Bucharest

Country Romania
County Municipality of Bucharest
Government
- Mayor Sorin Oprescu
Area
- City 228 km2 (88 sq mi)
- Urban 285 km2 (110 sq mi)
Elevation 60–90 m (197–295 ft)
Population (est. January 1, 2009)
- City 1,944,367
- Rank 1st in Romania
- Density 8,510/km2 (22,040.8/sq mi)
- Urban 2,000,000
- Metro 2,150,000
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Area code(s) +40 x1
Car Plates B

Bucharest (Romanian: București pronounced [bukuˈreʃtʲ] listen is the capital city, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River.

Bucharest was first mentioned in documents as early as 1459. Since then it has gone through a variety of changes, becoming the state capital of Romania in 1862 and steadily consolidating its position as the centre of the Romanian mass media, culture and arts. Its eclectic architecture is a mix of historical (neo-classical), interbellum (Bauhaus and Art Deco), Communist-era and modern. In the period between the two World Wars, the city’s elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of the “Little Paris of the East” (Micul Paris). Although many buildings and districts in the historic centre were damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes and Nicolae Ceaușescu’s program of systematization, many survived. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic and cultural boom.

Economically, Bucharest is the most prosperous city in Romania and is one of the main industrial centre and transportation hubs of Eastern Europe. The city has a broad range of convention facilities, educational facilities, cultural venues, shopping arcades and recreational areas.

The name of Bucur has an uncertain origin: tradition connects the founding of Bucharest with the name of Bucur who was either a prince, an outlaw, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a hunter, according to different legends

The official city name in full is The Municipality of Bucharest (Romanian: Municipiul

Bucharest’s history alternated periods of development and decline from the early settlements of the Antiquity and until its consolidation as capital of Romania late in the 19th century.

First mentioned as “the Citadel of București” in 1459, it became a residence of the Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler. The Old Princely Court (Curtea Veche) was built by Mircea Ciobanul, and during following rules, Bucharest was established as the summer residence of the court, competing with Târgoviște for the status of capital after an increase in the importance of southern Muntenia brought about by the demands of the suzerain power, the Ottoman Empire.

Burned down by the Ottomans and briefly discarded by princes at the start of the 17th century, Bucharest was restored and continued to grow in size and prosperity. Before the 18th century, it became the most important trade centre of Wallachia and became a permanent location for the Wallachian court after 1698 (starting with the reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu).

Partly destroyed by natural disasters and rebuilt several times during the following 200 years, hit by Caragea’s plague in 1813–1814, the city was wrested from Ottoman control and occupied at several intervals by the Habsburg Monarchy (1716, 1737, 1789) and Imperial Russia (three times between 1768 and 1806). It was placed under Russian administration between 1828 and the Crimean War, with an interlude during the Bucharest-centred 1848 Wallachian revolution, and an Austrian garrison took possession after the Russian departure (remaining in the city until March 1857). Additionally, on March 23, 1847, a fire consumed about 2,000 buildings of Bucharest, destroying a third of the city.

In 1861, when Wallachia and Moldavia were united to form the Principality of Romania, Bucharest became the new nation’s capital; in 1881, it became the political centre of the newly-proclaimed Kingdom of Romania. During the second half of the 19th century, a new period of urban development began. 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.

Between December 6, 1916 and November 1918, it was occupied by German forces, the legitimate capital being moved to Iași. After World War I, Bucharest became the capital of Greater Romania. Bucharest suffered heavy losses during World War II, due to Allied bombings, and, on August 23, 1944, saw the royal coup which brought Romania into the anti-German camp, suffering a short but destructive period of Luftwaffe bombings in reprisal.

During Nicolae Ceaușescu’s leadership (1965–1989), most of the historic part of the city was destroyed and replaced with Communist-style buildings, particularly high-rise apartment buildings. The best example of this is the development called Centrul Civic (the Civic Centre), including the Palace of the Parliament, where an entire historic quarter was razed to make way for Ceaușescu’s megalomaniac constructions. On March 4, 1977, an earthquake centered in Vrancea, about 135 km (83.89 mi) away, claimed 1,500 lives and destroyed many old buildings. Nevertheless, some historic neighbourhoods have survived to this day.

