Main Births etc
County Council

Coat of arms
Location of Bacău
Coordinates: 46°35′N 26°55′E / 46.583, 26.917Coordinates: 46°35′N 26°55′E / 46.583, 26.917
Country  Romania
County Bacău County
Status County capital
 • Mayor Romeo Stavarache (National Liberal Party)
 • City 43.1 km2 (16.6 sq mi)
 • Metro 70.047 km2 (27.045 sq mi)
Population (2002 census)[1]
 • City 175,500
 • Density 4,257/km2 (11,030/sq mi)
 • Metro 248,214
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

Bacău (Romanian pronunciation: [baˈkəw]  ( listen), German: Barchau, Hungarian: Bákó) is the main city in Bacău County, Romania. It covers a land surface of 43 km², and, as of January 1, 2009, has an estimated population of 183,484.[2] The city is situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and on the Bistriţa River (which meets the Siret River about 8 kilometres (5 miles) to the south of Bacău). The Ghimeş Pass links Bacău to Transylvania.

History[edit | edit source]

Similarly to most urban centers in Moldavia, Bacău emerged on a ford that allowed water passage.[3] Colonists played a significant role in the development of the town.[4] Archaeological finds, some surface or semi-buried dwellings from the second half of the 15th century, suggest that Hungarians started to settle in the region after 1345–1347 when the territory was under the control of the king of Hungary.[5] They mainly occupied the flat banks of the river Bistriţa.[6] Discoveries of a type of 14th-century grey ceramic that has also been found in Northern Europe also suggests the presence of German colonists from the north.[7] Originally the town focused around the Roman Catholic community that settled near a regular local market frequented by the population of the region on the lower reaches of the river.[8]

The town was first mentioned in 1408 when Prince Alexander the Good of Moldavia (1400–1432) listed the customs points in the principality in his privilege for Polish merchants.[9][10] The customs house in the town is mentioned in Old Church Slavonic as krainee mîto ("the customs house by the edge") in the document which may indicate that it was the last customs stop before Moldavia's border with Wallachia.[11] The town's name that features in Old Church Slavonic documents as Bako, Bakova or Bakovia comes most probably from a personal name.[12] Men bearing the name Bakó are documented in Transylvania in the Middle Ages.[8] The town may have been named after a Hungarian innkeeper who, supposedly, had an inn, the first building in the town, on the road from Bacău to Roman. Another theory suggests that the town's name has a Slavic origin, pointing to the Proto-Slavic word byk, meaning "ox" or "bull", the region being very suitable for raising cattle; the term, rendered into Romanian alphabet as bâc, was probably the origin of Bâcău.

An undated document reveals that the şoltuz in Bacău, that is the head of the town elected by its inhabitants, had the right to sentence felons to death, at least for robberies, which hints to an extended privilege, similar to the ones that royal towns in the Kingdom of Hungary enjoyed.[13][14] Thus this right may have been granted to the community when the territory was under the control of the Kingdom of Hungary.[8] The seal of Bacău was oval which is exceptional in Moldavia where the seals of other towns were round.[15]

Alexander the Good donated the wax collected as part of the tax payable by the town to the nearby Orthodox Bistriţa Monastery.[16] It was most probably his first wife named Margaret who founded the Franciscan Church of the Holy Virgin in Bacău.[17] But the main Catholic church in the town was dedicated to Saint Nicholas.[8] A letter written by John of Rya, the Catholic bishop of Baia refers to Bacău as a civitas which implies the existence of a Catholic bishopric in the town at that time.[17][18] The letter also reveals that Hussite immigrants who had undergone persecutions in Bohemia, Moravia, or Hungary were settled in the town and granted privileges by Alexander the Good.[19]

The monastery of Bistriţa was also granted the income from the customs house of Bacău in 1439.[20] In 1435 Stephen II of Moldavia (1433–1435, 1436–1447) requested the town's judges not to hinder the merchants of Braşov, an important center of the Transylvanian Saxons in their movement.[21][22]

