Bucharest is the capital of Romania and the largest city in Romania, with a population of approximately 2 million people. Bucharest is also the 6th largest city in the European Union, in terms of population size. Although historically known as a citadel since its first official recording in the 15th Century, its importance grew in the 20th century, in particular after the unification of Wallachia and Moldova in 1859 which established the basis of present day Romania.
As it represents the capital city of Romania, Bucharest contains all central executive, legislative and judicial institutions, such as the Presidential Institution (housed in the Cotroceni Palace), the Government (housed in the Victory Palace), the Senate – Upper House of Parliament – and the Chamber of Deputies – Lower House of Parliament – (both housed in the Palace of Parliament – formerly known as the People’s House), the Constitutional Court (housed in the Palace of Parliament) and the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
Bucharest has always excelled in cultural and educational, as well as in leisure and entertainment aspects. Regarding the educational component, Bucharest is currently home to more than 16 public Universities, such as the University of Bucharest, the Academy of Economic Studies, the Politehnica University of Bucharest, the National School of Administrative and Political Studies, the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy as well as many others. From a cultural standpoint, Bucharest is the headquarters of all national television networks and newspapers and it has a remarkable number of theatres and operas.
Bucharest is also the birthplace of many worldwide acclaimed personalities such as: Mircea Eliade (historian of religion and philosopher), Maia Morgenstern (actress), Ilie Nastase (tennis player), John Houseman (actor and film producer), Henri Coanda (inventor of the first jet engine), Nicolae Balcescu (leader of the 1848 Revolution and historian), Nicolae Paulescu (discoverer of pancreatine), Dinu Lipatti (pianist), Tudor Arghezi, George Calinescu, Camil Petrescu, Mircea Cartarescu, George Topirceanu (writers) and many others. The nightlife in Bucharest is also of particular interest, with lots of clubs, pubs and restaurants clustered in the Old City Center (the Lipscani Area).