Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural,
industrial, and financial centre.
It is located in the southeast of the country, on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 60 km (37.3 mi) north of the Danube River and the Bulgarian border.
Bucharest was first mentioned in documents in 1459. It became the capital of Romania in 1862 and is the centre of Romanian media, culture, and art.
In the period between the two World Wars, the city's elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of "Little Paris" (Micul Paris).
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 big convention facilities, educational institutes, cultural venues, traditional "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 that of a national county, being further subdivided into six sectors, each governed by a local mayor.
Bucharest has landmark buildings and monuments.
Perhaps the most prominent of these is the Palace of the Parliament, built in the 1980s during the reign of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu.
The largest Parliament building in the world, the palace houses the Romanian Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies, and the Senate), as well as the National Museum of Contemporary Art.
The building boasts one of the largest convention centres in the world.
Another landmark in Bucharest is Arcul de Triumf (The Triumphal Arch), built in its current form in 1935 and modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
A newer landmark of the city is the Memorial of Rebirth, a stylized marble pillar unveiled in 2005 to commemorate the victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which overthrew Communism.
The abstract monument sparked controversy when it was unveiled, being dubbed with names such as "the olive on the toothpick", as many argued that it does not fit in its surroundings and believed that its choice was based on political reasons.
The Romanian Athenaeum building is considered to be a symbol of Romanian culture and since 2007 is on the list of the Label of European Heritage sites.
Other cultural venues include the National Museum of Art of Romania, Museum of Natural History Grigore Antipa, Museum of the Romanian Peasant (Muzeul Tăranului Român), National History Museum, and the Military Museum.
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