Giurgiu (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈd͡ʒjurd͡ʒju]) is the capital city of Giurgiu County, Romania, in the Greater Wallachia. It is situated amid mud-flats and marshes on the left bank of the Danube facing the Bulgarian city of Rousse on the opposite bank. Three small islands face the city, and a larger one shelters its port, Smarda. The rich grain-growing land to the north is traversed by a railway to Bucharest, the first line opened in Romania, which was built in 1869 and afterwards extended to Smarda. Giurgiu exports timber, grain, salt and petroleum, and imports coal, iron, and textiles.
The area around Giurgiu was densely populated at the time of the Dacians (first century BC) as archeological evidence shows, and Burebista's capital was in this area (it is thought to be in Popeşti on the Argeş river). During Roman times this was the site of Theodorapolis, a city built by the Roman emperor Justinian (483-565).
The city of Giurgiu was probably established in the 14th century as a port on the Danube by the Genoese merchant adventurers, who established a bank and traded in silks and velvets. They called the city after the patron saint of Genoa, San Giorgio (St George), and hence comes its present name. It was first mentioned in Codex Latinus Parisinus in 1395, during the reign of Mircea I of Wallachia, and was conquered by the Ottomans in 1420 as a way to control the Danube traffic. The Ottomans named the city Yergöğü, as if from yer 'earth' + gök 'sky,' but the name was probably given because of the similarity between the pronunciations of "(San) Giorgio" and "Yergöğü".
As a fortified city, Giurgiu figured often in the wars for the conquest of the lower Danube, especially in the struggle of Mihai Viteazul (1593–1601) against the Turks and in the later Russo-Turkish War (1787-1792). It was burned in 1659. In 1829, its fortifications were finally razed, the only defence left being a castle on the island of Slobozia, connected to the shore by a bridge.
In 1952–1954, during the Communist regime, the USSR helped build the bridge between Giurgiu and Ruse, The Bridge of Friendship, the only bridge on the Danube linking Romania and Bulgaria.