When I was in Bucharest, I found it a surprisingly hipster spot with lots of interesting cafes and concepts and wanted to see a less fancy side of Bucharest than what we had been seeing so far. I’d also spent some time hunting down street art in Bucharest, which is how I found out about the graffiti at Chimopar, an abandoned chemical factory on the outskirts and dragged along the lovely Annemarie from Travel on the Brain with me to go check it out (Kudos to Annemarie for taking tons of amazing photos of me!). Here’s a little bit about my experience at Chimopar in Bucharest.
Chimopar is the oldest chemical factory in Bucharest and once a manufacturer of gunpowder. It was privatised in 1999 and while some of the factory is still in use, many buildings on the premises were abandoned and left to decay. As with most abandoned places, local graffiti writers came in to leave their mark, which is precisely why I wanted to go check it out.
Getting there was a bit of an adventure in itself – the factory is located outside of downtown Bucharest and obviously a place like this isn’t quite marked on the tourist maps, so navigating was a matter of interpreting other people’s instructions and instinct. After finally finding the place, we were stopped by security who didn’t speak much English but had obviously run into other adventurers like us and after some negotiation (re: a lot of smiling and wheedling on our part) he waved us through.
We wandered aimlessly for a bit and got scared off by some packs of stray dogs, but finally we spotted some graffiti-covered buildings in the distance and made out way there. We carefully picked our way through the crumbling concrete, clambering over obstacles and ducking under stray wires, nothing but the sound of broken glass crunching beneath our shoes.
My main purpose in coming here was to check out the graffiti, and while there weren’t any huge murals (see this post on street art in Bucharest for lovely large murals), the variety of work here was pretty impressive. It gave the grey concrete some much needed colour, which is great for the photography enthusiasts.
Don’t expect to see anything particularly fancy or historical though, it really is mostly rubble and broken down buildings covered with graffiti. We spent about an hour or so poking around the buildings and snapping some cool shots before we decided to call it a day.
How to get to Chimopar
A note of caution: this is private property so I can’t guarantee you will have access to the place, nor am I advising you to trespass!
- Take the Subway Line M2 (Red Line) in the direction of Angel Saligny. Stop at the 2nd last stop Nicolae Teclu (Note: there is another stop on this line called Nicolae Grigorescu, don’t get confused!).
- Turn left when you exit the gates – you should be on the side of the road that is more south. You’ll want to walk westwards on Bulevardul Theodor Pallady and a short distance away, you’ll find the entrance of the factory Chimopar. Look for a small sign at the entrance of the fence.
- There are security guards at the entrance and this isn’t the first time they’ve had avid photographers enter the place, so be nice to them, smile a lot and ask very politely if you can enter. They might ask you for money to close an eye, but we somehow managed to smile our way through.
- When you are past the gate, Walk down the main road and look to your left – the buildings are located in the field about 5 minutes walk from the main entrance.
- Things to look out for include territorial stray dogs – we ran into a few who barked like hell at us so we walked away and took a different route Make sure you wear good covered shoes as you’ll be going through a ton of broken glass and debris.
Take a tour
Note: Check if this tour is still running with the agency – I wrote this post in 2017 and when I checked recently in 2021, this tour doesn’t seem to be running even though the page is still up on the website.
Given that the factory is officially private property, the Beautiful Decay Tour run by Interesting Times Bureau / Urban Adventures is probably the best way for you to visit this spot as they have obtained permission to enter these private premises, and you’ll have a guide to point out cool things to you and tell you the stories behind these abandoned places. Besides Chimopar, you will get to see several other spaces that are off limits to general public, like a former news agency building and . It costs 35 Euros which may seem a bit steep, but the tour is capped at just 6 people and with the unusual spots you visit, is quite well worth the money.
Thanks to Interesting Times / Urban Adventures for organising and sponsoring the tours as a part of Experience Bucharest, a tourism project led by the people of Bucharest where bloggers from around the world were invited to check out this beautiful city. Our tours were a taster of what the agencies normally offer, so do check with the organisers for more details if you are interested.
Looking for more cool things to do in Bucharest? Check out forgotten areas like Chimopar Factory, hunt for some street art around Bucharest or get your hipster on with this guide to cafes and photo-worthy spots in Bucharest.