Bucharest ) is the capital city and industrial and commercial centre of Romania. It is located in the southeast of the country, at 44°25′N 26°06′E, and lies on the banks of the Dâmboviţa River.
By European standards Bucharest is not an old city, its existence first being referred to by scholars as late 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, interbellum, 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 "Paris of the East" or "Little Paris" (Micul Paris). Although many buildings and districts in the historic centre were damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes and Nicolae Ceauşescu's program of systematization, much survived. In recent years, the city has been experiencing an economic and cultural boom.
According to the 2002 census, Bucharest proper has a population of 1,921,751. There are approximately 2.3 million inhabitants in the greater metropolitan area. Economically, the city is by far the most prosperous in Romania and is one of the main industrial centres and transportation hubs of Eastern Europe. As the most important city in Romania, Bucharest also has a broad range of educational facilities.
The city is administratively known as the Municipality of Bucharest (Municipiul Bucureşti), and has the same administrative level as a county, being further subdivided into six sectors.
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