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(kra' jova) the sixth largest city in Romania
Craiova is situated near the east bank of the river Jiu in central Oltenia. Eight villages are administered by the city: Facai, Mofleni, Popoveni, Simnicu de Jos, Cernele, Cernelele de Sus, Izvoru Rece, and Rovine. The last four were a separate commune called Cernele until 1996, when they were merged into the city. The city covers an area of approximately 31 square miles and has a population of about 295,000.
The site on which Craiova is located has been occupied since 225. It was founded on the site of the Dacian stronghold of Pelendava (which later became the Roman Castra Nova). The city's importance in the history of Romania began with Wallachian Prince Mihai Viteazu, who served as the ban (military governor) of Craiova and achieved the first unification of the three Romanian principalities in 1600.
Manufacturing comprises the largest sector of Craiova's economy, with machines and tools, aircraft and automobiles, and chemicals being the prinicpal products. Telecommunication services, banking, and insurance are also important.
Points of Interest
The city hosts a great number of religious buildings, many of them dating back to medieval times. The most notable of them are the 15th-century Church of Cosuna Monastery, which is the oldest building preserved in Craiova, and Madona Dudu Church, which is renowned for its mural paintings by Romanian painter Gheorghe Tattarescu.
Bania House, the oldest non-religious building in Craiova, is home to the Oltenia Museum, where the history of the region, starting with the prehistoric times, is on display. Great care has been taken in presenting, in full detail, the traditional trades and occupations of peasants in Oltenia.
The Art Museum of Craiova is located in the of the former magnate Jean Mihail. Built between 1899-1907, according to the plans of the French architect Paul Gottereau, the palace represents, stylistically, a rather free interpretation of the late baroque. The museum exhibits masterpieces created by Romanian painters, including Craiova-born Theodor Aman and Nicolae Grigorescu. One of its main attractions is a section dedicated to Constantin Brancusi, comprising six of his early sculptures.
Unique in Romania, Nicolae Romanescu Park is an architectural monument that is also one of the most interesting accomplishments of its kind in Europe. Displayed at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, in 1900, the park`s plans received the Golden Medal. The work began in 1901, under the supervision of French architect Emile Rendont, assisted by artists Jules Redont and Emil Pinard. Over the next two years, 50,000 seedlings of ornamental trees and shrubs were planted; a river, lake, small waterfalls, and two islands were "built"; and several structures -- including "The Suspended Bridge," "The Enchanted Castle," and "The Circular Hall" -- were constructed. The park`s inauguration took place in May 1903.
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This page was last updated on September 26, 2017.