After sharing with you beautiful bookstores I visited in the Netherlands and Cambridge, it’s time to tell you about 4 interesting and unique bookstores situated in my hometown – Bucharest, the capital city of Romania:
- Cărturești Carusel – The Carousel of Lights
- Humanitas Magheru & the Japanese store Takumi
- Librairie Kyralina – the only French bookstore in Romania
- Antony Frost English Bookshop – aka Smallest Cărtureşti Bookstore
§ Cărturești Carusel – The Carousel of Lights
Cărturești is one of biggest bookstore chains in Romania, with more than 20 bookshops in Romania. I think Cărturești was one of the first bookstores in Romania that focused not only on selling books but also on creating a very pleasant shopping experience.
The masterpiece store of the chain is Cărturești Carusel [EN: Carousel], situated in the old city centre of Bucharest. It was named The Carousel of Lights because “the sinuous shape of the floors creates a dynamic atmosphere similar to a moving carousel”. The elegant building from the 19th century was restored and transformed into “an experiment of cultural habitation” (Square One Studio). It has 6 levels that cover more than 1.000 square meters, and apart from the bookstore itself, it also has a bistro, a multimedia space and contemporary art gallery. If you are travelling to Bucharest, that’s a place you must visit!
§ Humanitas Magheru & the Japanese store Takumi
Humanitas is a large publishing company in Romania, which also has 15 bookstores around the country. The one I want to tell you about is situated on Magheru Boulevard (in the city centre) and it is a joint space between the bookshop and the first Japanese store in Romania – Takumi [Japanese: artisan].
While the Humanitas section (1/2 of the space) looks like a normal bookstore, the other half is 100% a Japanese store. There you can find traditional Japanese kimonos, beautiful tea accessories, a wide variety of kitchen tools (e.g.: plates, bowls, knives), stationery items, and of course books written by Japanese writers. The store was founded by the Ştefan Liiceanu, who spent 17 years in Japan. He selected products from local manufacturers, wishing to offer not only a shopping experience but also a cultural experience.
§ Librairie Kyralina – the only French bookstore in Romania
Parlez-vous français? If the answer is oui, then Librairie Kyralina is a great place for you! Situated next to the French Embassy, in a rather hidden location, the French bookstore was first opened in 2012. This place has such a cosy atmosphere, it feels like you’re just wandering in your own living room 🙂
From their website I found out the significance of the bookstore’s name. Kyralina is a character of Panait Istrati, an author with Romanian and French origins, a literary point of contact between the two countries. At Kyralina you can find a wide variety of books in French (including books for children), magazines, and many other bookish items.
One more thing I want to mention: they have such a beautiful logo and visual identity ❤
§ Antony Frost English Bookshop – aka Smallest Cărtureşti Bookstore
The story of this bookshop goes like this: the Anthony Frost English Bookshop was established in 2007 and was one of the best known English bookshops in Bucharest. The 2013 and 2017 edition of the Lonely Planet guide called Anthony Frost “arguably the best English-language bookshop in Eastern Europe” (Romania Insider, 2017). Sadly, the bookstore was closed after almost 10 years of activity, in February 2017.
Fortunately, Anthony Frost reopened this November in Bucharest, in a new location and under a new format. The new location is officially called “Cărtureşti & Friends“, also known as “The Smallest Cărtureşti Bookstore”, and it is the place where the first Cărtureşti bookstore was opened. The new format will accommodate the Anthony Frost bookstore together with the Receptor illustration micro-gallery and Brewtiful.Cafe. A wonderful combo I would say!
Here ends our journey through some of the best bookstores in Bucharest 🙂 As I am always looking for new bookstores to visit, please tell me: what’s your all-time favourite bookshop?
‘Till next time … happy reading!