Bucharest is Romania's capital, the biggest city and the main political, administrative, economical, financiary, bancary, educational, scientific and cultural center of the country. It is situated in S - SE area of the country, up to an altitude of 60 -90m, on the rivers Dambovita and Colentina, at 44°25'50" Nordic latitude (as Belgrade, Geneva, Bordeaux, Minneapolis) and 26°06'50" East longitude (as Helsinki or Johannesburg). The city has a surface of 228 Km² and a population of more than 2 millions - cca 9% of the total population and 15% of the urban population. As far as the number of inhabitants is concerned, Bucharest is the third city in the area, after Athena and Istanbul.
The city of Bucharest was for the first time mentioned in 1495 as residence of Tara Romaneasca's Hospodar, Vlad Tepes, but its history is much older, going back to the 14th century. The name of the city of Bucharest was given by a peasant, Bucur, but there doesn't exist any documentary proof up till the end of Middle Age. The Turks and Tartars attacks, before 17th century, stopped the city development. The city became the Valahia's capital in 1698 and developed during the peace period of the 18th century.
In 1800 the city population was about 50.000. From 122,000 (1859) inhabitants reached 639,000 (1930) and 1,452,000 (1966). In 1862, Bucharest becomes the capital of Romania. Continues to develop helped by its close position to the oil refinery and is one of the first cities illuminated by gas.
During the communist period there were enlarged the boulevards started in the 19th century, were projected parks and raised massive constructions (many of them with a outstanding soviet style - for example the communist party headquarters and the huge buildings that were holding the govern works). The first high form of study institution was opened in 1694 ("Sfantul Sava" Academy), and Bucharest has an university founded in 1861 that now is situated near Sciences Academy, State Library and National Theatre.
Today in the capital are 21 high form of study institutions with almost 100.000 students, Orthodox Church Patriarchy, Romanian Academy, two national libraries, 40 museums, 230 churches (some of them in orthodox style, dating since 19th century, Opera, Operetta, other 20 theatres. The Parliament palace that was build at the order of Ceausescu dictator between 1984 and 1989, is the second building in the world as far as the size is concerned with its 265.000 m² after the Pentagon (that has a surface of 604.000m²). From the many art galleries and museums are remarkable the Village Museum (the second as importance in Europe after Stockholm), that includes the rural traditional architecture from the whole country, the Romanian Peasant Museum, National History Museum or the churches from the 16-17th century.
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