Oltenia Tour

About Craiova

Craiova is the capital of Dolj County, known as "the capital of Oltenia" with a population of over 300,000 inhabitants.Craiova is located in southern Romania, on the left bank of the Jiu, at an altitude between 75 and 116 m. Craiova is part of the Romanian Plain, specifically the Oltenia Plain that lies between the Danube River and the Getic  plateau, being crossed by Jiu Valley. The city is located approximately in the center of Oltenia, at a distance of 227 km from Bucharest and 68 km from the Danube.The origin of the current name of the city is the subject of many controversies and it is surrounded by legend; the only thing that can be said with certainty is that the name comes from slavonescul "Kralj" (king, emperor). Craiova was documentally cetified at the end of the fifteenth century, namely in 1475, on June the1st. City name comes from the estate of Craiovescu Noblemen, who played a very important role due to many rulers  of Romanian County named from their family, and even themselves named Mihai Viteazu as the ruler of Romanian County, the symbol of Oltenia,whose imposing statue we can admire the in the center of the city.  
Besides the ancient name, Pelendava and current name (Craiova), the town was named beginning with the VII-VIII centuries by the Latin name Ponsiona (bridge over Jiu) . The name located on an inscription found on a VII th century fragment of a stele near Pelendava camp  , received confirmation of extreme importance in recent years, a map made ​​up around the Battle of Nicopolis (1396), contained in a manuscript kept at the National Library in Paris. This document , revealed to  Romanian historiography by courtesy of French Ministry of Religious Affairs proves the  continuity of  settlement of Craiova.Some historians, including Nicolae Iorga, Bogdan Alexandru D. Petriceicu Haşdeu Xenopol believe  that today's territory of Craiova was the scene of the Battle of Rovine in the time of Mircea the Elder.At the end of the fifteenth century, Craiova was a fair spread in the land of the powerful landowners Craiovesti and Basarabi. After the first half of the sixteenth century, Craiova is commonly called city, becoming  the most important place of trade in the area.    
Formed in the last decades of the fifteenth century, Craiova has become in a relatively short time the country's second most important political institution after reign.During Mihai Viteazu ( Michael the Brave), Craiova witnessed a great boost,  contemporary sources showing the city as an important political and military center. In the Middle Ages, Craiova was also  a center with an important military and strategic role, being a grouping or regrouping of military forces and anti- Ottoman center trigger actions.In 1770-1771, Craiova becomes capital of Romanian County. Bucharest was played between Russian and Turkish armies; and the Romanian capital is moved to Craiova, Mr. Emanuel Giani-Ruset watching from here the wars.In 1913 during the Titu government there was signed a peace treaty ending the Balkan War, treaty known in history as the "Peace of Craiova".In 1940 Craiova becomes the place for "Romanian-Bulgarian conference" after the Romanian-Bulgarian talkings  in Craiova, a treaty was signed on  September the7th, 1940, by which the Southern Dobrogea (the Quadrilater) went to Bulgaria.Since the 60s the city becomes a powerful industrial center; develops building industry machinery, aircraft, chemicals, food, light, building materials, electrical industry, mining, energy industry. Among them we can mention Electroputere, aircraft factory, the automobile or plant from Işalniţa.Craiova today is a creation of modern urban place where people inherit a land blessed by God, waters, forests, gardens, parks, with numerous historical and architectural monuments and remarkable cultural institutions, science and education, a framework for local comforting, hospitable and friendly of any traveler, tourist or foreign businessman.In Craiova there are several parks, such as Nicholas Park Romanescu, Youth Park Garden Botanică- Park Marin Sorescu National Theatre, Park St. Demetrius, English Park, etc. Romanescu Nicholas Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the country and third natural park in Europe was arranged between 1900-1903, during Mayor Romanescu , by  French architect E. Redont. It occupies an area of ​​approximately 100 hectares and is located in the south of Craiova, the whereabouts of the family estate and garden Bibescu famous in the fifth decade of the nineteenth century as a place of promenade of highlife Craiova. Youth Park is housed in an oak forest of 60 hectares and comprises a base sport seats promenades and playgrounds for children.Also our city has a rich history dowry in the form of statues of the impressive personalities who have left their mark on Craiova facts and the whole country: the statue of Prince Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave), AI Cuza, King Charles I, Prince Barbu Ştirbei; in the form of architectural monuments such as Administrative Palace, Craiova City Hall, County Library, National Theatre, University, County Court Palace Vorvoreanu or as museums: Museum of Art and the Museum of Oltenia and churches: Madonna Dudu Church, the Saint Dumitru, and so on.Another attraction of our city is the musical fountain in the center of Craiova, the largest fountain in the country and one of the few of its kind in Europe. Hundreds of water jets, lights in dozens of colors and fragments of classical music have completely changed the atmosphere in the center of Craiova.Also in our city there are numerous cultural institutions, such as Marin Sorescu National Theatre, Opera Romanian Craiova, Oltenia Philharmonic Theatre for Children and Youth Colibri, Maria Tanase Folk Art Museum, the Museum of Oltenia, etc.

