Brăila

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For the village in Chișinău municipality, Moldova, see Băcioi.
Brăila
Brăila Old Town, night view
Brăila Old Town, night view
Coat of arms of Brăila
Coat of arms
Location of Brăila
Location of Brăila
Coordinates: 45°16′09.1″N 27°57′26.9″E / 45.269194°N 27.957472°E / 45.269194; 27.957472Coordinates: 45°16′09.1″N 27°57′26.9″E / 45.269194°N 27.957472°E / 45.269194; 27.957472
Country  Romania
County Brăila County
Status County capital
Government
 • Mayor Aurel Gabriel Simionescu (Social Democratic Party)
Area
 • Total 77.9 km2 (30.1 sq mi)
Elevation 25 m (82 ft)
Population (2011 census)[1]
 • Total 180,302
 • Density 5,071/km2 (13,130/sq mi)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 810xxx
Area code(s) (+40) 239
Vehicle registration BR
Website http://www.primariabraila.ro/

Brăila (Romanian pronunciation: [brəˈila] ( ); Greek: Μπράιλα; Turkish: İbrail) is a city in Muntenia, eastern Romania, a port on the Danube and the capital of Brăila County. It is located in the close vicinity of Galați. The Sud-Est Regional Development Agency is located in Brăila.

According to the 2011 Romanian census there were 180,302 people living within the city of Brăila,[1] making it the 11th most populous city in Romania.

History[edit]

Brăila in an early 1900s postcard.
An overview of Brăila in late 19th century or early 20th century.

A settlement at this location on the left bank of the Danube, in Wallachia, was mentioned with the name Drinago in a Spanish Libro de conoscimiento ("Book of knowledge", circa 1350) and in several Catalan portolan charts (Angelino de Dalorto, 1325/1330 and Angelino Dulcert, 1339). This may have been an erroneous transcription of Brillago. In Greek documents of roughly that time, the city is referred to as Proilabum or Proilava, a Greek language adaptation of its Slavic name, Brailov. In German language sources, it is mentioned as Uebereyl. The origin and meaning of the name is unknown.

Brăila was attacked, plundered, and set fire to by the forces of Moldavian Prince Stephen the Great on February 2, 1470, during the retaliation campaign against Wallachian Prince Radu the Fair, who had allied himself with the Ottomans.

As a kaza, the town and its surrounding area was mostly ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1538–1540 until 1829; the Ottomans called it Ibrail or Ibraila. It was briefly ruled by Michael the Brave, prince of Wallachia (1595–1596). In 1711, the city was besieged and conquered by a Wallachian-Russian army during the Pruth River Campaign. In 1829, it was granted to Wallachia by the Akkerman Convention.

During the 19th century, the port became one of the three most important ports on the Danube in Wallachia, the other two being Turnu and Giurgiu. The city's greatest period of prosperity was at the end of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, when it was an important port for most of the merchandise coming in and going out of Romania.

After the 1989 Revolution, Brăila entered a period of economic decline.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population of Brăila
Year Population  %±
1900 58,392[2]
1912 census 65,053[3] 11.4%
1930 census 68,347 5%
1948 census 95,514 39.7%
1956 census 102,500 7.3%
1966 census 138,802 35.4%
1977 census 194,633 40.2%
1992 census 234,110 20.2%
2002 census 216,292 −7.6%
2011 census 180,302 −16.6%

At the 2011 census Brăila had an estimated population of 180,302, a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census.[1] The ethnic makeup was as follows:

Metropolitan area[edit]

Economy[edit]

Accessible to small and medium-sized oceangoing ships, Brăila has large grain-handling and warehousing facilities. It is also an important industrial center, with metalworking, textile, food-processing, and other factories.

Cityscape[edit]

Brăila has the following areas: Centru (Center), Viziru (1, 2, 3), Călărași 4, Ansamblul Buzăului, Radu Negru, Obor, Hipodrom, Lacu Dulce, Dorobanți, 1 Mai, Comorofca, Calea Galați, Gării, Apollo, Siret, Pisc, Brăilița, Vidin-Progresul, Islaz and Chercea.

Landmarks[edit]

Hotel Danubiu in Traian Square

Streets radiating from near the port towards Brăila's center are crossed at symmetrical intervals by concentric streets following the geometric design of the old Ottoman fortifications.

The old center of the city has many 19th century buildings, some of them fully restored. The most important monuments are the Greek Church, erected at 1865 by the Greek community, the Sfinții Arhangheli Church, former jāmi during the Ottoman rule (until 1831), the 19th century Sfântul Nicolae Church, also from the 19th century, the Maria Filotti theatre, the Palace of Culture and its Art Museum, the History Museum, and the old Water Tower. The latter houses a restaurant and a rotation system (360° in one hour).

Another important site is the Public Garden, a park situated above the bank of the Danube with a view over the river and the Măcin Mountains. Early in 2006 the municipality received European Union funds to renovate the old center of the city, aiming to transform Brăila into a major tourist attraction of Muntenia.

The Church of the Holy Archangels is the oldest in the city. Begun in 1667, the former mosque was transformed into an Orthodox Church in 1808.

Transport[edit]

Brăila features one of the oldest electrical tram lines in Romania, inaugurated at the end of the 19th century and still in use. Brăila's bus system is operated by the town hall in cooperation with Braicar Company, with four primary bus configurations available servicing most of the city.

Local media[edit]

The city has several local newspapers, including Obiectiv-Vocea Brăilei, Monitorul de Brăila, Ziarul de Brăila and Arcașu'. It also has three television stations: Mega TV, and the local stations of Antena 1 and Pro TV.

Natives[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns - sister cities[edit]

Brăila is twinned with:

Image gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]