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Bucharest (population 2.3 million, Romanian: Bucureşti) is the capital city and industrial and commercial centre of Romania, located in the southeast of the country, on the Dāmboviţa river.


Table of contents
1 Geography
2 History
3 Population
4 Economy
5 Transport
6 Sights & Landmarks
7 Shopping
8 Education
9 Sports Teams
10 Notable Natives
11 External Links


Along a small tributary of Dāmboviţa, 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 Cişmigiu. Surrounded by gardens and parks, it has a rich history, as it was frequented by famous poets and writers.

The city has a total surface of 226 km² and it is divised in 6 administrative sectors.

Until recently, the regions surrounding Bucharest were largely rural areas, but after 1989, new suburbs were started to be build around Bucharest, in the Ilfov county.


Main article: History of Bucharest

The legend says that Bucharest was founded by a shepherd named Bucur, another variant, more likely, is that it was established by Mircea cel Bătrân in the 14th century after a victory won over the Turks (bucurie means joy in Romanian, for this reason Bucharest is often called "The City of Joy.").

Like most ancient cities of Romania, its foundation has also been ascribed to the first Walachian prince, the half-mythical Radu Negru (1290-1314). More modern historians declare that it was originally a fortress, erected on the site of the Daco-Roman Thyanus, then it was used to command the approaches to Târgovişte, formerly the capital of Walachia.

Bucharest is first mentioned under its present name as a residence in 1459 of the Walachian prince Vlad Ţepeş (Vlad the Impaler). It soon 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, until, in 1698, Prince Constantin Brāncoveanu chose it for his capital and of the united provinces of Walachia and Moldavia from February 1859 (renamed Romania in December 1861 while still nominally subject to the Ottoman Empire).

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 Walachia in the following year. 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 Walachia and Moldavia was proclaimed, Bucharest became the Romanian capital. Alexandru Ioan 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 Elysées or Fifth Avenue, but the social divide between rich and poor was described at the time by Ferdinand Lasalle as "a savage hotchpotch."

On December 6 1916 the city was occupied by the German forces, the capital being moved to Iaşi, 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 Ceauşescu's communist dictatorship, 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 People. Some historic districts remain, but Bucharest is certainly no longer the Paris of the East.

Treaties signed in Bucharest

  1. May 28 1812, at the end of the Russian-Turkish war, Romania losses Bessarabia
  2. March 3 1886, at the end of the war between Serbia and Bulgaria
  3. August 10 1913, at the end of the Second Balkan War
  4. August 4 1916, the treaty of alliance between Romania and Entente (France, England, Russia and Italy)
  5. May 6 1918, the treaty between Romania and the Central Powers, which was never ratified


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


Although it accounts for about 10% of Romania's population, it produces more than 25% of the country's
GDP, being obviously the most developed area and industrialized area of Romania.


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:

Bucharest Metro

Main article:
Bucharest Metro

The subway system consists of four lines: M1, M2, M3 and M4. In total, the network is 63km long and has 45 stations, with 1.5km average distance between stops.


Future Development

The Bucharest Metro is currently in a period of renewal. In 2002, new high-quality trainsets were introduced, manufactured by Canadian maker Bombardier. They are air-conditioned. Also, lines are being extended. Line M4 was opened as recently as 2000, and it is currently in the process of extension from 1 Mai to Pajura, in the city's north. Also, in 2004, a branch to Line M1 will be opened from Nicolae Grigorescu to Linia de Centură via Policolor. This will extend the network to 50 stations with 70.8 kilometres length.

There is also a plan for line M5, which will run to the large district Drumul Taberei in the city's southwest from Colentina quarter via the city center. As well as this, in the future, the Metro might be extended to Bucharest Otopeni Airport, in the town of Otopeni and Băneasa Airport, which is currently only serviced by RATB bus.

If you are travelling to Bucharest and would like a trip planner for the Metro, please visit and download the MetrO program by Patrice Bernard, along with the Bucharest city file. This excellent program will find the quickest way between two stations.

RATB Surface Transport

Despite many comments in the 1990s about the poor state of Bucharest's transport system, RATB is a very efficient and frequent way to get around Bucharest. As with the Metro, the system is going under a period of renewal, making it one of the most modern and comfortable in Eastern Europe, especially with the introduction of new acoustic station announcement in the trolleybuses.


Taxis, which are run by a variety of companies, are cheap and affordable and service all parts of the city. However, there are also a large number of less reliable taxi companies. Make sure your taxi has a posted rate per kilometer.

CFR Trains

Bucharest is served by a commuter railway network operated by CFR, the Romanian national railways. This network is not very efficient and is infrequent, because trains run nationally. There are trains from Bucharest to Snagov.

See also Căile Ferate Române

Getting to and from Bucharest


TAROM, the national air carrier, has good flights from a large variety of world cities, including Paris, Madrid, Munich and Rome, to Otopeni, the main international airport. Also, Angel Airlines, the new Romanian private airline, has domestic flights of good quality from Băneasa airport.

See also TAROM, Angel Airlines, Bucharest Otopeni Airport, Baneasa


Main article:Căile Ferate Române

Train services into and out of Romania are of very high quality, especially those trains that are operated by Romanian railways, Hungarian railways or Polish railways. There are quality EuroCity and EuroNight trains to Budapest via Arad, as well as to Belgrade via Timişoara.

Sights & Landmarks

Palatul Poporului

Palace of the People was built by the communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu and it is the second biggest building in the world after the Pentagon.

The Village Museum

Established in 1936, the Village Museum is an open air ethnographical museum, extended on 10 hectares, containing 272 authentic buildings and peasant farms from all over Romania.

Triumph Arch

The first, wooden, triumph 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.

Cişmigiu Gardens

Built as a public garden in the center of Bucharest in 1847 after the plans of the German architect Carl F.W. Meyer.

National Art Museum

Located in the former royal palace, the museum features a 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 Brâncuşi 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

See also a more comprehensive list of buildings in Bucharest.


Supermarket chains

Shopping in Bucharest is very affordable and of a considerably high quality. For food and necessities shopping, see
Supermarkets in Romania.

Shopping centers

The biggest shopping centers in Bucharest are
Bucharest Mall and Unirea shopping center.

Ethnic artifacts

The Museum of the Romanian Peasant has a very notable store, offering artifacts such as textiles, musical instruments, and painted eggs.


The first Romanian higher education institution was opened in 1694 (the Academy of Saint Sava), and in 1864 the Bucharest University was established; today there are 21 higher education institutes with nearly 100,000 students in the capital.

Colleges and Universities

Sports Teams

Football (soccer)

Notable Natives

External Links