The Anatomy of a Bucharester


—originally published on

Every major city has a ton of stereotypes about its inhabitants. Even though talking about the Bucharest ones is usually controversial, there is one thing I dare to say: Bucharest and the rest of Romania are two separate things—and the people here are definitely one of a kind.

It is not unusual to hear folks guessing whether someone’s from Bucharest or not. And in 9 out of 10 cases, the guess is right. There are some things you can’t miss about a Bucharester—and if you ever visit the city, you’ll see what I mean.

1. They know people. They always know someone who knows someone. Their network is impressive, and if you happen to want to propose to your girlfriend on the rooftop of one of the highest (and hardest to get into) buildings in the city, they’ll fix everything for you in less than an hour (true story).

2. They know places. While the “outsiders” are always more eager to discover the new, experimental places in the city, the Bucharesters are the ones that know about an amazing shortcut from A to B, about a tailor shop that’s open on Sundays, about a park that no one knows about. They are always ready to tell endless stories about “the classics”—the places they used to hang out in but don’t anymore because “they have become mainstream”.

3. They’re arrogant. They have a “you can’t touch me” invisible layer. They know they have something of their own—and don’t try to hide it.

4. They’re fast and witty. Bucharesters talk with impressive speed. They are prepared for any kind of argument and always have a smart line ready. They act fast—in traffic, business or everyday decisions.

5. They live in a bubble. One of the most suited metaphors on this—the news anchor that used to say “And now, let’s see what happened in the rest of the country…”. Most Bucharesters feel that everything worth knowing about happens here. But, after all, probably living in this very bubble allows them to have the stuff above—knowing people & places, being arrogant, fast & witty.

Visit any place in Romania for the scenery, traditions and food. But for the special kind of vibe, surprising experiences and conversations? Bucharest’s the place.

*the things above equally apply to a born-Bucharester or to an ‘adopted’ one (that has lived in the city long enough)

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