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Ploiesti History, Romania

Ploiesti history begins with a legend, which says that a shepherd called Ploaie, together with its seven sons, stopped once in an opening of the forest which used to cover these lands. He found here good shelter, fresh waters, fertile lands and decided to stay, creating the settlement named after him. People also say that locals used to have only seven houses and a monastery but when their number increased they created new lands for houses and crops by clearing the forest.

Ploiesti, History – Early Times

Historians have presented a series of significant proofs attesting the uninterrupted dwelling on these lands, strongly connected to the Getae- Dacian civilization area. Archeological excavations revealed some Mesolithic vestiges in the western side of the town and some Neolithic dwellings in northern Ploiesti. There were also found remains from the Bronze Age and also from more recent periods beginning with the VIII – VI centuries B.C. and until roman times.

There are few written proofs regarding the city’s first days and its inhabitants. Some people say that there was a military settlement here in the fifteen century but documentary speaking, all history mentioning stop at 1503, when Ploiesti is mentioned for the first time in a document in the nearby Brasov city. The document says that locals were present in western Romanian fairs, meaning that the settlement was well known and had an economic development which allowed them to have commercial relations with other centers from the other side of the mountains. The city’s name is mentioned again in a document dating from 1567, where a number of vine balks were sold by a local to another person from a nearby city.

Another crucial moment for Ploiesti was in 1597 when it was chosen to be a military settlement and turned from village to princely fair. Supported by the Princely Court, the city develops steadily until the seventeenth century when it becomes an important urban centre in Romania. Its continuous development had a strong influence over the nearby small town of Targsor, the latter one remaining only a village.

Ploiesti, History – Modern Times

Ploiesti strongly developed industrially and economically, especially after the identification and exploitation of the oil deposits located in the nearby areas. A chain of oil refineries rose around Ploiesti and numerous commercial centers, offices, workshops and educational centers animated the centre of the city. In 1857, the first oil refinery in the world was inaugurated here, called the Mehedintianu Refinery, and as a consequence Romania became the first country in the world which in 1857 had a production of 275 tones of oil, as it is mentioned by Encyclopedia Britannica in 1938. Until the communist regime took over the country, the city was called Ploesti and was the capital of Prahova County.

On 1 August 1943 and in the summer of 1944, the city suffered the effects of the Anglo-American air forces bombings, determining serious damages. After 1944, as part of the social and economic transformations under the communist regime, the importance of the city decreased. After 1990 Ploiesti undergoes an economic and cultural development process together with all main cities in Romania.

Nowadays Ploiesti is the largest urban and industrial centre in Prahova County, and one of the largest Romanian cities along with Constanta and Iasi.

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