Exploring Rural Romania in “Dimitrie Gusti” Village Museum

“Dimitrie Gusti” Village Museum in Bucharest offers an insight into the real rural Romanian life across time. It’s a full village with all the appropriate buildings and amenities in the heart of the capital.

It also entertains lots of specific events with craftsmanship workshops, children’s summer camp activities and religious paintings expositions.

To understand Romanian heritage not just its present life, this landmark is something you need to visit while in Bucharest. It’s also included in the itinerary of the Half Day Bucharest Sightseeing Tour. Book a seat now and you won’t miss it!

The Vision behind the Open Air Museum

Starting from 1867, the idea of creating a realistic village in the capital of Romania become the launchpad of the project. What the men of culture at the time wanted to accomplish, was a view of rural Romania by creating replicas of households from different regions of the country.

For this purpose, in the 1930s, Dimitrie Gusti, the sociology professor that the museum is named after, performed extensive documentation of the villages at the time, across many counties in Romania. The aspects they were interested in included:

  • Social
  • Geographical
  • Ethnographical
  • Folkloric
  • Statistic
  • And even the medical field.

In their research, besides documenting the rural Romanian life at the time, they also purchased wood buildings, churches, thermal installations as well as furniture, decorations, ceramics, textiles, and tools that were considered representative of the areas they visited.

With the help of local craftsmen brought to Bucharest, they managed to rebuild the 33 houses and household utility spaces in 2 months. The doors of the museum were first opened on the 10th of May 1936 for King Carol the second and one week after that the public could visit it too.

At that time the village had over 11 acres. When creating the Romanian Village Museum its mission was to show the reality of rural Romania that the peasant lived in and understood. For this reason and its sociological character, real peasant families would periodically live in the buildings of the museum.

At first, it was the initial owners of the buildings that were brought to Bucharest. They came here with everything they had in their households, including their birds and animals. This enriched the sociological aspects of the museum but brought a lot of stress on the buildings.

Taking into account that preservation techniques weren’t as evolved, some of the original auxiliary constructions of the households were ruined.

Even if the village museum does an excellent job in bringing rural life to Bucharest. If you want to experience the day-to-day rituals and holiday traditions you need to go visit more towns across Romania. Here are a few of our suggestions to get you in touch with the current life in rural Romania.

Village Museum History and Its Impact on Rural Romania

Between 1940 and 1948, when the Romanian regions Basarabia and Bucovina became part of the Soviet Union, some of the refugee families lived in the houses of the village. The level of degradation took a toll on the museum, unfortunately.

It became a great reason to create a plan for restoring and extending the museum, and the houses were not lived in from that point on. After they finished, the museum had doubled in size, including:

  • 62 traditional architecture complexes
  • 223 constructions including 40 houses, 165 utility constructions, and 3 churches
  • 17.000 home objects

An overview of the museum’s size and beauty nowadays can be seen in the video below. Incredibly, these village-type buildings are found just feet away from one of Bucharest’s main roads.

Seeing the buildings, the mills and stables are interesting but attending events in this great location is what makes it even more appealing. Whether you are traveling solo, with your family or just your partner the village museum has something for you to engage in.

Events in the “Dimitrie Gusti” Village Museum

Most events in the Village Museum include craftsmanship workshops and the selling of their products. You can watch how they create authentic rural Romanian object on the spot that includes:

  • Opinci ( a traditional shoe made out of lather)
  • Ii ( the Romanian traditional women blouse)
  • Wood carven plates, forks and spoons
  • Jewelry made out of beads, leather or metals
  • Hand-painted vases
  • Glass Religious paintings
  • Clay pottery
  • And many more.

The atmosphere is always lively as there are numerous traditional dance ensembles and Romanian folklore singers keeping the show running.

The whole landscape makes you feel as you have gone back in time to the simple village life of the Romanians in the early 20 century.

Getting a few snacks will also make you enjoy the rural Romanian living. In most of the events held at the “Dimitrie Gusti” Village Museum, you’ll find cozonaci, placinte, and turta dulce. These are local sweets you are sure to enjoy.

You can also buy a large variety of food products that you can take with you that include:

  • Meat products,
  • Cheese,
  • Bio fruits and vegetables
  • Honey
  • Zacuscă (it’s a jarred vegetable paste)
  • And different jams.

If you are really hungry you can try the rural Romanian food at the restaurant “La Barieră”. The building itself has a lot of history but what will delight you will be the meals that resemble the home-cooked ones you’d find in many Romanian villages.

It’s the best place to get an authentic taste of the Romanian cuisine and be served in the popular dishes that are part of the local culture.

Traditional craftsmanship events are not the only time of events you can attend here. There are also:

  • book launches,
  • photography expositions,
  • exchange programs that help the public understand more about the traditions of other areas in the world,
  • creation camps for kids.
  • Romanian minorities traditions
  • movie launches
  • and more.

Most events that take place at the museum are announced one month in advance and don’t require more than the usual entrance fee. You can check the calendar on their site Muzeul-satului.ro/en/ to see what events are taking place while you are visiting Bucharest.

The How and When of Visiting “Dimitrie Gusti” Village Museum

The museum is open almost all year long except for a few days on Orthodox Easter, Christmas and New Year’s. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 7 PM and it has a shorter schedule on Mondays ( 9 AM to 5 PM).

There are 4 entryways into the park and they have a bit of a different schedule in the mornings. So if you decide to go there early, make sure you check their schedule first.

Also, know that the inside expositions are not open on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The 4 gates are located on:

  • 28 Kiseleff Boulevard Entry
  • 30 Kiseleff Boulevard Entry
  • “Mioriţa Gate” (Herăstrău Park – Quay)
  • “Transilvania Gate” (Herăstrău Park – Arch of Triumph)

As the museum catches the rural Romanian life in an open-air concept, any entryway you choose you will surely enjoy the architecture of the buildings and the activities you can take part in.

Depending on where your accommodations are you have numerous options of public transportation you can take to reach the village museum. If the metro is your first option, the nearest station is ”Aviatorilor” Metro Station – Line M2. The tram line 41 also stops near the park.

There are also 3 bus stations surrounding the museum, namely:

  • Arcul de Triumph
  • Muzeul Satului
  • Institutul Agronomic.

The lines that stop in these stations include 131, 205, 282, 330, 331, 335, 783 and there is even a nightline N113.

If you plan on attending an event on multiple days you can also buy a pass. They also offer guided tours in Romanian, English, Russian and Spanish

You can do that via email at ghidaj@muzeul-satului.ro and specify:

  • The date,
  • The time,
  • Number of persons in the group
  • The profile of the group
  • And the language you want the guide to be in.

Enjoy Your Time at the Village Museum

The “Dimitri Gusti” Village Museum is a must-see while visiting Bucharest. You will understand the importance of the community in the Romanian peasants’ lives across the decades of the 20th century. The buildings are constantly rebuilt and well preserved.

To make sure you get to enjoy Bucharest at its full potential you can book our tour. We’ll show you the great Squares, Calea Victoriei and its French architecture, and much more. The tour also includes this incredible landmark that presents rural Romania.


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