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Craiova city is situated on the left bank of Jiu River, on 44°2’ north latitude, 23°5’ east longitude and at an altitude between 75 and 116 meters, having a population of over 300,000 inhabitants.
Craiova today lies on the ruins of ancient Geto-Dacian city called Pelendava, dating from 400-350 BC. The settlement is mentioned on Tabula Peutingeriana map commissioned by Caracalla, the Roman Emperor, and completed by Alexander Severus during the year 225.
The evolution of Craiova, which territory had permanent human settlements continuity, occurs in the context of overall development of the Romanian Country during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. One of the first documentation about Craiova appears in 1475; in a charter given by Prince Basarab Laiota, in which it is recalled about boyar Neagoe from Craiova. At that time Craiova was among the well-known localities in the Romanian Country. Craiova was also a piece of resistance and struggle of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries against the Ottoman Empire, near Craiova it is considered to be the famous Rovine, with its swamps formed by Jiu River, where great battles were fought and the victory concluded Romanians led by Mircea Cel Bătrân.
At the end of the fifteenth century Craiova was a fair, situated on Craiovescu’s estate, a powerful landowner, who had more than 100 villages, and was a true economical power without whose alliance rulers of the throne could not be maintained. After the first half of the sixteenth century, Craiova is often mentioned.
Formed in the last decades of the fifteenth century, Marea Bănie of Craiova became in a relatively short time the second country’s political institution.
In 1512, during his reign, Mare Ban Neagoe, takes the rule over the territory on the right side of Olt River as well as he owns an office in which there shall be made official acts after the model of princely acts. During Mihai Viteazul, Craiova has passed through a strong development; contemporary sources showing the city as an important political and military center.
In 1593 Mihai is enthroned as ruler of Romanian and Mare Ban so the title of governor is entrusted to Preda Buzescu. During the Middle Age Craiova was an important military center with a strategic role.
After fluctuating population at the end of the sixteenth century - Craiova witnessed a gradual increase of the population number and in 1735 there were 836 families in the city, representing more than 4,000 inhabitants.
In 1795, a plague epidemic made hundreds of victims and in 1796, a fire destroyed several neighborhoods. Serious damages were made by the invasion of the Turkish army from Vidin who occupied Craiova in 1806.
The city’s name is even now connected in the consciousness of our people to many important events. Not until 1817, when the Poterie managed to catch and throw him into the salt mine from Telega, the famous outlaw Iancu Jianu put terror in the rich people’ souls. In 1821, the people from Craiova rose as one to the call of Tudor Vladimirescu. In 1848, during the Revolution, in Craiova was published the “Naţional” newspaper.
Between 1770-1771 because of the state of war (Bucharest was disputed between the Russian and Turkish armies), the city of Craiova had also the prerogatives of Romanian Country capital. From here, Mr Emanuel Giani Rosetti, was monitoring the conduct of hostilities.
Craiova has economically recorded during the XVII and XVIII centuries frequent injuries. The demographic balance, at the end of the XVIII century, suffered due to the repeatedly transformations of the city into a war theater, but also due to epidemics and fires. We can recall here the repeatedly destructions made in 1799, 1800 and in 1801 produced by the bands of “pasvangii” (Pazvan-Oglu’s Turkish soldiers from Vidin).
One of the great boyar families of Craiova - Bibescu family - has given to the country its two last Romanian rulers: Bibescu brothers: Gheorghe Dimitrie Bibescu (1842-1848) and Demetrius Ştirbei Barbu (1849-1856). The emancipation of gypsies slaves in 1844 and 1856, the Romanian and Moldovan Land union (in1848) – which was seen as a first step towards the final union of the two Romanian countries – the concerns for strengthen the military capacity of defending the country, all these facts show some sensitivity of the two rulers of that time’s imperatives.
On 9 October 1857 the Ad hoc Assembly voted unanimously for the Union of the Romanian Land principalities. On the eve of Unification, Craiova had about 25,000 inhabitants, being from this point of view, the second as number of inhabitants after the capital of Romanian.
Since the beginning of preparations for joining the Independence War (1877-1878), the Romanian troops were concentrated near the Danube River, and units from Craiova participated in the war.
Craiova was situated in the center of an area directly affected by the Anti-Ottoman war. It was, by its position, an important center where they had taken the necessary measures to support the future conduct of military operations.
In the late nineteenth century, Craiova - with over 40,000 people - was moving toward a capitalist development in the industrial, commercial and dilatory field.

Craiova city maps* over time (1780, 1888 and 1905)

*The maps of Craiova City were taken from:
Buce Răduț, Magda. The past in Craiova of today, Sim Art Publishing, Craiova, 2008.

Craiova was the first city in the country powered by electricity provided by internal combustion engines. Thus the population grows, so that in 1910 there were 51,404 inhabitants. It was the second largest city of Romania, after Bucharest, which exceeded 50,000 inhabitants.
In Craiova, in 1913, during Titu’s government, it was signed the Peace Treaty that ended the Balkan war, known in history as the Peace Treaty of Craiova.
In Craiova’s life and evolution that followed the interwar period there could be witnessed a stream of expressions and spiritual life.
Together with the existing educational institutions (Buzeşti Brothers High School, the National College, School of Arts and Crafts) new schools have appeared and carried forward the rich traditions of this Romanian educational center.
Continuing the tradition of the realm of media, in the nineteenth century in Craiova there were published valuable newspapers and magazines like: Mosaic, Nationalul, Magazin Oltean, and in the twentieth century were published other important publications like: Ramuri, Năzuinţa, Scrisul Românesc. Among the areas in which Craiova manifested through initiatives and personalities are also those of legal and medical life.
As main representatives of Craiova’s law domain we can notice some of the well-known lawyers and scholars: Gheorghe Chiţu, Petre Chiţu, Nicolae Romanescu and C.N. Ciocazan but also we can remind here about important law publications: Buletin judiciar, Justiţia Olteană and Cercul Juridic.
Among the well-known medical personalities whose names were linked to Craiova by origin or studies we recall: Dimitroe Gerota, Aurel Metzulescu Victor Ciocîlteu Ştefan Milcu and others.
In 1968 Craiova was declared a municipality having a population of over 300,000 inhabitants. The city of Craiova was and still remains the spiritual center of the province from the right side of Olt River, polarizing the cultural and scientific life of this area.

Project Manager: Vasilica Anghel; Colaborators: Lavinia Dumitrescu, Dana Popescu and Stefania Paraschiv (History, Churches, Monuments, Romanescu Park), Flori Stolojan (E. Farago),
Madalina Bailesteanu - english translator, Constantin Patru (images of ancient Craiova).
© County Library "Alexandru & Aristia Aman", Craiova, 2010