"Precista" Church

From the 15th century ungureni, that is Romanians from Transylvania began to populate the area north of the marketplace where they would erect an Orthodox church after 1500.[8] A small residence of the princes of Moldova was built in the town in the first half of the 15th century.[23] It was rebuilt and extended under Stephen III the Great of Moldavia (1457–1504) who also erected an Orthodox church within it.[23] But the rulers soon began to donate the neighboring villages that had thereto supplied their local household to monasteries or noblemen.[24] Thus the local princely residence was abandoned after 1500.[25]

The town was invaded and destroyed more than one times in the 15th–16th centuries.[25] For example, in 1467 King Matthias I of Hungary during his expedition against Stephen the Great set fire to all towns, among them Bacău in his path.[26] The customs records of Braşov shows that few merchants from Bacău crossed the Carpathian Mountains into Transylvania after 1500, and their merchandise had no particularly high value which suggests that the town was declining in this period.[25]

The Catholic bishop of Arges whose see in Wallachia had been destroyed by the Tatars moved to Bacău in 1597.[25][27] From the early 17th century the bishops of Bacău were Polish priests who did not reside in the town, but in the Kingdom of Poland.[28] They only travelled time to time to their see in order to collect the tithes.[28]

According to Archbishop Marco Bandini's report of the canonical visitation of 1646, the şoltuz in Bacău was elected among Hungarians one year, and another, among Romanians.[8][29] The names of most of 12 inhabitants of the town recorded in 1655 also indicate that Hungarians still formed their majority group.[25] In 1670 Archbishop Petrus Parcevic, the apostolic vicar of Moldavia concluded an agreement with the head of the Franciscan Province of Transylvania on the return of the Bacău monastery to them in order to ensure the spiritual welfare of the local Hungarian community.[30][31] But the Polish bishop protested against the agreement and the Holy See also refused to ratify it.[31][32]

Due to the frequent invasions by foreign armies and plundering by the Tatars in the 17th century, many of its Catholic inhabitants abandoned Bacău and took refuge in Transylvania.[33] But in 1851 the Catholic congregation in the town still spoke, sang, and prayed in Hungarian.[34]

The first paper mill in Moldavia was established in the town in 1851.[35] During World War I and the occupation of Bucharest by the Central Powers, Bacău was the headquarters of the Romanian Army. The town was declared a municipality in 1968.[35]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical population of Bacău
Year Population
1900 16,187[36]
1912 census increase 18,846[37]
1930 census increase 31,138
1948 census increase 34,461
1956 census increase 54,138
1966 census increase 73,414
1977 census increase 127,299
1992 census increase 205,029
2002 census decrease 175,500
2009 estimate increase 177,087[38]

According to the last census, from 2002, there were 175,500 people living within the city of Bacău,[39] making it the 12th largest city in Romania. The ethnic makeup is as follows:

Transportation[edit | edit source]

"Bacau City Centre

The city is about 300 km North of Bucharest. It is served by Bacău International Airport which provides daily direct links with the Romanian cities Bucharest and Timişoara, and international links with 11 cities in Italy and Germany. Bacau air traffic control centre is one of Europe's busiest, as it handles transiting flights between the Middle and Near East and South Asia to Europe and across the Atlantic.

The Bacău Railway Station (Gara Bacău) is one of the busiest in Romania; it has access to the Romanian railway main trunk number 500. Thus the city is connected to the main Romanian cities; the railway station is an important transit stop for international trains from Ukraine, Russia, and Bulgaria.

The city has access to the DN2 road (E85) that links it to the Romanian capital, Bucharest (to the South) and the cities of Suceava and Iaşi (to the North). The European route E574 is an important access road to Transylvania and the city of Braşov. Also the city is located also at the intersection of several national roads of secondary importance.

Bacau has had to hire Chinese workers to fill the shoes of locals who have headed to the West. Many immigrants come for fixed-term contracts and return home instead of putting down roots here.

