieth century, due to economic, historical and weather conditions.
Although they look like mud piles covered with plants from the outside, on the inside (sometimes entirely covered, sometimes only partially) they are well arranged dwellings like the buildings above the ground. The causes for building such dwellings are due to the weather (strong winds in the Romanian Plain and huge temperature differences). The cottages are cool in the summertime and warm in the winter. Along with this type of construction, constructions from Gorj, characteristic to hill areas, can be found here.
Dobruja (Dobrogea) folk area
Constructions with adobe walls (un-burnt clay and hay bricks), covered with reed, raised on a stone plinth and painted in white in order to deflect the burning sun here in the south of the country.
The structure of the household: a house, a tool shed, a larder, a storeroom for smoking fish, a stable, an icehouse, a bird pen, a Turkish bath.
This area of the country has assumed some embellishing elements in the traditional household, such as the strong coloring, due to the relationship of the Turks and the Russians.
Many wind mills have been found here, used for grinding the cereals for human and animal consumption. These were constructed around a central axis, allowing them to be rotated towards where the wind blew.
Due to the main activity of the locals, fishing, these constructions were used by the fishermen for fish processing.
Moldova folk area
Authentic constructions are mainly made out of resinous logs, covered by a layer of loam in order to insulate and decorate the dwelling.
For details about traditions in Bukovina and Moldova area you can read the article
Take the whole day to visit this touristic objective. The huge surface of the museum and the diversity of the exhibits will most likely take a lot of time to cover.
You can take a break, by relaxing on the Herastrau Lake bank or in the nearby park.
Pentru versiunea in limba romana