From top, left to right: Buzău Town Hall, City Courthouse, Bishopric complex, Albatros Villa (Marghiloman Park), Crâng Park.
|First official record||1431|
|• Mayor||Constantin Toma (PSD)|
|• Total||81.3 km2 (31.4 sq mi)|
|Elevation||95 m (312 ft)|
|• Density||1,333/km2 (3,450/sq mi)|
|Demonym(s)||buzoian, buzoiancă (ro)|
|Time zone||EET (UTC+2)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+3)|
|Area code(s)||(+40) x38|
The city of Buzău (formerly spelled Buzeu or Buzĕu; Romanian pronunciation: [buˈzəw] ( listen)) is the county seat of Buzău County, Romania, in the historical region of Muntenia. It lies near the right bank of the Buzău River, between the south-eastern curvature of the Carpathian Mountains and the lowlands of Bărăgan Plain.
Buzău is a railway hub in south-eastern Romania, where railways that link Bucharest to Moldavia and Transylvania to the Black Sea coast meet. DN2, a segment of European route E85 crosses the city. Buzău's proximity to trade routes helped it develop its role as a commerce hub in older days, and as an industrial centre during the 20th century.
During the Middle Ages, Buzău was a market town and Eastern Orthodox episcopal see in Wallachia. It faced a period of repeated destruction during the 17th and 18th centuries, nowadays symbolized on the city seal by the Phoenix bird. In the 19th century, after the end of that era, the city began to recover. The economy underwent industrialization, Buzău became a railway hub, and public education became available. At this time, the Communal Palace, the city's landmark building, and Crâng Park, the main recreational area, were built. The communist regime after World War II brought forced industrialization and the tripling of the city's population. Some of the factories open at the time are still functioning within the framework of market economy.
There are no universities based in Buzău, and only a few universities from other cities have remote learning facilities here. The main educational institutions here are B.P. Hasdeu high-school (where Nobel-laureate George Emil Palade studied) and Mihai Eminescu high-school. The Vasile Voiculescu County Library and Buzău County Museum are based in the city. The latter also manages an ethnography exhibit in the city, as well as the Vasile Voiculescu memorial house in Pârscov and the amber exhibit at Colți.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Transport
- 7 Politics
- 8 Education and culture
- 9 Buzău natives
- 10 Twin towns – sister cities
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
The city is named after the nearby river. In turn, the river is mentioned under the name Μουσεος (Mouseos) in a document written in Greek and dated 376 AD, recounting the martyrdom of Sabbas the Goth. Historian Vasile Pârvan thought that this name is a Greek misspelling of the Thracian word Bouzeos (by losing a π from the Μπ group, which is pronounced like a latin B). He suggested that the name comes from the Thracian root Buzes, with the addition of the -eu suffix, a form of the Greek-Latin suffix -aios.
The written history of the city begins with that of Wallachia. It was certified as a market town and customs point during the reign of Dan II. Archeological sites belonging to Gumelnița and Monteoru cultures prove the presence of human inhabitants before the Christian era. During the Middle Ages, there was also a fortress of Buzău, but only a few passing mentions in foreign documents are kept. The market that was already florishing in 1431, has also become an Orthodox episcopal see in early 16th century.
In the 17th century, an era of war and foreign invasions began, that affected the town and its surroundings. They began with Michael the Brave's participation in the Long Turkish War and ended with the Wallachian uprising of 1821. Natural disasters (epidemics, earthquakes) also took their toll, leading to distruction and depopulation of Buzău. However, the inhabitants always returned and rebuilt the city, which led early 18th century local authorities to use the Phoenix bird on the city seal, as a symbol of rebirth.
The 19th century brought a time of cultural and economical development. The Communal Palace, the city's main landmark, was built at the time, after the city developed its industry and became a railway hub in the 1870s. Schools were open, such as the Theological Seminary în 1836, and the B. P. Hasdeu high school in 1867, and theatre plays were produced (starting 1852): the "Moldavia" theatre house was built in 1898 and used throughout the first half of the 20th century as the main concert and theatre hall, where artists such as George Enescu, C. I. Nottara and Nae Leonard performed. For short periods of time, Ion Luca Caragiale and Constantin Brâncuși have lived and worked here.
