Bucharest is Romania’s capital and, at the same time, the most important cultural, industrial and commercial centre of the country. It is the largest city in Romania and the sixth in terms of population in the European Union.
The first document mentioning the city can be traced back to 1459. Since then it has witnessed constant changes, being the core of artistic, cultural and mass media life. In the interwar period, the elite of Bucharest and its elegant architecture earned it the nickname of “Little Paris”. At the present time, the capital has the same administrative level as a county and is divided into six districts.
Bucharest is crossed by the Dâmboviţa River and is less than 70 km away from the Danube.
As per the 2011 census, the capital has a population of about 1.9 million souls and of approximately 2.3 million if we include the neighbouring settlements of the Metropolitan Area.
The city’s climate is temperate continental, which is specific to Romania.
Bucharest is Romania’s biggest economic centre. In 2010, the capital made approximately 22.7% of the gross domestic product of Romania and together with the county of Ilfov 25.3% according to specialized institutions and the GDP / capita is 240% higher than the national average. In Bucharest can be found most part of Romania’s specific economic branches, excluding agriculture, starting with services and finishing with building, machine building companies (heavy equipment, steel, petroleum and farming machinery and equipment, locomotives, wagons, airplanes and helicopters, buses), electrotechnics, electronics, fine mechanics, optics, chemical, building materials and timber processing industries and enterprises. Bucharest is an important railway, road and air junction.
The public transport system in Bucharest is made up of four subway lines, 106 bus lines, 18 trolleybus lines and 23 tram lines. In addition, it has a system of licensed minibuses and 10,000 taxis. Since 2012, RATB has also introduced a number of 25 night lines, which function between 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. and link the Old Town to the suburbs of the city.
Air transport is served by two airports: Henri Coandă International Airport (Otopeni) and Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (Băneasa).
Bucharest is the main railway junction of the national company the Romanian Railways. The most important railway station is Gara de Nord from where trains depart and where they arrive daily from over 280 different Romanian localities, as well as European cities.
Bucharest is the main intersection of Romania’s national road network, being the starting point for three highways (A1 to Piteşti and A2 to Constanţa, A3 to Ploieşti) and nine national roads (DN1 to Oradea, DN1A to Braşov, DN2 to Suceava, DN3 to Călăraşi, DN4 to Olteniţa, DN5 to Giurgiu, DN6 to Timişoara and Cenad, DN7 to Nădlac, and DN71 to Sinaia).
The most important landmark of the city is the Palace of the Parliament, built in the 80s, the largest building in Europe and the second largest in the whole world. Other points of reference of Bucharest are the Triumphal Arch, built in 1935 after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Romanian Athenaeum, a symbol of Romanian culture, and the new National Library building, inaugurated in 2012.
Bucharest is also the most important academic centre of Romania, with its 19 state and 16 private universities.
The Old Town of the capital, which stretches between Splaiul Independenţei, Blvd I. C. Brătianu, Blvd Regina Elisabeta and Calea Victoriei was restored and turned into an attraction point for both tourists and residents of Bucharest. In the area one can find now numerous restaurants, pubs, terraces and nightclubs, this part of the city becoming after 2008 one of the most attractive areas of nightlife.
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