Founded on a Dacian stronghold site this later became a Roman castrum.
Its name’s origins are either Serbian or Bulgarian, no sources mentioning it prior to 1475.
This comes either from Slavonic krajina (“border” or “edge”) or Old Slavonic kral (“king”), borrowed in Romanian as “crai”.
City prospered as a regional trading centre despite:
– an earthquake in 1790,
– a plague in 1795, and
– a Turkish assault in 1802 during which the Turks burned it.
The city prides itself on the strong academic tradition.
And wealth of important historical figures who passed through here on their journey to fame.
Wallachian Prince Mihai Viteazu, ban (military governor) of Craiova, achieved the first unification of the 3 Romanian principalities in 1600.
Bans had the right of coining money stamped with their own effigies.
Hence the name of bani (centimes) in Romanian language.
Between 1894 – 1898, world-famous sculptor Constantin Brancusi studied at Craiova Art School (Scola de Arte si Meserii).
He also carved his first sculptures here.
Craiova-born Petrache Poenaru (1799 – 1875) invented the first cartridge fountain pen.
The majority of train locomotives in Romania originated at the Electroputere workshops in Craiova.
In 1913, here they signed the peace treaty known in history as Peace from Craiova which ended Balkan War.
Its highlights are History and Archeology and Natural Sciences (which kids will enjoy visiting).
You will find it within the sumptuous Neo-Baroque Dinu Mihail palace completed in 1896.
The French architect Paul Gotereau, who also built the CEC building in Bucharest designed its plans.
The Museum exhibits Romanian icons and valuable masterpieces belonging to famous Romanian painters.
Among these there are Craiova-born Theodor Aman (1831 – 1891), Nicolae Grigorescu (1838 – 1907), Vasile Popescu, Stefan Luchian and Theodor Pallady.
But museum’s great attraction is the art gallery dedicated to Romanian-born Constantin Brancusi.
This displays 6 of his early sculptures, including variants of his best-known works:
– Vitellius (1898),
– Miss Pogany (1902),
– Vainglory (1905),
– Boy’s Head (1906),
– The Kiss (1907),
– Woman Torso (1909).
Moreover, the museum recreates Brancusi’s ‘studio’.
Nicolae Romanescu Park
Named after city’s mayor who created it between 1901 – 1903, the park is one of the valuable monuments of landscape architecture in Romania.
The park’s plans designed by French architect Emile Rendont, received the gold medal at the 1900 World Fair.
This park covers:
– more than 96 acres with plantations (bushes, grass areas, trees),
– 4 acres with water area,
– 20 acres with a hippodrome and
– a velodrome.
Be sure to not miss its Zoo, the Castle and the Bridge.
Founded in 1952, Botanical Garden of Craiova University spreads over about 17 acres.
Across the garden, where the flora gives the naturalistic shaping, you will see 3 lakes.
The Botanical Garden also houses a Herbarium of about 400,000 pages of preserved plants, and a small-scale Museum.
Top cathedrals, monasteries and churches
You can spend a relaxing afternoon visiting Cosuna Monastery, from 15th century, the oldest building in Craiova.
Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Demetrius
Built in Byzantine style in 1889, on the place of former Princely Church, this church became metropolitan cathedral in 1939.
The bell tower is built of Roman bricks probably taken from Pelendava citadel.
Oltenia’s oldest school for priests functioned here.
Oltenia Metropolitan Bishopric, canonical and administrative unit of Romanian Ortodox Church, founded in 1939.
At the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century, Craiova’s architecture underwent a transformation.
Then Brancovenesti style – a combination of Romanian traditional art, Byzantine and Venetian elements – appeared.
One of the most beautiful churches still displaying elements of Brancovenesti style is Saint Nicolas Church (1794).
See you all back here soon for more tips, picked expressly for you.
Meanwhile feel free to address me any question you might have about Romania.
And to share this with anyone who might find it useful or interesting 😉
Happy tours !
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