Craiova is a Romanian city, the capital of the county of Dolj, situated near the left bank of the river Jiu in central Oltenia (the political center of which it was for long), at approximately equal distances from the Southern Carpathians (north) and the Danube (south). Craiova is the chief commercial city west of Bucharest.
An ancient Dacian fortress, the Bans' fortress in the Middle Ages, capital of the historical province ofOltenia and of the Dolj county, Craiova is second only to Bucharest as the most important city in Southern Romania.
Down the centuries, Craiova has continuously developed into an important commercial, industrial, cultural and university centre, a dynamic metropolis which blends the past and the present into a harmonious unity.
An ancient city, with a torme
nted past, Craiova is proud of its history and traditions.
A modem city, Craiova is intensely living the present, confidently looking towards the future.
A European city, open to the world, Craiova has established very close connections with Nanterre - France, Kupio - Finland, Valencia - Spain, Skopje - Macedonia, Vratza - Bulgaria and Shiyan - China.
A hospitable city, Craiova is waiting for you and inviting you to discover its remarkable architecture, captivating history, dream-like gardens, impetuous life and, not least, to taste the delicious Oltenian cuisine and to enjoy its famous wines.
People have been recorded as living here since ancient times. Archaeological diggings have revealed rich tokens of important civilisations that populated this place in different ages: the Neolithic, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age. Vestiges of this past can be seen today at the Oltenia Museum.
Later, the Dacian built a strong fortress, Pelendava, mentioned in 225 AD on the ancient map of Tabula Peutingeriana. The Cosuna-Old Bucovat Monastery, the oldest building still preserved in the area, was erected in 1483 with stone and brick from the Roman castrum at Bucovat.
Called Ponsiona (the Latin word for the bridge across the Jiu) on a 1396 map, on the I" of June 1475 Craiova first appeared under its present name in a document belonging to Laiota Basarab. It was recorded as being village owned by Neagoe, father to the influential family of noblemen, the Craioveans. '
From 1582, Craiova has been mentioned as a city in all documents. This rapid development is the result not only of a favorable geographical position, but also of the fact that it became the Great Ban's Office of Residence in Oltenia. This was an important political and military mediaeval institution which helped the city to prosper and become the second political centre of Walla chi a; for a short period of time , in 1770, Craiova became the capital of the country. Under Michael the Brave's rule who was one of the Craiovean bans and the future ruler (1595-1601) Craiova was regarded as an important city, "full of all types of riches" .
The city history is full of many distressing events. Constantly threatened by the Turks, the city was plundered, set on fire and even burnt to the ground in 180 I by the armies ofPazvant Oglu, the pasha of Vi din. In 1718 Craiova and all ofOltenia had fallen under the Austrian rule until 1739 when it was recaptured by the Turks.
City Hall of Craiova :
A remarkable building is the former Retail Bank, nowadays the City Hall of Craiova. It was designed by Ion Mincu and his student, C. Iotzu, in Neogothic style with elements of Romanian architecture and it was built between 1906-1916. The richness and beauty of its interior decorations is impressive:stained-glass windows, wrought iron, mosaics, chandeliers, panels.
The Prefecture of Dolj County :
The Prefecture of Dolj County, former Administrative Palace, was built between 1910-1913, by the Romanian Architect Petre Antonescu. It is an architectural work of art that reinterprets elements and shapes of old Romanian architecture. The inside is magnificently adorned with sumptuous ornaments.
The National Theatre of Craiova :
The National Theatre of Craiova was founded in 1850 by Costache Caragiale and Costache Mihaileanu. The nowadays structure was built after AL. Iotzu's plans and was inaugurated in 1973. It is among the world's most important harbinger of Romanian art abroad.
The University of Craiova :
One of the most important superior educational building in Oltenia region,Former Palace of Justice, the building is a master piece of neo- classical architecture. Ion Socolescu designed its plans in 1890.
Casa Baniei (The House of the Bans) :
Monument of Medieval architecture, the House of the Bans is the oldest public building, once the residence of the great Bans of Craiova. It was rebuilt in 1699 by Constantin Brancoveanu, on the grounds where the old mansions of the Craiovescu boyards used to be in the XVIth century. Not far from it are the ruins of the great Hurezu Inn(built in late XVIIth century) and the Purcarului Fountain.
Jean Mihail Palace "Theodor Aman" Art Museum :
The Theodor Aman Art Museum is housed in the Jean Mihail Palace, built between 1899-1907, according to the plans designed by the French architect Paul Gauttereau. The French academic style is combined with elements of Renaissance and late Baroque.
In 1750 the palace lodged the first Romanian school in Craiova. It is a squared planed building with two floors.
The palace is lavishly furnished with Venetian mirrors and Murano crystal chandeliers; the walls are covered with Lyon silk and the stairs are made of Carrara marble. Established in 1954, the art museum includes Romanian and universal art galleries (paintings and sculptures) from the 16th-20th centuries and a famous Brióncusi Cabinet with the masterpiece The Kiss (1907).
The Romanescu Park :
The Romanescu Park was arranged at the initiative of Mayor Nicolae Romanescu after the plans of the French architect E. Redont In 1900 on the Universal Exposition - Paris who as won the golden medal.Romantic design work, the park is one of the largest and most beautiful parks from Romania (approx. 94 hectares) and also, it is considered to be the second great European park. The bridge built in this park was the first cable suspension bridge constructed in Europe.
The Oltenia Museum :
The monumental building from Popa Sapca St.,No 4 houses the Oltenia Museum. It was designed by the well known architect C. Iotu and built by Dalla Barba and Peressutti construction companies.
St. Dumitru Church :
St. Dumitru Church is one of the oldest buildings of the city. It was rebuilt in 1690 by Petre Obedeanu and again in 1724 by Constantin Odobeanu. The earthquake from 1838 damaged a lot the building and brought its closing in 1849. In 1889 it was demolished and, after Lecompte de Nouy French architect's plans, the nowadays building revived. The oldest monument in the Romanian Country, has the form of a Greek cross and it kept the elder architectural elements. In ancient times, the church was also called "Baneasa" or "Domneasca",probably pointing to its princely origin, or maybe referring to the important place it had during that period.