Although it is situated on the banks of a river, Bucharest has never functioned as a port city, with other Romanian cities such as Constanța and Galați acting as the country’s main ports. The unfinished Danube-Bucharest Canal, which is 73 km (45 mi) long and approximately 70% completed, could link Bucharest to the Danube River and, via the Danube-Black Sea Canal, to the Black Sea. Works on the canal were suspended in 1989, but there have been proposals to resume construction as part of the European Strategy for the Danube Region.
Bucharest has a growing cultural scene, in fields including the visual arts, performing arts and nightlife. Unlike other parts of Romania, such as the Black Sea coast or Transylvania, Bucharest’s cultural scene has no defined style, and instead incorporates elements of Romanian and international culture.
Bucharest has landmark buildings and monuments. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the Palace of the Parliament, built in the 1980s during the reign of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. The largest building in Europe and the second-largest in the world, the Palace houses the Romanian Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate), as well as the National Museum of Contemporary Art. The building boasts one of the largest convention centres in the world.
Another landmark in Bucharest is Arcul de Triumf (The Triumphal Arch), built in its current form in 1935 and modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. A newer landmark of the city is the Memorial of Rebirth, a stylized marble pillar unveiled in 2005 to commemorate the victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which overthrew Communism. The abstract monument sparked controversy when it was unveiled, being dubbed with names such as “the olive in the toothpick”, (“măslina-n scobitoare”), as many argued that it does not fit in its surroundings and believed that its choice was based on political reasons.
Other cultural venues include the National Museum of Art of Romania, Museum of Natural History “Grigore Antipa”, Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Muzeul țăranului Român), National History Museum, and the Military Museum.