Arhitecture in Craiova

In the inter-war period, the cubist style prevailed on the buildings in Craiova, but signs of modernity were also visible.The architect Constantin Iotzu was the one who added two edifices to the Romanian style – The White House and “Ramuri” Palace.The edifices of important economic and cultural institutions were built during the same  period: The Institute of Graphic Art “Romanian Writing”, “Elena Cuza” National College, “Buzeşti Brothers” National College, “Gheorghe Chiţu” Commercial High School, The Discount Bank (Palace Hotel) – today one of the headquarters of the Town Hall, Madona Dudu Church.The structuring and restructuring of entire areas of the town were conditioned by many factors: a higher level of industrialization, a greater economic potential, the population growth and higher aesthetic demands, on one hand, and the ideas and theories of urbanism on the other hand. All these have created unprecedented dynamics in the construction sector, a territorial expansion and a continuous improvement of urban qualities.Various phases in the town’s architectural evolutions after 1949, the year when the first public institution for the design of the works was formed, are very easily individualised, by the look of apartment buildings and of the situation plans.In the central area (the buildings “Romarta” and “Lumea Copiilor”) and in the vecinity of Spania and Sf. Apostoli Streets, a few urban ensembles were created in the 1960s, organized in quarters, characterized by compositional simplicity, in rectangular plans, around a garden.After 1966, old neighbourhoods were rebuilt alongside the East – West highway and in all areas from the periphery, in the spirit of “open urbanism”, with industrialized (standardized) technologies: Calea Bucureşti, Calea Severinului, Valea Roşie.Some unique buildings, both in appearance as well as in utility, were raised in the 1970s and 1980s: The National Theatre, Nr. 1 Emergency Hospital, Jiul Hotel, The Army House, The Youth Science and Technics House, The Faculty of Electrotechnics, Mercur Store etc. In the spirit of the time, many buildings were raised after 1989 under external influences, without a distinct style.

Parks and Gardens

Romanescu Park is one of the most  outstanding objectives of Craiova, forming a complex lying over more than 96 has, inaugurated on february 1903 and considerated one of the most representative landscape art  monument of Romania.  Recreational space for city nobility belonging to Iancu Bibescu great chancellor and later purchased from him, the Magistrate Craioveia,Romanesu Park  became place for  exhibitions of  important events ,  such as the War of Independence where there  was made and placed a monument dedicated to this very important moment for the Romanian people.Its subsequent degradation as well as the  recovery policy and general modernization of Craiova started by one of the most representative town mayors, NP Romanescu led to the launch and implementation of a slogan with great impact in European cities' parks for people ". Participation in Paris at the Universal Exposition of 1900 was a good opportunity to reveal the  modernization plans of Craiova prepared by E. Redont. Many of that plans were aiming the transformation of Garden Bibescu in a large public park, gaining  gold medals at the Exposotion. Work started in 1899 and accelerated further after 1901 led to the realization of the main elements that will require a whole and component access roads for riding side alleys, roads, pedestrian paths and trails, massive forest plantations, lawns, water tower, nursery, emissions, suspension bridge over Maiden Valley, it serves as the axis of a side whose gravity entire assembly.This stream was regularized, additional water supplied, to keep refilling both lakes and waterfalls. Areas with trees created a scientist combination of great landscape effect due to combinations of species and their location,thanks to the implementation of Redont’s ideas (containing massive forest plantations and ornamental species inserted with effect isolated). The inauguration was done in the presence of King Carol I, Prince Ferdinand and Charles II. In 1930 the park was named "Park N.P. Romanescu ". Later components were added, which completed the appropriate large ensemble known today: the entrance portal, fencing , pier extention, upgrading lighting. Park components were preserved in time according to their original design of landscaping architect Redont. Within the ensemble the elements distinguish by rending it  unique personality: watercourses over 1970 m long with two lakes and waterfalls with amplitudes of 3.50 m and 4.20 m, roads and alleys almost 27 km long entrance monument, monumental Romanescu Bibescu House, News Iron medieval castle, lake and pier, impressive suspension bridge, waterfalls, Grand lake, Zoo, Racecourse, Velodrome and numerous statues and statuary some belonging to illustrious artists (Brancusi or mourning). The whole forest complements and connects all these componentsPark St. Dumitru (Banie Garden) is an example of integration of targets belonging to the site's historic Craiova (Banie House, the Metropolitan Cathedral St. Dumitru) in an ensemble with landscaped green space as a public gardens 23 800 sq. Within this space stands roses and statuary group of brothers Buzeşti.Union Garden (English Park), highlights how to harmonize, on a limited area, a series quadrangle emblematic buildings of Craiova (Hall, Prefect etc.) with a successful combination with rigorous lines including ornamentals, shrubs and trees embracing the statue of Prince Al. I. Cuza and fountain.Botanical Garden, located in northwest central part of Craiova and designed by French landscape architect E. Redont initially as a public park, was redirected to function as botanical garden after 1952, gaining time and destination for scholars and botanical research, in addition to the entertainment. Fourth place in the country after Cluj Napoca, Bucharest, Iasi, Craiova Botanical Garden, held on 16 ha, comprising all sectors and departments that respond to this double goal: regional phytogeographical section, the plants and floristic provinces of Romania, the greenhouses , the Rosary, the nursery, ornamental sector, Museum, Herbariul "Al. I. Buia ".A separate category is formed by large parks located in the peripheral extension of the city. Of these, Jiu Meadow forest landscape is characterized by the complete potential for sightseeing and recreation, roads, alleys, sports, camping, sculptural artwork. Parks and Corniţoiu Craioviţa responded to a double needs ie unsanitary drainage of swampy areas, and creating green spaces absolutely necessary for living quarters type blocks without this essential component. In the case of park of Doctor’s Inn  a counterweight was made, in the eastern part the existing green areas  in the west and southwest of the city, especially here is remarked  the hydrografic  regulation and small cascade lakes become swimming pools.

