Muzeul Militar National - Bucharest - Romania

Address: Mircea Vulcanescu, Bucharest (See map)
Telephone: not available
Website: not available

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: not available
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2007
Overall rating:

Description: The National Military Museum (Muzeul Militar National) in Bucharest offers a complete overview of Romania’s military history. From the pre-Roman Empire era until present-day UN-operations. The museum roughly consists of two parts.

First of all, there’s the main building through which you also enter the museum. In here the exhibition starts with the prehistory and the ages of the Dacian kingdom. During its history the territory of Romania has changed quite many times and over the centuries the country has also been under different rule or influence, like the Roman Empire and the first Bulgarian Empire just on the brink of the Middle Ages and after that the Ottoman Empire. Michael the Brave was the first to succeed in unifying Moldavia, Wallachia and Transsylvania.

Romania’s more recent history starts in 1877 when the Ottomans were driven out of Romania and its sovereignty was acknowledged by the international community (1878). From that time on the museum focusses on three periods that are important in a military as well a political sense. During WWI Romania first chose to stay neutral, but by the end of 1916 they joined the Allies in an attempt to expand the Romanian territory. During WWII, under the leadership of general Antonescu Romania first was on the German side. In this period a large part of the Jewish population (60%) were killed as a reslut of the antisemitic regime. Then by the end of 1944 Antonescu was brought down by a coupe and Romania now fought against the Germans, but under Sowiet rule.

In 1967 Nicolae Ceausescu become the head of state, marking the start of two decades increasing poverty and oppression in Romania. This period ends in 1989 when the dictatorial regime of Ceausescu was overthrown by the Romanians themselves. This historic moment in the history of Romania and also in the downfall of the Warsaw Pact is described with a lot of pictures of protests and fighting in the streets of Bucharest and of course the symbolic Romanian flag, with the heart cut out, isn’t absent.

On the premises, in and outside the other buildings a very nice collection of army vehicles, airplanes, some helicopters as well as some coaches, is on display. Among this collection are for instance some rare railway guns and a replica of the Coanda 1910. The latter being an innovatively desgined airplane from the early 20th century, built by Henri Coanda, Romania’s most famous aviation pioneer.

The strongest points of this museum are the fact that it covers the military history of Romania in detail without becoming a drag and the fact that a lot of effort has clearly been put into the presentation of the museum and its exhibits, becoming most clear in the lively dioramas that are frequently used throughout the museum. Sometimes the information is even in English. A small discomfort, worth mentioning, is however the fact that visitors have to pay for each photo taken inside the museum.

Roman helmet: present day Romania once was incorporated in the Roman empire.

Replica of an ancient battering ram.

Medieval blacksmiths at work.

Romanian forces driving back the Ottomans.

A part of the museum dedicated to the pioneers in aviation history, amongst which is of course the Coanda 1910 made by Henri Coanda (Romania's most famous aviator).

Romanian forces during the First World War. A Striking feature is the so called Dutch helmet they wore.

After the Romanian fascist regime was being overthrown by the Soviets, they joined their former enemies to drive German forces out of Budapest in the Second World War.

The former Romanian flag with the heart cut out. This became a world famous symbol of the anti-Ceaucescu movement in the late 1980's.

Massive rail gun.

Soviet 2P 16-type mobile missile launcher from 1966, used by the Romanian army during the Cold War.