During World War I, Buzău came under German occupation after mid-December 1916, and many inhabitants took refuge in the nearby villages or in Western Moldavia. The city resumed its development after the war. The interbellum brought about the first sport matches (association football and boxing) and the "Metalurgica" factory, a private business that was to be later confiscated by the communists, and continues to this day as part of a joined venture.
After World War II, the industrialization of Buzău was forcefully accelerated, and its population tripled in less than 50 years; new inhabitants were brought to work in newly-built factories mainly in the South of the city. Buzău has profoundly changed its appearance, working class quarters being built instead of the old commercial streets, some historical buildings, such as the Moldavia Theatre, were demolished. Their cultural role was taken over by the Labor Unions' Cultural Center and then by "Dacia" Cinema.
Eight historical monuments classified as having national importance exist in Buzău: the church of the Birth of Christ (1649, also known colloquially as the "Greeks' church" or the "Merchants' church") along with its belfry; the courthouse (20th century); the church of the Annunciation from the former Banu monastery (16th century); the church of the Dormition in Broșteni district, (1709, along with the belfry erected in 1914); the headquarters of the orthodox bishopric with the church of the Dormition (1649), the chapel (1841), the episcopal palace (secolul al XVII-lea), the old seminary (1838), the chancellery (19th century), gate belfry and the compound wall (18th century); the Vergu-Mănăilă mansion (18th century, which currently hosts the ethnography exhibit of the County Museum); Vasile Voiculescu County Library (1914); and the Communal Palace (city hall, 1899–1903).
One public forum monument and twelve memorial monuments are included in the list of historical monuments in Buzău County with local importance, including the urban area of Cuza Vodă street (19th century) in the old town, Crâng park, the Albatros Villa (that used to belong to Alexandru Marghiloman) and the park, the Jewish temple, the buildings of B.P. Hasdeu and Mihai Eminescu high-schools, a house where Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu lived for a few years, and some of the tombs in Dumbrava cemetery, such as one that was originally decorated with the statue "Prayer" by Constantin Brâncuși (nowadays replaced by a replica).
The city is located in the center of the county, 100 km north-east of Bucharest, in the South-East of Romania, taking up a total area of 81,3 km², at the outermost curvature of the Subcarpathian foothills, at the crossroads of the three main Romanian historical provinces: Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia. It is entirely placed on the right bank of Buzău river, which forms its northern limit. The shape of the city is oblong, longer along the river and shorter across. It reaches altitudes of 101 meters in the North-West, near the foothills, going down to 88 meters on the river bank, while the average altitude of 95 meters is the same as the altitude of Dacia square, in the city center. Thus, Buzău is placed in a flat area, with a height difference of just 10 meters along a 4 kilometer line.
Buzău river is the northern limit of the city. This river has created an underground basin that it permanently fuels with water. These underground waters are a main source of drinking water, and their excess overflows to a marshy wetland south of the city, in the neighboring communes Costești, Stâlpu and Țintești, with small bust steady springs, that ultimately form the Călmățui river.
Annual rainfall is circa 500 mm and in winter the snow cover can be as high as 30 cm. Buzău river has a fluctuating flow. Especially in spring, when it collects melted snow from the mountain area, its level rises. The city was, however, built away from its deep and wide valley, so the river never floods the city. Even at the major floods of 2005, the waters caused no problem in the city proper, but it seriously damaged both bridges across it located in the city, which is also protected by levees, and by the small Cândești dam, north-west of Buzău. The local authorities consider, however, that their strategy of defense against flood does not adequately cover the city's belt road, part of DN2, which follows the river for a short stretch.
The climate is humid continental, with an average 92 freezing days a year (16 with temperatures below -10 °C), but also with 92 days of hot summer. Local winds include the Crivăț, a cold north-easterly and sometimes easterly wind in winter, and the Austru, a south-westerly wind that brings dry air in summer and leads to warmer days in winter.
