Nicolae Romanescu National Park is by far one of Craiova’s most famous and visited sights. It is one of the largest natural parks in Europe, built after French architect Edouard Redont’s plans.
It is one of the biggest natural parks in Europe, with a surface of 90 hectares, to which are added the surfaces of the lake (4ha) and the hippodrome (20ha). Along with Herăstrău Park, it is considered one of the biggest green urban areas in the country. It was designed and built by the French architect Edouard Redont, whose plans of the park were awarded the gold medal at Paris International Exhibition in 1900. The park, established between 1901 and 1903, covers an area of 90 hectares where hundreds of rare tree species were acclimatized.
Romanescu Park, also known as Bibescu Park, Independence Park or People’s Park, is situated on the spot of the former domains of the Bibescu family. Their garden, arranged at the middle of the 19th century by a German gardener, included gazeboes, benches and greenhouses. After 1848, the garden was bought by the city’s Magistrate in order to create a public garden for the city’s dwellers to recreate in, but his plans were abandoned. In 1898, when Nicolae Romanescu became the mayor of Craiova, he aimed at modernising the city by enriching it with many parks and gardens. Therefore, he appointed Eduard Redont, who had previously designed the National Exhibition from the Carol Park in Bucharest, to realize this ambitious plan.
The park, inaugurated in 1903 in the presence of King Carol I, was realized in Romantic style. In it can be found fragments from the paintings of Dutch and French impressionist painters of the 17th – 19th centuries. Redont proved his genius by bringing very bold ideas: he redrew the scheme of the lake, he designed the suspended bridge and the castle, improvised hills and valleys, alleys and paths totalling over 35km and hundreds of species of trees were acclimatized. The hippodrome, covering a 20 hectares surface, was the biggest in the country, at the beginning of the last century. Along the years, many other works were executed in order to increase the park’s beauty, from building a wharf to introducing public lighting.
Nowadays, the park includes a suspension bridge, a medieval castle, a zoo, a hippodrome and a velodrome, while the main attraction still remains the 4 hectares lake. It is the city’s most popular place for walks, sport and recreation, offering facilities for cycling, rowing or water bicycles.
By bus: From Craiova Train Station, take the bus #1b to the Nicolae Romanescu National Park (Confecții station).