After the year 2000, due to the advent of significant economic growth in Romania, the city has modernized and is currently undergoing a period of urban renewal. Various residential and commercial developments are underway, particularly in the northern districts, while Bucharest’s historic centre is currently undergoing restoration.

Bucharest is situated on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, which flows into the Argeș River, a tributary of the Danube. Several lakes – the most important of which are Lake Herăstrău, Lake Floreasca, Lake Tei, and Lake Colentina – stretch across the city, along the Colentina River, a tributary of the Dâmbovița. In addition, in the centre of the capital there is a small artificial lake – Lake Cișmigiu – surrounded by the Cișmigiu Gardens. The Cișmigiu Gardens have a rich history, being frequented by famous poets and writers. Opened in 1847 and based on the plans of German architect Carl F.W. Meyer, the gardens are currently the main recreational facility in the city centre.

Besides Cișmigiu, Bucharest contains several other large parks and gardens, including Herăstrău Park and the Botanical Garden. Herăstrău is a large public park located in the north of the city, around Lake Herăstrău, and the site of the Village Museum, while the Bucharest’s botanical garden is the largest in Romania and contains over 10,000 species of plants, many of them exotic; it was once a pleasure park for the royal family.[12]

Bucharest has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa). Due to its position on the Romanian Plain, the city’s winters can get windy, even though some of the winds are mitigated due to urbanisation. Winter temperatures often dip below 0 °C (32 °F), sometimes even dropping to −20 °C (−4 °F). In summer, the average temperature is approximately 23 °C (73 °F) (the average for July and August), despite the fact that temperatures frequently reach 35 °C (95 °F) to 40 °C (104 °F) in mid-summer in the city centre. Although average precipitation and humidity during summer are low, there are occasional heavy storms. During spring and autumn, average daytime temperatures vary between 17 °C (63 °F) to 22 °C (72 °F), and precipitation during this time tends to be higher than in summer, with more frequent yet milder periods of rain.

In terms of religion, 96.1% of the population are Romanian Orthodox, 1.2% are Roman Catholic, 0.5% are Muslim and 0.4% are Romanian Greek Catholic. Despite this, only 18% of the population, of any religion, attend a place of worship once a week or more. The life expectancy of residents of Bucharest in 2003–2005 was 74.14 years, around 2 years higher than the Romanian average. Female life expectancy was 77.41 years, in comparison to 70.57 years for males.

Public transport

Bucharest’s extensive public transport system is the largest in Romania and one of the largest in Europe. It is made up of the Bucharest Metro, as well as a surface transport system run by RATB (Regia Autonomă de Transport București), which consists of buses, trams, trolleybuses, and light rail. In addition, there is a private minibus system and taxicab.

Railways

Bucharest is the hub of Romania’s national railway network, run by Căile Ferate Române. The main railway station is Gara de Nord, or North Station, which provides connections to all major cities in Romania as well as international destinations:

Air

Bucharest has two international airports:

Henri Coandă International Airport, located 16.5 km (10.3 mi) north of the Bucharest city center. Currently the airport has one terminal divided into two inter-connected buildings (Departures Hall and Arrivals Hall).

Aurel Vlaicu International Airport is situated only 8 km (5.0 mi) north of the Bucharest city center and is accessible by buses, tramway and Airport Express 783 (from / to city center), 780 (from / to rail station) and taxi.

Culture

Bucharest has a diverse and growing cultural scene, with cultural life exhibited in a number of various fields, including the visual arts, performing arts and nightlife. Bucharest’s cultural scene is much more eclectic, without a defined style, and instead incorporates various elements of Romanian and international culture. Bucharest has an eclectic mixture of elements from traditionally Romanian buildings to buildings that are influenced by French architects. It is because of this French influence that Bucharest was once called “the Paris of the East” or “Little Paris.”

Landmarks


Bucharest has a large number of landmark buildings and monuments. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the Palace of the Parliament, built in the 1980. Currently the largest building in Europe and the second-largest in the world, the Palace houses the Romanian Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate), as well as the National Museum of Contemporary Art. The building also boasts one of the largest convention centre in the world.

Another well-known landmark in Bucharest is Arcul de Triumf (The Triumphal Arch), it was built in its current form in 1935 and modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Romanian Athenaeum building is considered to be a symbol of Romanian culture and since 2007 is on the list of the Label of European Heritage sights.