Average, minimum and maximum temperatures, recorded until 2006, are present in the table below. In recent years, the average temperature of July went significantly higher than 22 °C, which pushes Buzău from the Dfb/Dfa limit to inside the Dfa zone in the Köppen climate classification (see also Climate of Romania).
|Average temperatures (monthly, per year)*|
|Minimum and maximum temperatures per month during 1901-2000|
Flora and fauna
The flora of Buzău is more diverse in the western forest of Crâng, 189 ha of oak forest, a remainder of the ancient Codrii Vlăsiei. The Crâng park itself takes up 10 hectares of this forest and makes up the main green area of Buzău. It is not designated as a protected area itself, but a few species of plants are protected inside it, such as the fritillaria meleagris and iris brandzae. In the neighboring communes of Țintești and Costești there are other remainders of Codrii Vlăsiei— Frasinu and Spătaru forests, respectively. In the yard of the building at the intersection of Crizantemelor and Tudor Vladimirescu streets, across the street from the park in front of B. P. Hasdeu high school and the Banu church, there is a century-old oak, locally protected as a monument of nature. 6% of the Lunca Buzăului protected area, a Natura 2000 site managed by the Ecological University of Bucharest, lies within city limits, in the north and east.
Most of the streets in Buzău have trees planted alongside, chestnut on Nicolae Bălcescu boulevard and linden on Unirii boulevard. In their gardens, the locals grow roses, hyacinths, tulips, local peonies, and petunia, as well as grapevines and Virginia creepers for shade. The wild fauna in Buzău is made up of city-dwelling species. The house sparrow and the collared dove are ubiquitous, and the most present small mammals are the wild polecat and the brown rat. Lakes are populated with small fish, such as bitterlings and eel, as well snails and green lizards.
During the migration season, a parliament of short-eared owls has made a habit of spending a few days in some tall fir trees located in the yard of the Forestry Inspector's Office in the city center. Experimental crops from the city's Research and Development Station for Olericulture sometimes attract wild boars from the riverside forests.
According to the 2011 census, the city has 115,494 inhabitants, a decrease from the previous census, in 2002, when 134,227 had been recorded. Most inhabitants are Romanians (88.43%), with a Roma minority (4.73%). Ethnic affiliation is unknown for 6,69% of the population. Most inhabitants practice Orthodox Christianity (91.98%). Religious affiliation is unknown for 6.75% of the population.
The main ethnic minority in the city are the Roma. Throughout history, other communities have existed in Buzău, but nowadays they are nearly extinct. Those that left their mark the most on the city were the Jewish people and the Bulgarians.
Settled after the 16th century by the Orthodox bishopric on its estate located north-west of the market town of Buzău, in Simileasca and Iorguleasca villages, Roma people have lived as slaves, working the bishopric's land. After they were released in the 19th century and, with the union between Wallachia and Moldavia, the new country got a new territorial division, Simileasca became a commune. In 1968, this commune was dissolved and integrated with Buzău. The Roma community is still located mostly in this part of the city, and it preserves its identity, although its leaders believe that Roma people in other parts of the city, who no longer speak their people's language, accept assimilation by the majority Romanians, and declare themselves Romanian at the census. The community is faced with endemic poverty, high illiteracy, lack of professional qualifications and high school dropout rates, which all expose it to permanently being manipulated by politicians for elections. Many Roma people went abroad, especially in the countries of Northern Europe. The municipality also runs programs to improve theirs status, and School no. 14, located in Simileasca, is the main focus of these actions. Pupils of this school publish a bilingual school newspaper, in Romani and Romanian, which promotes Roma integration into society.
