Bucharest – WorldAtlas


Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, a country in Eastern Europe. The city was originally chosen to house the royal court of the Wallachian princes, who supposedly chose it because it had the most powerful citadel at the time and was very defensible. In the 19e century, Bucharest became the capital of the Turkish Ottoman vassal Principality of Romania. Soon after, it became the capital of an independent Romania and has remained so ever since.

Name of the city

The name “Bucharest”, Where “Bucuresti” in Romanian, is of unknown origin. There are different theories on the origin of the name, but there has been no universal consensus. Some think the name comes from the word “Bucurie”, which is of Thracian-Geto-Dacian origin and meant “joy”. In the Albanian language, the word “bucur” ways “beautiful”. So Bucharest would result in “Beautiful city” Where “city of joy”. Others believe that “Bucharest” has its origins in a person’s name. According to an Ottoman Turkish historian named Evliya Celebi, Bucharest is named after someone named “Abu Karis”, which belonged to “Bani Kureis” tribe. There is another theory that holds the origins of the name “Bucharest” to be derived from the word “Bucovia”, which means beech forest.

View of the city of Bucharest along the Dambovita river.


According to tradition, Bucharest has seven hills, just like Rome. In fact, the name “Romania” ways “Land of the Romans”. The Romanian capital is located in the southern part of the country, not too far from its border with Bulgaria to the south. It lies on the banks of the Dâmboviţa river, in the southeast corner of the Romanian plain. The northern part of the city is dotted with several lakes that cross the Colentina River, a tributary of the Dâmboviţa. There is also a small artificial lake, called Lake Cişmigiu, which is located in the center of Bucharest.

Zero kilometer monument, Bucharest
The kilometer zero monument in front of Saint George’s Church in central Bucharest, Romania.

Bucharest is home to a significant amount of parks and green spaces. The named parks include Herăstrău Park, Tineretului Park and the Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden contains around 10,000 species of plants. Another remarkable green space is the Văcărești Natural Park. The park covers 1.9 km², including 0.9 km² of water. It is home to 97 species of birds and at least seven species of mammals.


Bucharest is politically divided into six administrative sectors, which are distributed radially from the city center. One of the reasons the sectors are distributed radially is the round shape of the city. In fact, the city stretches in a circle starting from what is called kilometer zero, which is located in the center of the city, and is marked by a monument in front of St. George’s Church. The total area of ​​Bucharest is 228 km².

Bucharest has an estimated population of around 1.79 million, making it the largest city in Romania. Almost 90% of the city’s inhabitants are of Romanian origin. Other significant ethnic communities include Roma, Hungarians, Ukrainians, Russians and Germans. The overwhelming majority of Bucharest’s residents, nearly 87%, adhere to Eastern Orthodoxy, which is also the dominant religion in Romania as a whole. The other religious communities in the city in large numbers are Protestants and Roman Catholics.


Bucharest Activity Park
View of Bucharest Business Park at night. Editorial credit: Andy G. Alexandru / Shutterstock.com

Bucharest is the most industrialized city in Romania. About a fifth of the country’s total gross domestic product (GDP) comes from the country’s capital, as does a quarter of the country’s industrial production, even though the city’s population is only 9% of the Romanian population. . Bucharest’s economy is mainly based on industry and services. It serves as the headquarters for thousands of companies, including all major Romanian companies. After the year 2000 Bucharest experienced a major real estate and construction boom. The city is home to a large high-tech sector, including several software companies that operate offshore delivery centers. Bucharest is Romania’s mass media center, as all television and radio stations, as well as all newspapers in the country, have their headquarters in the city. Bucharest is also the main transit hub in Romania, especially for trains and motor vehicles. In addition, the city is home to the largest airport in Romania. Interestingly, despite being located on the banks of a large river, Bucharest has never been an important port city. However, construction is currently underway on a canal that will connect the Romanian capital to the Danube. Thus, it is possible that Bucharest will become an important port in the future.


Former Princely Court of Bucharest
Curtea Veche (former princely court) with a bust of Vlad III in Bucharest, Romania.

The area that today constitutes Bucharest has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, but there was no large city in the area until the Middle Ages. According to legend, a man named Bucur founded the city. There is another theory, however, that the city was founded by a prince named Radu Negru, who was the ruler of Wallachia at the end of the 13th.e century. Wallachia is a historic region of Romania located north of the Lower Danube and south of the Carpathians. In 1459, the “Citadel of Bucuresti” was mentioned as one of the residences of Wallach prince Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler. Another royal residence in Bucharest was the former princely court, which became the preferred summer residence of the royal court of Wallachia. Ultimately Bucharest gained favor as the capital because its contemporaries believed it to have the strongest citadel.

Bucharest was occupied in 1476 by the Moldavians, and again in 1554 by the Ottoman Turks. In 1596, a violent uprising against the Turks nearly destroyed the city. The city and its royal court were however rebuilt in the 1660s, during the reign of the Wallach prince Matei Basarab. Before the 1700s Bucharest became the most important commercial center in Wallachia. After 1698, the city became the permanent residence of the Wallachian rulers. During the 18e and 19e centuries Bucharest was destroyed by natural disasters and rebuilt several times afterwards. A rapid succession of empires ruled it during this period, most notably the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg dynasty, and the Russian Empire.

Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest
The Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest.

In 1861, Wallachia and Moldavia united to form the Principality of Romania, of which Bucharest became the capital. In 1877, Romania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Four years later, the Kingdom of Romania is proclaimed and Bucharest becomes its official capital. In the second half of the 19e century Bucharest and its population grew rapidly. It was during this time that the city’s extravagant architecture and cosmopolitan atmosphere earned it the nickname, “The Paris of the East”.

During World War I Bucharest was occupied by German forces from December 1916 to November 1918. After the war the city became the capital of an enlarged Romania when the region of Transylvania, formerly under the control of the Empire Austro-Hungarian, was ceded to the Romanians. During World War II Bucharest was heavily bombarded from the air by the Allies and the Nazis, although compared to other European cities it was not significantly damaged.

After World War II, pro-Soviet communists took control of Romania. During the period of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s reign, many old buildings in Bucharest were destroyed and replaced with Communist-style buildings, especially high-rise apartments. There was also a major earthquake in 1977 which caused widespread destruction in the city and killed more than 1,500 people, including Romania’s most famous actor at the time, Toma Caragiu. The 1989 revolution put an end to Ceauşescu’s regime. Romania became a democracy soon after. Since the revolution, Bucharest has continued to grow, although this growth has been largely concentrated outside the city limits. The city’s population peaked at 2 million in the year 2000, although it has declined since then.

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