Other cultural venues include the National Museum of Art of Romania, in old Royal Palace, Museum of Natural History “Grigore Antipa”, Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Muzeul Ţăranului Român), National History Museum, and the Military Museum.

Visual arts

In terms of visual arts, the city contains a number of museums featuring both classical and contemporary Romanian art, as well as selected international works. The National Museum of Art of Romania is perhaps the best-known of Bucharest museums. It is located in the former royal palace and features extensive collections of medieval and modern Romanian art, including works by renowned sculptor Constantin Brâncuși, as well as a prominent international collection assembled by the former Romanian royal family.

Other, smaller museums, contain more specialised collections of works. The Zambaccian Museum, which is situated in the former home of Armenian-Romanian art collector Krikor H. Zambaccian contains works by many well-known Romanian artists as well as international artists such as Paul Cézanne, Eugène Delacroix, Henri Matisse, Camille Pissarro and Pablo Picasso.

The Gheorghe Tattarescu Museum contains portraits of Romanian revolutionaries in exile such as Gheorghe Magheru, Ștefan Golescu, Nicolae Bălcescu and allegorical compositions with revolutionary (Romania’s rebirth, 1849) and patriotic (The Principalities’ Unification, 1857) themes. The Theodor Pallady Museum is situated in one of the oldest surviving merchant houses in Bucharest and includes many works by Romanian painter Theodor Pallady as well as a number of European and Oriental furniture pieces. The Museum of Art Collections contains the collections of a number of well-known Romanian art aficionados.

Despite the extensive classical art galleries and museums in the city, there is also a contemporary arts scene that has become increasingly prominent in recent times. The National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), situated in a wing of the Palace of the Parliament, was opened in 2004 and contains a widespread collection of Romanian and international contemporary art, in a number of expressive forms. The MNAC also manages the Kalinderu MediaLab, which caters specifically to multimedia and experimental art. There is also a range of smaller, private art galleries throughout the city centre.

The palace of the National Bank of Romania houses the national numismatic collection. Exhibits include banknotes, coins, documents, photographs, maps, silver and gold bullion bars, bullion coins, dies and moulds. The building itself was constructed between 1884 and 1890. The thesaurus room contains notable marble decorations.

Performing arts

Performing arts are one of the strongest cultural elements of Bucharest, and the city has a number of world-renowned facilities and institutions. The most famous symphony orchestra is National Radio Orchestra of Romania. One of the most prominent buildings is the neoclassical Romanian Athenaeum, which was founded in 1852, and hosts classical music concerts, the George Enescu Festival, and is home to the “George Enescu” Philharmonic. Bucharest is also home to the Romanian National Opera, as well as the I.L. Caragiale National Theatre. There is also a large number of smaller theatres throughout the city that cater to specific genres, such as the Comedy Theatre, the Nottara Theatre, the Bulandra Theatre, the Odeon Theatre, and the Constantin Tănase Revue Theatre.

Music and nightlife

Bucharest is home to Romania’s largest recording labels, and is often the residence of Romanian musicians. The city’s music scene is eclectic. The city’s nightlife, particularly its club scene grew significantly in the 1990s, and continues to develop.

There is no central nightlife strip, with many entertainment venues dispersed throughout the city centre, with a cluster in the historical centre.

Traditional culture

Bucharest’s cultural life has, especially since the early 1990s, become colourful and worldly. Traditional Romanian culture, however, continues to have a major influence in arts such as theatre, film and music. Additionally, Bucharest has two internationally-renowned ethnographic museums, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the open-air Village Museum. The Village Museum, in Herăstrău Park, contains 272 authentic buildings and peasant farms from all over Romania. The Museum of the Romanian Peasant was declared the European Museum of the Year in 1996, and displays a rich collection of textiles (especially costumes), icons, ceramics, and other artifacts of Romanian peasant life.

The Museum of Romanian History is another important museum in Bucharest, containing a collection of artefacts detailing Romanian history and culture from the prehistoric times, medieval times and the modern era.

Cultural events and festivals

There are a number of cultural festivals in Bucharest throughout the year, in various domains, even though most festivals take place in the summer months of June, July and August. Romanian Athaeneum Society hosts the George Enescu Festival at various locations throughout the city in September every two years (odd years). Additionally, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the Village Museum organise a number of events throughout the year showcasing Romanian folk arts and crafts.

