Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, at 44°25′57″N 26°06′14″E, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border. Bucharest was first mentioned in documents in 1459, it became the capital of Romania in 1862 and is the centre of Romanian media and art. Its architecture is a mix of historical, communist era and modern. In the period between the two World Wars, the city's elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of'Paris of the East' or'Little Paris'. Although buildings and districts in the historic city centre were damaged or destroyed by war and Nicolae Ceaușescu's program of systematization, many survived and have been renovated. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an cultural boom, it is one of the fastest-growing high-tech cities in Europe, according to Financial Times, CBRE, TechCrunch and others.

UiPath, a global startup founded in Bucharest, has reached $7 billion in valuation. Since 2019, Bucharest hosts the largest high tech summit in Southeast Europe. In 2016, the historical city centre was listed as'endangered' by the World Monuments Watch. In 2017, Bucharest was the European city with the highest growth of tourists who stay over night, according to the Mastercard Global Index of Urban Destinations; as for the past two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019, Bucharest ranked as the European destination with the highest potential for development according to the same study. According to the 2011 census, 1,883,425 inhabitants live within the city limits, a decrease from the 2002 census. Adding the satellite towns around the urban area, the proposed metropolitan area of Bucharest would have a population of 2.27 million people. Bucharest is the fifth largest city in the European Union by population within city limits, after Berlin, Madrid and Paris. Economically, Bucharest is the most prosperous city in Romania.

The city has a number of large convention facilities, educational institutes, cultural venues, traditional'shopping arcades' and recreational areas. The city proper is administratively known as the'Municipality of Bucharest', has the same administrative level as that of a national county, being further subdivided into six sectors, each governed by a local mayor; the Romanian name București has an unverified origin. Tradition connects the founding of Bucharest with the name of Bucur, a prince, an outlaw, a fisherman, a shepherd or a hunter, according to different legends. In Romanian, the word stem bucurie means'joy', it is believed to be of Dacian origin, hence the city Bucharest means'city of joy'. Other etymologies are given by early scholars, including the one of an Ottoman traveller, Evliya Çelebi, who said that Bucharest was named after a certain'Abu-Kariș', from the tribe of'Bani-Kureiș'. In 1781, Austrian historian Franz Sulzer claimed that it was related to bucurie, bucuros, or a se bucura, while an early 19th-century book published in Vienna assumed its name to be derived from'Bukovie', a beech forest.

In English, the city's name was rendered as Bukarest. A native or resident of Bucharest is called a'Bucharester'. Bucharest's history alternated periods of development and decline from the early settlements in antiquity until its consolidation as the national capital of Romania late in the 19th century. First mentioned as the'Citadel of București' in 1459, it became the residence of the famous Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler; the Ottomans appointed Greek administrators to run the town from the 18th century. A short-lived revolt initiated by Tudor Vladimirescu in 1821 led to the end of the rule of Constantinople Greeks in Bucharest; the Old Princely Court was erected by Mircea Ciobanul in the mid-16th century. Under subsequent rulers, Bucharest was established as the summer residence of the royal court. During the years to come, it competed with Târgoviște on the status of capital city after an increase in the importance of southern Muntenia brought about by the demands of the suzerain power – the Ottoman Empire.

Bucharest became the permanent location of the Wallachian court after 1698. Destroyed by natural disasters and rebuilt several times during the following 200 years, hit by Caragea's plague in 1813–14, the city was wrested from Ottoman control and occupied at several intervals by the Habsburg Monarchy and Imperial Russia, it was placed under Russian administration between 1828 and the Crimean War, with an interlude during the Bucharest-centred 1848 Wallachian revolution. An Austrian garrison took possession after the Russian departure. On 23 March 1847, a fire consumed about 2,000 buildings. In 1862, after Wallachia and Moldavia were united to form the Principality of Romania, Bucharest became the new nation's capital city. In 1881, it became the political centre of the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Romania under King Carol I. During the second half of the 19th century, the city's population increased and a new period of urban development began. During this period, gas lighting, horse-drawn trams, limited electrification were introduced.

The Dâmbovița River was massively

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