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Romania facts and history in brief

Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Bucharest (Romanian: Bucuresti) is the capital city and industrial and commercial centre of Romania, located in the southeast of the country, on the Dâmbovita river.
The city proper has a population of 2,082,000 inhabitants, together with the metropolitan area comprising approximately 2.3 million people, making it the largest city between Berlin and Istanbul.

- Metropolitan 228 km2
- Total 1,521 km2
- GDP per capita local purchasing power $20,057 (2005)
- Budget $640 million (2005)
Population: 2,354,510 (2002)
- Density 1,548/km2
Time zone Eastern Europe: GMT+2
Latitude: 44°25' N
Longitude: 26°06' E

Geography Along a small tributary of Dâmbovita, named Colentina, several lakes stretch across the city, the most important being Lake Floreasca, Lake Tei and Lake Colentina.
In addition, in the center of the capital there is a small artificial lake - Lake Cismigiu.
Until recently, the regions surrounding Bucharest were largely rural, but after 1989, new suburbs started to be built around Bucharest, in Ilfov county.

The legend says that Bucharest was founded by a shepherd named Bucur, another variant, more likely, is that it was established by Mircea cel Batrân in the 14th century after a victory won over the Turks (bucurie means joy in Romanian).
Like most ancient cities of Romania, its foundation has also been ascribed to the first Wallachian prince, the half-mythical Radu Negru.

Bucharest is first mentioned under its present name as a residence in 1459 of the Wallachian prince Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler). It was then that the Old Royal Court (Curtea Veche) was built and during the rule of Radu cel Frumos it became the summer residence of the court.
In 1595 it was burned by the Turks; but, after its restoration, continued to grow in size and prosperity and in 1698, Prince Constantin Brâncoveanu chose it for his capital.

During the 18th century the possession of Bucharest was frequently disputed by the Turks, Austrians and Russians.
In 1812 it gave its name to the treaty by which Bessarabia and a third of Moldavia were ceded to Russia.
In the war of 1828 it was occupied by the Russians, who made it over to the prince of Wallachia in the following year.

On 23 March 1847 a fire consumed about 2,000 buildings of Bucharest (about a third of the city).

A rebellion against Prince Bibescu in 1848 brought both Turkish and Russian interference, and the city was again held by Russian troops in 1853-1854.
On their departure an Austrian garrison took possession and remained till March 1857.
In 1858 the international congress for the organization of the Danubian principalities was held in the city; and when, in 1861, the union of Wallachia and Moldavia was proclaimed, Bucharest became the Romanian capital.
Alexander John Cuza, the first ruler of the united provinces, was driven from his throne by an insurrection in Bucharest in 1866.

In the second half of the 19th century, the population of the city increased dramatically.
The extravagant architecture and cosmopolitan high culture of this period won Bucharest the nickname of The Paris of the East (or Little Paris, "Micul Paris"), with Calea Victoriei as its Champs-Élysées or Fifth Avenue, but the social divide between rich and poor was described at the time by Ferdinand Lassalle as "a savage hotchpotch."

On December 6, 1916 the city was occupied by the German forces, the capital being moved to Iasi, but it was liberated in November 1918, becoming the capital of the new united Kingdom of Romania.

Bucharest suffered heavy loses during WWII due to the English and American bombardments.
On November 8, 1945, the king's day, the communists suppressed pro-monarchist rallies.

During Nicolae Ceausescu's leadership, most of the historical part of the city, including old churches, was destroyed, to be replaced with the grandomanic socialist buildings of the Centru Civic, notably the Palace of the Parliament.
Some historic districts remain, but many argue whether Bucharest is really the Paris of the East today.

In 1977, a strong 7.4 on the Richter-scale earthquake claimed 1,500 lives and destroyed many old buildings.

Mass protests began in Timisoara in December 1989 and continued in Bucharest, leading to the overthrow of Ceausescu's communist regime.

Unhappy with the results of the revolution, mass protests supported by the students' leagues continued in 1990 (the Golaniad) and were violently stopped by the miners of Valea Jiului (the Mineriad).
Several other Mineriads followed, the results of which included a government change.

