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Bucharest.

 Bucharest. Why a city-break?

Back in time

As I previously said, the legend behind Bucharest is a shepherd, named Bucur, here comes the name Bucharest (Bucuresti, locally) . Actually, shepherds are legendary figures in Romanian folklore and local legends. Romanian most representative folkloric  poem is “Little sheep” (“Miorita ” in Romanian), the story of three shepherds and the attitude of Romanian shepherd in front of death.

The  date of establishment is uncertain. Certain it is that in 1474 there was already built a Princedom curt as secondary residence of Prince of Wallachia. I am mentioning 1474 as that was the last year of Vlad the Impaler, the one people know as Dracula, leadership, his third lordship.

Context: During medieval times, once with the development of Ottoman Empire, Romanian states, as well as neighboring country, Bulgaria, were under constant attacks of Ottoman ( Turks) army.  This countries were a defending  gate for Christianity and, considering around  75% of Romanian Christian population in Romania and that the rest of Europe Christianity still exists, they did a good job! Bucharest was in army’s way to Occident at that time.  Bucharest it is said to have been surrounded by forest (Vlasia Forest) and mashes, a  type of natural protection. Most favorite way of Romanian defense was to poison fountains and to attract enemies into the marshes or unfriendly terrain or weather.

Besides outside enemies, constant fights between boyar “houses” was a reason for short leadership for Princes/ leaders of Romanian Princedoms. Vlad the Impaler himself, the most known Romanian leader worldwide, was involved in such a local fight. The battle between Draculesti and Danesti(adverse house) crashed Wallachia within during those times. It is much to be said here, even the story behind the name Dracula, but it will come into another post.

Considering all these battles, within and, mostly, outside, Wallachia did not have the environment to be on the same line as western countries. As they used to pay tribute to Ottoman Empire and they were repeatedly under suzerainty of Ottoman Empire for a long time, the influences during that period were obviously coming from Orient.

Starting with Phanariote rulers in first two decades of 1700s, Bucharest became capital of Wallachia, many boyars moved to Bucharest, building their residence in the city.  In  1862, once with the small union ( Moldavia+ Wallachia) under Alexandru Ioan Cuza leader, Bucharest to become the capital of Romania. This is the time of major changes in Bucharest look.

In 1866, Romania became reign and this was the period of major changing. The German thinking of Romanian kings descendants  of Hohenzollern family with the help of many French architects involved in creation of numerous  now historical buildings in Bucharest, changed Bucharest into little  Paris of East.

In December 1947 King Michael of Hohenzollern abdicated and Romania, Bucharest inclusively,  was highly influenced by communist rulers and their way of thinking. Industrialization was the main word.  After the earthquake in 1976, Nicolae Ceausescu planned a new global look for Bucharest.  Most of the district or suburbs  houses were demolished and replaced with tall blocks of flats in order to gather in the same city a larger population. During this period was also the time when it was taken the decision to build House of Parliament ( or the People House as it was named during communism), a building meant to impress Phenian.

After the Revolution of December 1989, modern, glass buildings showed into Bucharest landscape, sometimes in an uncontrolled way.

to be continued…

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Our stories

Bucharest.

Bucharest, the little Paris of the East. Why a city-break?

Legend and general stuff

First I will explain the sub-title” yes, between the Two World Wars, Bucharest was considered the little Bucharest of the east. If you ever have the privilege to up on the Arch of the Triumph in Bucharest, the landscape convinces you that Bucharest is little Paris, established on the gates to the Balkan world.

The legend says that the shepherd Bucur during his yearly  transhumance from Charpatians to south, down to Danube river, he got tired and decided to find a place in the field to rest with his sheep. In Vlasia Forest he found this river, Dambovita river. He settled there with his daughter and some shepherds that were helping him with the herd. His descendants and her daughter descendants were the settlers of Bucharest. On a small hill in center of Bucharest, next to Dambovita river, there a church named Bucur. It is said that  the church was established by Bucur and his family.

Palace of Parliament Bucharest. the second greatest administrative building in the world.
Palace of Parliament Bucharest. the second greatest administrative building in the world.

As this is a legend, it is difficult to date back in time. It is certain thought that during Vlad the Impaler, so wrongly imagined as Dacula,  has his second residence in Bucharest. Considering that the latest of three princedoms  and year of his death was 1474, the tow must have existed there long before that date.  The ruins of Old Court can be still seen  in the Old city, during night the lighted statue of Vlad the Impaler is dominating the place.

As a fact, in Romanian “(ma) bucur” mean “I feel joy”. In a sense you can interpret  Bucharest (Bucuresti in Romanian) as city of joy or just simply enjoy it.

I am not going to say the entire Romanian history, but I will name key periods that influenced Bucharest as a town/ city and its inhabitants.

In the early medieval time, from 11 to 14th century, after the Roman pullback, on the Romanian territory there were formed 3 states: Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia.

Situated in southern side of actual Romania, Bucharest is present capital of Romania and  part of former Wallachia.  There were several capitals/residences of  Wallachia. The main capital of Wallachia were Curtea de Arges, followed Campulung for a short while,  Targoviste was for a longer period of time capital  of Wallachia (1396-1714), Bucharest became the capital of Wallachia, once the phanariotes rulers came to lead Romanian Princedom.

Back to Bucharest now: it is inhabited by almost 2 million citizens, it is the most populated city in Romania and it is the city with the biggest contributor to Romanian GDP. It has a surface of  228 sqkm and it has colorful architecture: mall, communist buildings and historical once, all in the same city.

I am not going to go through the entire history of Bucharest, but I will enhance periods important in Bucharest development into what Romanian capital is today.

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