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Beautiful Bookstores: Cărturești Carusel in Bucharest Romania

Cărturești Carusel Looking to the Front
(Last Updated On: November 29, 2019)

Beautiful Bookstores: Cărturești Carusel in Bucharest Romania

After seeing Cărturești Carusel appear on Instagram feed over and over again, I vowed that one day I’d see this iconic and famous bookstore for myself. So when I headed to Bucharest for one warm weekend last fall (my first time ever in Romania), I made sure it was one of my very first stops. 

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much but once you enter the building, you can’t help but gasp in delight and smile, as you take in the wonder that is Cărturești Carusel. 

Beautiful Bookstores: Cărturești Carusel in Bucharest Romania

Cărturești Carusel Looking to the Front Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, Cărturești Carusel opened its doors in 2015 after five years of massive construction.

Recommended reading: These posts about other bookstores we’ve found on our world travels – Weird & Offbeat: The Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore in Venice and Detroit Bookstores: John K. King Used & Rare Books.

The 19th century building, owned by the Chrissoveloni family, once served as a bank headquarters for about 30 years until it closed it 1948. Later on it was used as a men’s clothing store and then a general store during Communist times. After the collapse of the Communist regime, the building was abandoned and fell into disrepair until it was rescued by Jean Chrissoveloni, the great grandson of the first owner, Nicolas Chrissoveloni. Investing around €1,000,000, he tasked the Romanian architectural firm, Square One to oversee the transformation of the historic building and then leased it the Carturesti chain, Romania’s largest bookshop chain.

Cărturești Carusel Interior Style
Cărturești Carusel Today

Considered to be Carteresti’s main flagship or concept store, the 1,000 square meter space takes up six floors and is home to more than 10,000 books and 5,000 albums and DVDs. There’s a multimedia area in the basement, an art gallery and exhibition area on the first floor, and a plant filled café and bistro on the top floor that serves up tasty food, coffee, teas, wine, and more.

Cărturești Carusel View Looking OutCărturești Carusel Looking DownCărturești Carusel Design

Cărturești Carusel translates to “Carousel of Light” and according to Square One, “The sinuous shape of the floors creates a dynamic atmosphere similar to a moving carousel … ”

Cărturești Carusel InteriorCărturești Carusel Side View Looking InThe airy design is carried out through the predominantly white interior, top floor skylight, and warm lighting system which was inspired by that of a starry sky. During the building’s restoration, many of its original and classic elements were left intact, with  some more notable architectural features being the spiral staircases, Byzantine inspired marble colonnades, and several balconies. The platform railings are even composed of metal rods that are both opaque and transparent, depending on how they’re being viewed.

Cărturești Carusel Side ViewCărturești Carusel Staircase
Cărturești Carusel also plays host to various cultural events such as readings, exhibitions, and concerts. When I visited, I even saw a couple having their wedding shoot done on the staircase leading up to the first floor.

Cărturești Carusel View of Customers Looking at BooksCărturești Carusel Side View of Bookshelves Cărturești Carusel BookshelvesCărturești Carusel is for Instagrammers 

As expected, Cărturești Carusel is an Instagram dream for many. While professional photographers book the space in advance for their photo sessions, you’ll also witness an endless parade of aspiring models in long flowing dresses who are striking dramatic poses while being photographed by their adoring Instagram husbands. Think of it what you will, but this is how people like to document their travel these days, so my only suggestion is to grin and bear it …

Bookstore aficionados will find it heart warming that people come to the location to read as well, either grabbing a book and taking up resident in one of the many nooks or heading to the top floor café and bistro.

Cărturești Carusel Top Floor BistroCărturești Carusel Bistro

Good to Know

1) Cărturești Carusel is open daily, Monday – Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Thursday – Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. 

2) To avoid the large crowds and the wannabe Instagram stars, show up early or late in the day or the middle of the week. 

3) The bookstore’s located in the city center, in the Old Town. The closest metro stop’s Universitate (the exact address of the bookstore is listed below). 

4) Most of the books are in Romanian, but there is also a small English language selection. 

5) As with most bookstores, you can purchase novelty items like pens, Romanian themed souvenirs, notebooks, and more. I personally bought a magnet and an Alice in Wonderland Moleskine. For a good overview of souvenirs to purchase when in Romania read, 10 Romanian Souvenirs You Have to Make Room For in Your Suitcase.

6) In case you don’t trust what I say (and I know you do), read even more about the history and design of the bookstore at ArchDaily, Phaidon, and Romania Insider

7) If you’re in need of some Balkan travel inspiration, give some of my other posts a read:

8) For even more Romania travel inspiration, read 12 things to do in Bucharest in a day or consider these tours in Bucharest.

Location

Cărturești Carusel
Strada Lipscani 55, București 030033, Romania
+40 728 828 929 
http://carturesticarusel.ro/

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Cărturești Carusel
*Disclosure – In order to provide helpful information about Romanian tours, I collaborated with Romanian Friend. As always, any opinions expressed here are entirely my own. This post also contains some affiliate links, so if you book a tour, car rental, or hotel, I’ll earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

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2 Comments

  • Reply Erin February 3, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    Oh wow, what an incredible bookstore! Your photos of it are gorgeous. I would love to go there someday!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 3, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks Erin! It’s a very special place and I do hope you make it there. 🙂

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