Although mentioned in documents as early as the 16th century, the Jews of Buzău especially became an important community starting with the cultural and economical development period of the 19th century. A large proportion of them were merchants and craftsmen. The Jewish cemetery appeared in 1853 and a temple dates from 1885. Between the two World Wars, 10% of the population of Buzău was Jewish, a large percentage compared to other cities in Wallachia, but significantly smaller than those in Moldavia, which saved the community from the brunt of the repression by Antonescu's government. Still, during World War II, the Jews had to endure some persecutions: obligated to do compulsory work (authorities abused of the law, and extended the age of the people who had to do this work, as well as the body of the work itself), and to pay 15 million lei (four times the tax) for "The Reunification Loan"; certain types of objects were confiscated from them and special restrictions were imposed. The community had to host orphans whose parents had died in the Holocaust, before they were deported to Transnistria. During these persecutions, the Jewish community was defended by captains Stroie and Ionescu, by the Scânteie și Stahu families, and by Anghel Anuțoiu from Vrancea, a man who informed members of the community of upcoming Nazi raids, salving many lives, including that of Rabbi Simon Bercovich, whom he aided to leave the city and go into hiding. After the war, most Jews of the city moved to Israel, and left behind a Jewish community of only a few tens of people. Some of the personalities of the Jewish community in Buzău were painter Margareta Sterian and philosopher Ludwig Grunberg.
In the 18th century, to avoid Ottoman represion against Christians in the Balkans, groups of Bulgarians settled in Wallachia where they enjoyed freedom to practice Christianity; some of these groups came to Buzău. The locals called them "Serbs" as a generic term for South-Slavs. The new immigrants soon focused on developing vegetable gardens as their houses were in the vicinity of the river, while local farmers were more focused on raising livestock and growing cereals. Although the Bulgarian community was in time assimilated by the Romanians, to this day locals use the word "Serb" as a synonym to "one who grows vegetables".
During the Middle Ages, Buzău's economy was centered on trade, as this market town was a customs point, taking advantage of its position at the Carpathians' curvature, at a point where roads that linked Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania met.
As a consequence of the agricultural reform that took place during the reign of Alexander John Cuza in 1897 and 1898, the Bulgarian gardeners rented some land that the state had taken over from the bishopric. They developed a distribution network for their products in Buzău, as well as in the nearby cities Brașov, Ploiești and Râmnicu Sărat. Their activity became more successful after some of them took over ownership of their land after a second land reform in 1921.
After the destruction period had ended, the economical development took on an industrial component. Towards the end of the 19th century, the development of the Romanian railway network, in which Buzău was an important hub, gave a strong momentum to the evolution from small workshops to full scale industrial plants. The first industrial facility was the Garoflid mill, open in 1883, which also functioned as a textile factory. In 1894, the Saturn society opened an oil refinery, which functioned for fifty years.
After a severe national-wide drop of the industrial production level, caused by World War I (the 1919 total production was merely a quarter of the 1913 production), industrial development accelerated again during the interbellum. The baking industry was an important part of the local economy. The first industrial mill in the city, Garoflid, renamed Zangopol after its new owned, managed to have a capital of 5 million lei in 1928, and 30 million lei in 1938, and the society that managed the mill had about 100 employees. Another important business that started at this time was the Metalurgica și Turnătorie – S.A. (Metallurgica and Metal Casting) factory, founded in 1928 with a capital of over 9 million lei. Although it had to overcom several difficulties at the beginning, being closed during the Great Crisis, it reopened in 1933.
After World War II, the establishment of the Communist government, and the nationalization decision of 11 June 1948 all companies in Buzău became state property. Also, the Communist government began implementing forced industrialization, some of the industries that developed in Buzău during the Communist rule being unsuitable for the location. In 1965 the industrial platform Buzău South was inaugurated, on 318 ha of land, in the area where the Saturn refinery previously had existed, before being blown up during World War II. The most important factories in Buzău, created or enhanced at this time, are located in the Buzău South industrial zone: The Steel Wire and Steel Wire-by Products (renamed Ductil after 1990), The Railway Equipment Factory (after 1990, Apcarom), Metalurgica (founded in 1928), The Glass Factory (after 1991, Gerom S.A.).
Other industrial state enterprises opened in Buzău in other parts of the city. Thus, The Contactors Factory is located in the north-western part of the city and the plastic factory (after 1990, Romcarbon S.A.) is located in the north side.