Historical monuments in Craiova

ST. DEMETRIUS’ CHURCH, also known as the lord’s church, the church of Baneasa and the Metropolitan Cathedral is the oldest and most important place of worship in Craiova. Located in the central area of the city, right next to the House of Banie, the church has been successively rebuilt over the centuries on foundations dating to the 11th and 12th centuries. It was built by Barbu Craiovescu, restored by Matei Basarab, repaired and remodeled by Constantin Brâncoveanu and local boyars (Obedeanu, Argetoianu) and rebuilt from the foundations under King Carol I. St. Demetrius’ Church is one of the most important spiritual centers and tourist attractions in Craiova.ST. NICHOLAS’ CHURCH/ BRÂNDUȘA CHURCH  (№ 12 Brânduşa Street,) is a historical and religious monument of the XVIII century endowed with an intimate, deep atmosphere. The name by which it is known, Brânduşa, comes from the name of one of the oldest slums in Craiova. A reliquary is located near the altar. It holds relics of the Holy Martyrs of Hozeva (March 20) and the icon of St. Philoteia, which, according to a 1900 document, is declared to be wonder-working. It does not have towers and it is the only church in Craiova built in this style.THE ENSEMBLE OF THE HOLY TRINITY CHURCH  (№ 9, Ioan Maiorescu Street), situated in the central area of Craiova, is an architectural complex of the 18th century with a spectacular past. After the earthquake of 1838, the church was repaired by Catinca Bibescu and her son, the great logos Barbu Ştirbei - the future ruler of Wallachia. With its inauguration, the château chapel of the Ştirbei family became a lord’s church. In 1906, the church was rebuilt on the old foundations, at the expense and under the sons of Barbu Ştirbei Voda, the princes Alexander and Dimitrie Ştirbei, according to plans made by French architect André Lecomte du Noüy.THE “MADONA DUDU” EPISCOPAL CATHEDRAL - known as the Mother of God Cathedral, is one of the largest Orthodox churches in Craiova. The church was built in Brancovenian style between 1750 and 1756 at the initiative of Gheorghe Ion and Constantin Fotescu. The church was named after the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God which, legends say, was found in a mulberry tree on the land where the altar was later built.The CHURCH OF St. Elijah (№ 2 Constantin Nicolăescu Plopșor Street) is one of the most important places of worship in the central area of Craiova and a metropolitan church. Situated in the immediate vicinity of Lipscani Street, the present church was built on the site of an older church, erected in the 18th century by the Otetelişanu boyars. The belfry of St. Elijah, now missing, is said to have been built on 7 floors and is taller than the famous tower of Colțea in Bucharest.THE MÂNTULEASA CHURCH (№ 59, Calea Unirii Street) was built on the foundation of an old wooden house from the beginning or the middle of the 18th century. At the initiative of the treasurer Barbu Ştirbei and with the help of the tailors' guild, a new church was erected in 1792 on stone foundations. Due to the significant contribution of the tailors, the church was dedicated to Saint Pantelimon, the patron saint of their guild. The name of the church - Mântuleasa - is found in the oldest documents of Craiova and has been used since 1795. It is believed that the name "Mântuleasa" originates from the Savior's mother.ROMANIAN - CATHOLIC CHURCH “ST. ANTON”  – is first mentioned in a document dating from 1699. The original church was burnt and demolished when the Austrian control over the region ended. The catholic parish rebuilt the church in 1842.
THE LUTHERAN EVANGELICAL CHURCH  (№ 13 Calea Unirii Street) was built in the middle of the 19th century for Protestants in Wallachia. The vast majority of them were made up of Protestants of different ethnicities, especially English, Austrian, Prussians and Russians settled in Craiova. Currently, the church hosts both the evangelical-lutheran community and the reformed community