Herăstrău Park with a view towards Casa Presei Libere
|Operated by||Administrația Lacuri, Parcuri și Agrement București|
The park has an area of about 1.1 km², of which 0.7 km² is the lake. Initially, the area was full of marshes, but these were drained between 1930 and 1935, and the park was opened in 1936. The park is divided into two zones: a rustic or natural zone (the Village Museum), which is left more or less undisturbed, and a public/'active' domain with open areas for recreation activities. Small boats are allowed on the lake.
The park was initially intended to be called Parcul Național, but it was renamed Parcul Carol II during the period of the Carol II of Romania's cult of personality. Following WWII, it was renamed Parcul I. V. Stalin, featuring a statue of Stalin at its entrance. The park was renamed and the statue was torn down in 1956 as part of the De-Stalinization in Romania.
Its current name, Herăstrău, named after the Herăstrău lake, has its origin in a dialectal version of the word ferăstrău in standard Romanian, meaning saw or sawmill, referring to the water-powered sawmills that were once found the Colentina river which flowed through it.
The area of the park has been inhabited since the Paleolithic, traces of settlements being found at the Herăstrău sand quarry, including flint tools made by the Mousterian culture, a culture generally associated with the Neanderthals. During the quaternary glaciation, the area was inhabited by large mammals such as the woolly rhinoceros and the mammoth, bones of the latter being found in the Herăstrău sand quarry.
During the iron age, a settlement of the first part of the Hallstatt era belonging to a pastoral population was located in Bordei-Herăstrău (the area between Herăstrău and Floreasca lakes, today part of the Herăstrău Park), which gives the name of the culture (Bordei-Herăstrău culture). In the Dacian settlements of Herăstrău, which has been dated, with the help of the coins, to the 1st century BC, archeologists found a treasure containing silver fibulae, silver spiral bracelets, a silver bowl, as well as Ancient Greek coins (from Tomis and Dyrrachium) along with Dacian imitations.
Phanariote Prince of Wallachia Alexander Ypsilantis built an Ottoman-style kiosk (summer house) on the banks of the Herăstrău Lake. The plain along the lake was used in 1831, during the Russian occupation, for military exercises by a joint force of the Wallachian and Russian militaries. By the mid-19th century, Herăstrău was the main promenade area used by the Romanian élite for walks.
In 1936, the work began for the creation of the National Park (Parcul Național) in Herăstrău. For this, several dozen squalid houses, as well as an industrial plant were expropriated and torn down, being replaced with alleys and trees, being finally open for the public in May 1939, becoming Bucharest's largest park.
Buildings and facilities
A number of buildings are found within the Herăstrău Park. The most notable is the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum in Bucharest, an open-air museum showcasing traditional life of the Romanian peasant and having hundreds of houses from across Romania.
Scattered across the park are an open-air theatre, a yacht club, a sports club, the Herăstrău Hotel and, adjunct to the park, the Diplomatic Club, featuring a golf course.
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- (Romanian) Parcul Herăstrău