In spite of the forced industrialization process, Buzău was not based on solely one leading industry, as it happened in other Romanian cities, and there was no single factory on which the entire city economy depended. According to a new law of commercial societies, adopted 1990, after the fall of the Communist regime, the factories in the city reorganized as joint stock companies. Only some of the companies failed to become competitive on a market economy and were closed during the transition process, many others, after reorganizing, became functional businesses.
The largest Buzău-based company is the Romet holding, with Romanian capital, made up of several companies that produce isolation material for water and gas pipes, water purifiers, fire-extinguishers and other such products. The company became successful during the 1990s, by selling its Aquator water purifier. In 1999, this group acquired Aromet S.A., company which managed the Metalurgica factory, founded in 1928.
Other companies in Buzău were privatized by programs supervised by the World Bank. Apcarom S.A., the only Romanian producer of railway equipment, was taken over by the Austrian company VAE, and had, as of 2008[update] a social capital of 7.38 million lei. Ductil S.A., one of the largest businesses in Buzău, was privatized in 1999 and subsequently divided by the new majority shareholder, FRO Spa, which kept only the electrods and welding equipment section and sold the other departments. The section that produces steel wire and steel wire products, steel nets and concrete became Ductil Steel S.A. and is now part of the portfolio of the Italian company Sidersipe. The iron powder section was renamed Ductil Iron Powder. In 2007, FRO Spa sold their majority shares of Ductil S.A. to the Russian Mechel company, for 90 million euros. Zahărul S.A., the local sugar producer, was acquired by the Agrana România Austrian capital group, which owns other sugar factories in Roman and Ţăndărei.
The baking industry still plays an important role in the local economy. The largest producer on this market in Buzău is Boromir Prod, whose majority shareholder is the Boromir Ind group of Râmnicu Vâlcea.
Buzău is an important regional railway hub, as railroads connecting Bucharest and Ploiești to Focșani, Galați and Constanța meet in the city. The main railway station was inaugurated in 1872, together with the Bucharest-Galați railroad.
Buzău is reachable by road via DN2 (E85) from Bucharest and the main cities from Moldavia. DN1B connects Buzău to Ploiești and DN10 crosses the Carpathian Mountains at their curvature through the Buzău Pass to Brașov. Galați and Brăila can be reached via DN2B.
Buzău's public transportation includes 10 regular bus lines, connecting the residential areas to the main industrial zones (including the Buzău Sud platform), city center and railway station. Several taxi companies are licensed and operate throughout the city and the nearby communes.
The mayor of Buzău is Constantin Toma (since 2016).
The local council is made up of 23 councillors, and has the following party composition:
|Social Democratic Party||11|
|National Liberal Party||5|
|Alliance of Liberals and Democrats||2|
|Romanian Social Party||2|
|People's Movement Party||2|
Education and culture
The first school in Buzău was the school for church and icon painters, opened by Chesarie, the bishop of Buzău. The school functioned at the bishopric of Buzău, and was managed by Nicolae Teodorescu. Gheorghe Tattarescu started learning painting here.
The city's most important educational landmark is the Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu National College, attended by the Nobel prize winner George Emil Palade in his youth. The Hasdeu high school was inaugurated in 1867.
The George Ciprian stage theatre was created in 1996. It does not have an acting crew of its own, relying on contracts. Its first manager was playwright Paul Ioachim.
The main museum in Buzău is the Buzău County Museum, which exhibits items related to the region's history. The same museum oversees the ethnography exhibition at the Vergu-Mănăilă House, as well as the Amber Museum in Colți and the Vasile Voiculescu Memorial House in Pârscov.
- Ion Băieșu, playwright
- Constantin Budeanu, electrical engineer
- Vasile Cârlova, poet
- George Ciprian, actor, playwright
- Constantin C. Giurescu, historian
- Ștefan Gușă, Romanian Army general
- Paul Ioachim, Actor, playwright
- Alexandru Marghiloman, statesman, Prime Minister of Romania
- Mihaela Runceanu, pop singer
- Radu G. Vlădescu, professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Bucharest, member of the Romanian Academy and correspondent member of the French Academy
- Vasile Voiculescu, poet, writer, playwright
Twin towns – sister cities
Buzău is twinned with:
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