Bucharest – Pasajul Macca-Vilacrosse

This shopping centre is perhaps the earliest surviving in Bucharest, constructed in 1891 and named after Xavier Villacrosse, a former city architect.

There’s a grand entrance portal to the centre, which is in a fork shape as the owner of the central area, the Pesht Hotel, didn’t want to sell. That must have been slightly annoying for the developers at the time, but at least they got to build their street in some form.

It’s a stunning interior, but it needs repair and I wasn’t really that excited by any of the premises inside. This was primarily due to most being closed when I visited in the afternoon, with some others having a rather seedy look, even if perhaps they weren’t.

With some money and the introduction of a few innovative tenants, this could once again be quite a grand shopping street given its central location. During the communist period from 1950 until 1989, the centre was renamed Pasajul Bijuteria, or the jewellery street. Many of the shops along the street during this time were jewellers, although this has now changed to mostly being restaurants and bars.

The main dome isn’t in too bad a condition and it ensures that the shopping is well lit and bright. There are offices above the retail units and for a while this was home to the first Stock Exchange in the country.