Religious life

Bucharest is the seat of the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, one of the Eastern Orthodox churches in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople, and also of its subdivisons, the Metropolis of Muntenia and Dobrudja and the Archbishopric of Bucharest. Orthodox believers say that Saint Demetrios is the patron saint of the city.

Bucharest is also a center for various other religions and cults in Romania, including the main Romanian-ethnic Catholic organization, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest.

Architecture

Bucharest’s architecture is highly eclectic due to the many influences on the city throughout its history. The city centre is a mixture of medieval, neoclassical and art nouveau buildings, as well as ‘neo-Romanian’ buildings dating from the beginning of the 20th century and a remarkable collection of modern buildings from the 20s and 30s. The mostly-utilitarian Communist-era architecture dominates most southern boroughs. Recently built contemporary structures such as skyscrapers and office buildings complete the landscape.

Historical architecture

Of the city’s medieval architecture, most of what survived into modern times was destroyed by Communist systematization, numerous fires and military incursions. Still, some medieval and renaissance edifices remain, the most notable are in the Lipscani area. This precinct contains notable buildings such as Manuc’s Inn and the ruins of the Curtea Veche (the Old Court), during the late Middle Ages this area was the heart of commerce in Bucharest. From the 1970s onwards, the area went through urban decline, and many historical buildings fell into disrepair. In 2005, the Lipscani area was entirely pedestrianised and is currently slowly undergoing restoration.

The city centre has also retained architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly the interwar period, which is often seen as the “golden age” of Bucharest architecture. During this time, the city grew significantly in size and wealth therefore seeking to emulate other large European capitals such as Paris. Much of the architecture of the time belongs to a remarkably strong Modern (rationalist) Two notable buildings from this time are the Crețulescu Palace, currently housing cultural institutions including UNESCO’s European Centre for Higher Education, and the Cotroceni Palace, the current residence of the Romanian President. Many large-scale constructions such as Gara de Nord, the busiest railway station in the city, National Bank of Romania’s headquarters and the Telephone Palace date from these times. In the first decade of the 21st century, a wide variety of historic buildings in the city centre underwent restoration. In some residential areas of the city, particularly the high-income northern suburbs, there are many turn-of-the-century villas, most of which were restored in the late 1990s.

The newest contribution to Bucharest’s architecture took place after the fall of Communism, particularly after 2000, when the city went through a period of urban renewal – and architectural revitalization – on the back of Romania’s rapid economic growth. Buildings from this time are mostly made of glass and steel, and often have more than ten storeys. Examples include shopping malls (particularly the Bucharest Mall, a conversion and extension of an abandoned building), office buildings, bank headquarters, the Bucharest World Trade Center and the Chamber of Commerce, which lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița. Aside from buildings used for business and institutions, various new residential developments are currently underway, many of which consist of high-rise buildings with a glass exterior, surrounded by American-style residential communities.

Media

Bucharest is the most important centre of the Romanian media, since it is the headquarters of all the national television networks as well as national newspapers and radio stations, including sports paper an TV sport channels.

Education

There are 16 public universities in Bucharest, the largest of which are the University of Bucharest, the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, and the Politehnica University of Bucharest. These are supplemented by 19 private unyversity. Overall, there are about 159 faculties in 34 universities. Private universities have a mixed reputation due to irregularities in the educational process. The first modern educational institution was the Princely Academy of Bucharest, founded in 1694 and divided in 1864 to form the present-day University of Bucharest and the Saint Sava National College, both of which are amongst the most prestigious of their kind in Romania. There are around 450 public primary and secondary schools in the city,

Sports

Football is the most widely-followed sport in Bucharest, with the city having numerous club teams, some of them being known throughout Europe (Steaua, Dinamo, Rapid and others).

The Lia Manoliu Stadium was the national stadium and the largest stadium in Romania. It has now been demolished to make way for a new stadium, which will host the 2012 Europa League Final.

There are also a number of sport clubs for ice hockey, rugby, basketball, handball, water polo, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, equestrian sport, gymnastics, wrestling, weightlifting, box, athletics and many others ..

Bucharest has hosted annual many national an international sports event in different sports.
 
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