City history

Myths and first rows of history

Bucharest history city starts before the Dark Ages of Wallachia. First document that mentions Bucharest is a property document from 1459 when ruler Vlad the Impaler (known as Dracula – the vampire) gives some land to a local nobleman. The Old Princely Court is a place full of history, that was Vlad the Impaler princely residence – so Bucharest is the place you must start your travel after Dracula.

About Bucharest name are also some myths from historical times. One of this is about a shepherd called Bucur, that growed his sheeps near the Damboviţa river. In some stories Bucur was son of Vladislav I of Wallachia and his name on Latin was Hilarius. Name Bucur came from “bucurie”, that means “joy”. So, Bucur is the name for a joyful man and the Latin form Hilarius has a similar meaning. The first documentation of this tradition is that in 1761 a Franciscan monk Blasius Kleiner.

There is an other reference to joy (bucurie). A story tells that Mircea of Wallachia has founded a city of joy after a victory in a battle against the Ottoman Empire (Turkey nowadays), a very important political force in this part of Europe in that times.

So, Bucharest history is still buried in legends and historical data are still uncertain about the early city of Bucharest. A certain fact is that the actual place of the city was inhabited from ancient times: archaeological researches established that this teritory is inhabited since 1800 BC.
One of the most important architectural complex from Middle Age is Curtea Veche, the ruler’s residential palace, built by Mircea Ciobanu. This is in Old City, near Piata Unirii. About this, in one of our blog posts.

Modern times

The modernisation of Bucharest start from 1821, when in Walahia (South part of Romania from nowadays) starts a revolution against pro-Turkish government. Soon after this, the turkish influence is changed by the russian one. Pavel Kiseleff start the modernization of the city. In this period are made stone roads, cultural places, hospitals.

A major event in city history is the a fire that burns the city in 1847, more than 2000 buildings was destroyed. After 10 year form this bad event, in 1857 Bucharest was the first city in world public illuminated with kerosene. At 1st April 1857- the date for coming into operation of the contract for illumination Bucharest had 1000 street lamps, according

Between the World Wars and communist period

Between the World Wars was the prolific time for Romania and also for Bucharest. Romania had in it’s borders all the national territories: after the Second World War some territories were integrated in Soviet Union. Now some of this territories are in Ukraine or form Republic of Moldova.

Bucharest was called Little Paris between the World Wars: it was a small city with a lot of charm. The old city still keeps a part of this charm, with buildings like Stavropoleos church, Coltea Hospital or Romanian Athenaeum.
Unfortunately, a major earthquake in 1977 and after this, the communist regime, transformed the city radically. Romanian Parliament, Unirii Boulevard or House of the Free Press are some representative communist architecture.
Romanian Parliament, the largest building in Europe and the second in world considering the surface is also the most impressive building from communist period. It was raised by Nicolae Ceausescu, the last communist dictator of Romania. Another place linked by Nicolae Ceausescu is Piata Revolutiei, where he had his last speech and the Bucharest’s place where was started Romanian revolution.

After 1989, the year of Romanian Revolution, when the democracy was established again after almost 50 years of communism, the city still suffer from architecture point of view.

The history of Bucharest city is like a roller coaster and also all the city: old and new building, beautiful architecture next to pragmatic one.