Cismigiu Park, the oldest public garden in Bucharest
Cismigiu is located in the center of the city and it is the oldest public garden in Bucharest, stretching on approximately 16 hectares. The park was registered on the list of historical monuments in Bucharest and was designed in the style of the English parks, with several entrances, two of which are located towards Queen Elizabeth Avenue, second to Schitu Magureanu and Stirbei Street entrance.
The lake here is surrounded by reeds and was mentioned in documents since Matei Basarab times, then bearing the ‘Merchant Dura’s Pond’ (Balta lui Dura Negutatorul) and having an area larger than the presen one.
The history of the Cismigiu Park begins in 1779 when the prince of Wallachia at the time, Alexandru Ipsilanti, authorized the construction of two wells in order to improve the public water supply of the city. Cismigiu Park is actually a large garden, first designed in 1845 by the German landscape architect Carl Meyer and his assistant, the gardener Franz Hörer, but not completed until 1860. The two had the mission to transform something that was once considered an insalubrious area into a garden with a different aspect that doesn’t remind of the old one both in shape or form. More than 30,000 trees and plants were brought in from the Romanian mountains, while exotic plants were imported from the botanical gardens in Vienna.
Since 1857, the park was already regarded as a place for relaxation being looked for increasingly more often by curious, nature or adventure lovers. During the winter of 1883, when the lake froze, competitions were held here on the ice. Becoming increasingly appreciated, Cismigiu Garden was extended by 15,000 square meters, after buying the former gardens’ land owned by the Cretulescu family.
Cismigiu hosts plane trees vegetation, Liriodendron, magnolias, nut and pear trees, ash and decorative apple trees. There is also an area where swans and pelicans were brought.
During the summer months you can take a walk in the park or you can rent bicycles. In winter you can go skating on Cismigiu skating rink that is located on the dried up riverbed side of Cismigiu Lake, near the pier. Cismigiu Skating Rink is the largest skating rink in Bucharest, with a 3000 square meters area.