After the year 2000, due to the advent of Romania's economic boom, the city has modernized and many historical areas have been restored to their former glory.

The population greatly increased in the last two centuries with Bucharest growing importance, partially due to urbanization of Romanians, who, until the 19th century were mostly farmers, predominantly living in rural areas.
Today, about 9% of the population of Romania lives in Bucharest.

Although it accounts for around 9% of Romania's population, Bucharest produces around 21% of the country's GDP and about a quarter of the industrial production, being obviously the most developed area and industrialized area of Romania.
Almost two-thirds of Romania's national taxes are paid by Bucharest citizens and companies.

Bucharest boasts the largest transport network in Romania, and one of the largest in the Central and Eastern Europe region.
Transport can be divided into three major fields:

A metro (subway) system run by Metrorex
A surface transport system run by RATB that is made up of buses, trams, trolleybuses and high-speed trams (light-metro) - see Regia Autonoma de Transport Bucuresti
A private taxi system

TAROM, the national air carrier, and other major international carriers like Alitalia, Lufthansa, Air Canada and Air France have flights from a large variety of world cities, including Paris, Madrid, Munich, Toronto, London and Rome, to Henri Coanda International Airport (formerly Otopeni), the main international airport.
Also, other private Romanian airlines operate from Aurel Vlaicu International Airport.

Train services into and out of Romania are of high quality, especially those trains that are operated by Romanian railways, Hungarian railways or Polish railways.
There are EuroCity and EuroNight trains to Budapest via Arad, as well as to Belgrade via Timisoara.
Intercity and Rapid trains service all major cities in Romania.
Tickets are inexpensive by Western standards.

In contrast, the "Personal" trains are crowded and slow.

Sights & landmarks
* The Palace of the Parliament was built by the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (then known as the Palace of the People) and, it is the third biggest building in the world (by volume) after the Pentagon and the Merchandise Mart.
The huge building hosts the Museum of Contemporary Art.

* The Village Museum, established in 1936, the Village Museum is an open air ethnographical museum, extended on 100,000 square metres, containing 272 authentic buildings and peasant farms from all over Romania.

* Arcul de Triumf, the first, wooden, triumphal arch was built hurriedly, after Romania gained its independence (1878), so that the victorious troops could march under it.
Another temporary arch was built on the same site, after World War I.
The current arch was built in 1935.

* Cismigiu Gardens, were built as a public garden in the center of Bucharest in 1847 after the plans of the German architect Carl F.W. Meyer.

* National Museum of Art, located in the former royal palace, the museum features notable collections of medieval and modern Romanian art, as well as the international collection assembled by the Romanian royal family.
The modern Romanian collection features sculptures by Constantin Brâncusi and Dimitrie Paciurea.

* Museum of the Romanian Peasant, a beautifully displayed collection of textiles (especially costumes), icons, ceramics, and other artifacts of Romanian peasant life.
This institution received the "European Museum of the Year 1996" prize.

Other landmarks
Herastrau Park, site of the Village Museum
Botanical Garden
University Square
Lipscani area, including Manuc's Inn (Hanul lui Manuc) and the Old Court (Curtea Veche)
Kretzulescu Palace
Cotroceni Palace
The Romanian National Opera
Obor Market (Piata Obor)

External links
Official sites City guides

For a more information about Bucharest see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucharest) November 2005
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

About Wikipedia

This information was correct in November 2005. E. & O.E.

The city centre is built in a monolithic style and very trying to walk around without some other atraction grabbing your interest.

Each huge building over taxing our span of concentration.

We spent some time in town, walking around and taking many photos, while exploring the city.

Unfortunately I do not have any of my photos of this place left, although we had four cameras between us and we have taken many, many photos wherever we went, two of my most favoured cameras: a JVC video camera I favoured because of the quality of photos it produced, ease of use and its excellent compression rate, and my Panasonic camera for its miniature size. Both had large, 512 MB SD Cards and many thousands of photos on them were stolen from my bag, later into our trip, by some 'lowlife', with my wallet and money.
You'll see this message a few times, because my JVC and Panasonic cameras' cards had many-many pictures stored on them.

Bucharest (Cortesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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