Bucharest (Romanian: București) is the capital, industrial, cultural, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, and lies on the banks of the Dâmboviţa River.
Bucharest was first mentioned in documents as early as 1459. Since then it has gone through a variety of changes, becoming the state capital of Romania in 1862 and steadily consolidating its position as the centre of the Romanian mass media, culture and arts. Its eclectic architecture is a mix of historical (neo-classical), interbellum (Bauhaus and Art Deco), 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 the „Little Paris of the East” (Micul Paris). Although many buildings and districts in the historic centre were damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes and Nicolae Ceaușescu‘s program of systematization, many survived. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic and cultural boom.
According to January 1, 2009 official estimates, Bucharest proper has a population of 1,944,367. The urban area extends beyond the limits of Bucharest proper and has a population of 2 million people. Adding the satellite towns around the urban area, the metropolitan area of Bucharest has a population of 2.15 million people. According to unofficial data, the population is more than 3 million. Bucharest is the 6th largest city in the European Union by population within city limits.
Economically, Bucharest is the most prosperous city in Romania and is one of the main industrial centres and transportation hubs of Eastern Europe. The city has a broad range of convention facilities, educational facilities, cultural venues, shopping arcades and recreational areas.
The city proper is administratively known as the Municipality of Bucharest (Municipiul București), and has the same administrative level as a county, being further subdivided into six sectors.