Bucharest (Bucuresti in Romanian) is the Capital and the largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial and financial centre. Its location is in the southeast of the country, on the banks of the Dambovita River. It is also known as “The Little Paris” because of its urbanization and appealing to foreigners during 1859-1946.
Sports & natureFootball is the most widely followed sport in Bucharest, with the city having club teams known throughout Europe: Steaua, Dinamo or Rapid. National Arena, the newest stadium inaugurated on 6 September 2011, hosted the 2012 Europa League Final and has a 55.600 seats capacity, making it one of the largest stadiums in the Southeastern Europe.
There are sport clubs for ice hockey, rugby union, basketball, handball, water polo and volleyball. The Athletics and many National Gymnastic Championships are held in Bucharest at the Polyvalent Hall, which is also used for other indoor sports such as volleyball and handball. The largest indoor arena in Bucharest is the Romexpo Dome with a seating capacity of 10.000. it is used for tennis, boxing and kickboxing. Every year, Bucharest hosts BRD Năstase Țiriac Trophy international tennis tournament, which is included in the ATP Tour. The outdoors tournament is hosted by the tennis complex BNR Arenas. The ice hockey games are held at the Mihai Flamaropol Arena, which holds 8,000 spectators. The rugby games are held in different locations, but the most modern stadium is Arcul de Triumf Stadium, where also the Romanian national rugby team plays.
Bucharest has many parks of large area for outdoor sports and leisure: Cișmigiu Gardens, Herăstrău Park, Youth Park, the Botanical Garden, Carol Park, Circus Park, Kiseleff Park, Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park (IOR).
Nightlife infoThere is no central nightlife sleep, with entertainment venues dispersed throughout the city, with clusters in Lipscani and Regie. The city hosts some of the best electronic music clubs in Europe such as Kristal Glam Club and Studio Martin. Some other notable venues are Gaia, Bamboo, Fratelli, Kulturhaus and Fabrica.
Culture and history infoThere are a number of cultural festivals in Bucharest throughout the year but most festivals take place in the summer months of June, July and August. The National Opera organizes the International Opera Festival every year in May and June, which includes ensembles and orchestras from all over the world.
The Romanian Athenaeum Society hosts the George Enescu Festival every two years (odd years). The Museum of the Romanian Peasant and the Village Museum organize events throughout the year showcasing Romanian folk arts and crafts. In the 2000s, due to the growing prominence of the Chinese community in Bucharest, Chinese cultural events took place. The first officially organized Chinese festival was the Chinese New Year's Eve Festival of February 2005 which took place in Nichita Stănescu Park and was organized by the Bucharest City Hall. In 2005, Bucharest was the first city in Southeastern Europe to host the international Cow Parade, which resulted in dozens of decorated cow sculptures being placed across the city.
In 2004, Bucharest imposed in the circle of important festivals in Eastern Europe with BIFF (abbreviation for Bucharest International Film Festival), event widely acknowledged in Europe, having as guests of honor huge names from the world cinema. Traditional Romanian culture continues to have a major influence in arts such as theatre, film and music.
Other museums worth visited are: Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, the Museum of the Romanian Peasant which was declared the European Museum of the Year in 1996. It holds one of the richest collections of peasant objects in Romania, its heritage being nearly 90,000 pieces, those being divided into several collections: ceramics, costumes, textiles, wooden objects, religious objects, customs etc. 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, Dacian era, medieval times and the modern era.
The exact origins of the city are unknown. Folklore has it that a shepherd, Bucur, founded the city, but a more likely candidate is Radu Voda (also known as Radu Negru), ruler of Wallachia from c. 1290-1300. It was under Vlad the Impaler that the city grew to any real size, when it became the preferred site of the Wallachian court. This was based in what is today known as the Old Town, around the Curtea Veche. During Mihai Bravu’s uprising against the Turks in 1594, Bucharest was all but destroyed in heavy fighting. It was not until the reign of Wallachian prince Matei Basarab in the 1640s that the city fully recovered, and the princely court rebuilt. Sacked again in 1655 (by the Transylvanians) Bucharest suffered plague and famine for much of the rest of the 1600s. Other rulers related to the history of Bucharest are Constantin Brancoveanu, Pavel Kiseleff, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Carol I (Romania’s first king).
During the 1920s and 1930s Bucharest was one of Europe’s most architecturally avant-garde cities. Bucharest was heavily bombed during the latter part of World War II, but in comparison with much of Europe the city emerged from the war relatively unscathed. The communist authorities installed by the Soviet Union at the end of the war therefore initially made their mark not by rebuilding the city but by greatly extending it. Huge housing estates (the largest being Titan) were built. The population of the city doubled from 900,000 at the end of World War II to 1.8 million in 1980.
Bucharest was the scene of the heaviest fighting during the Romanian Revolution of 1989, most of which centred on Piata Revolutiei, Piata Universitatii, the TVR building and Otopeni Airport. Since the revolution Bucharest has continued to grow, although much of that growth has been outside the city limits.