Culture[edit | edit source]

"G. Bacovia" Theater

Bacău has a public university and several colleges. Two major Romanian poets, George Bacovia and Vasile Alecsandri were born here. The "Mihail Jora" Athenaeum and a Philharmonic Orchestra are located here, as well as the "G. Bacovia" Dramatic Theater and a Puppet Theater. Around Christmas every year, a Festival of Moldavian Winter Traditions takes place, reuniting folk artists from all the surrounding regions. The exhibition "Saloanele Moldovei" and the International Painting Camp at Tescani, near Bacau, reunite important plastic artists from Romania and from abroad. The local History Museum, part of the Museum Complex "Iulian Antonescu" has an important collection of antique objects from the ancient Dacia.

Personalities[edit | edit source]

Photos[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ "Cities with over 100,000 inhabitants". National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Metropolitan Area Bacau". ADL Bacău. Retrieved January 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ Rădvan 2010, p. 332.
  4. ^ Rădvan 2010, p. 388.
  5. ^ Rădvan 2010, pp. 388., 427., 455.
  6. ^ Dobre 2009, p. 86.
  7. ^ Rădvan 2010, p. 365.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Rădvan 2010, p. 456.
  9. ^ Rădvan 2010, p. 343.
  10. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, pp. lii., 32.
  11. ^ Rădvan 2010, pp. 453-454.
  12. ^ Rădvan 2010, p. 371.
  13. ^ Rădvan 2010, pp. 399., 456.
  14. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, p. 188.
  15. ^ Rădvan 2010, pp. 406., 455.
  16. ^ Rădvan 2010, pp. 416-417.
  17. ^ a b Rădvan 2010, p. 455.
  18. ^ Dobre 2009, p. 70.
  19. ^ Rădvan 2010, p. 497.
  20. ^ Rădvan 2010, pp. 373., 416.
  21. ^ Rădvan 2010, p. 410.
  22. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, pp. lii., 48.
  23. ^ a b Rădvan 2010, p. 454.
  24. ^ Treptow, Popa 1996, pp. lii., 46.
  25. ^ a b c d e Rădvan 2010, p. 457.
  26. ^ Rădvan 2010, p. 461.
  27. ^ Benda 2002, p. 33.
  28. ^ a b Benda 2002, p. 36.
  29. ^ Benda 2002, p. 17.
  30. ^ Pozsony 2002, pp. 94-95.
  31. ^ a b Benda 2002, p. 17.
  32. ^ Pozsony 2002, p. 95.
  33. ^ Mărtinaş 1999, pp.36-38.
  34. ^ Pozsony 2002, p. 102.
  35. ^ a b Treptow, Popa 1996, p. 32.
  36. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
  37. ^ A Handbook of Roumania
  38. ^ Population estimates January 1, 2009
  39. ^ "Ethno-demographic Structure of Romania". The Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center. Retrieved January 02, 2011. 

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Benda, Kálmán (2002). The Hungarians of Moldavia (Csángós) in the 16th–17th Centuries. In: Diószegi, László (2002); Hungarian Csángós in Moldavia: Essays on the Past and Present of the Hungarian Csángós in Moldavia; Teleki László Foundation - Pro Minoritate Foundation; ISBN 963-85774-4-4.
  • Dobre, Claudia Florentina (2009). Mendicants in Moldavia: Mission in an Orthodox Land. AUREL Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938759-12-7.
  • Mărtinaş, Dumitru (1999). The Origins of the Changos. The Center for Romanian Studies. ISBN 973-98391-4-2.
  • Pozsony, Ferenc (2002). Church Life in Moldavian Hungarian Communities. In: Diószegi, László (2002); Hungarian Csángós in Moldavia: Essays on the Past and Present of the Hungarian Csángós in Moldavia; Teleki László Foundation - Pro Minoritate Foundation; ISBN 963-85774-4-4.
  • Rădvan, Laurenţiu (2010). At Europe's Borders: Medieval Towns in the Romanian Principalities. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-18010-9.
  • Treptow, Kurt W.; Popa, Marcel (1996). Historical Dictionary of Romania. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3179-1.

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