Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, is the 6th largest city by population in the European Union, behind London, Berlin, Madrid, Rome and Paris. The city is steeped in history, having played an important role in World War II. Romania began the war as a member of the Axis alliance, occupied until August 1944 by Nazi forces. After the Royal Coup, the country moved to the Allied camp. It would later become a part of the Soviet Union’s Eastern Bloc, implementing an economy based on communism. A history of natural disasters and military attacks razed much of the city’s historic center, but a significant amount has withstood fires, earthquakes and aerial bombings.
Today, Bucharest is in the midst of an economic and cultural boom. The city has taken extensive steps toward modernization since it transitioned from communism in 1989. Only a few years ago, wheelchair access would not have been possible. The city has embarked on a program designed to increase access to its disabled citizens and tourists alike. Sights such as the Cismigiu Gardens, Arcul de Triumf, Herăstrău Park, the National Museums of Art and History, the Palace of Parliament and the Village Museum can now be accessed by people in wheelchairs. Accessible public transportation is also growing. Bucharest has embraced the worldwide movement to include persons with disabilities in everyday life. Wheelchair travelers should use the information contained in the report below to access yet another part of the world that most expect they cannot.