|— County —|
|• Total||1,583 km2 (611 sq mi)|
|• Density||250/km2 (640/sq mi)|
|Telephone code||(+40) 21 or (+40) 31|
|ISO 3166 code||RO-IF|
Ilfov (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈilfov]) is the county that surrounds Bucharest, the capital of Romania. It used to be largely rural, but after the fall of communism, many of the county's villages and communes developed into high-income commuter towns, which act like suburbs or satellites of Bucharest. The gentrification of the county is continuing, with many towns in Ilfov, such as Otopeni, having some of the highest GDP per capita levels in the country.
It has a population (excluding Bucharest) of 364,241. The population density is 230.09 per km². 40% of the population commutes and works in Bucharest, although in recent years, many industrial plants were built outside Bucharest, in Ilfov county. It has an annual growth of about 4%.
The main rivers that pass through the county are: Dâmbovița River, Colentina River and Gruiu River. Several lakes can be found in Ilfov county, notably Lake Cernica, Lake Snagov and Lake Căldărușani.
- Ialomița County and Călărași County county in the East.
- Dâmbovița County in the West.
- Prahova County in the North.
- Giurgiu County in the South and East.
The base occupation used to be the agriculture. Nowadays, due to the economical growth in Bucharest, many companies have opened their offices, production facilities or warehouses in the nearby villages, situated in the Ilfov County, thus making it the most developed county in Romania.
The predominant industries in the county are:
- Food and beverages industry
- Textile industry
- Mechanical components industry
- Chemical industry
- Paper industry
- Furniture industry
- Rubber industry
- Electrical equipment industry
- Transport equipment industry
- Electronic and optical equipment
The county has a large surface covered with forests and also due to its lakes, it is a frequent week-end and holiday destinations for the inhabitants of Bucharest.
Other notable touristic sites are:
- The Snagov Monastery
- The Cernica Monastery
- The Mogoșoaia Palace
- The Căldărușani Monastery
- The Ghica family palace in Moara Vlăsiei
- The Știrbei Palace in Buftea
Most of today's Ilfov County used to be covered by Codrii Vlăsiei, a thick forest, but there were several Dacian settlements, most important being Argedava, on the right bank of the Argeș River in what is now Popești, which was the capital of king Burebista.
The thick forests were useful for retreat during the migration age because they were not easy to cross on horseback. In fact, the name of the forest means "the Forests of the Vlachs" (Romanians), a name given by the Slavs who inhabited the nearby plains.
The county was named after the Ilfov River and it appears for the first time in a 1482 donation act of voivode Vlad Călugărul to the monastery of Snagov. In earliest documents, it was known as Elhov. The name is of Slavic origin, being derived from елха, elha (alder) and possessive suffix -ov, referring to a river which flowed through an alder forest.
The county has 8 towns and 32 communes.
There were serious debates about the city level awarded to Voluntari, as it is alleged that it was given in regard to the city's political affiliation, rather than population, development or any other objective features. Despite this, Voluntari does have a population of 30,000, and many other localities with this population have been given city-status in the past.
Before 1972, it used to be one of the largest counties of Romania, but parts of it were added to neighbouring counties and nowadays it is the smallest (excluding the city of Bucharest, which has a special status). Between 1981 and 1997, it was called "Sectorul Agricol Ilfov" and it was not a separate county, but subordinate to the capital.
- Moara Vlăsiei
- Otopeni (town status)
- Ştefăneștii de Jos
- Voluntari (town status)
- Buftea (town status)
- Chitila (town status)
- Pantelimon (town status)
- Bragadiru (town status)
- Popești-Leordeni (town status)
- Măgurele (town status)
- 1 Decembrie
Ilfov County has no capital. Most of the county's institutions are located in Bucharest, some being located in Otopeni, others in Buftea. There is a struggle for both towns to be named county capital, one boasting its development and resources (Otopeni has the biggest income per capita in Romania and the biggest airport in the country), the other population and surface. This rivalry is fairly recent, since Ilfov used to be mainly rural and relatively poor in the past decades, and therefore Bucharest was seen as its main administrative centre. Nowadays, with a unique political identity being given to Ilfov, an identity that is separate to Bucharest, it is likely that a fixed capital city will be determined for Ilfov. Buftea is the most likely candidate because it is further from Bucharest and less associated with the city, whereas Otopeni is commonly seen as a suburb of Bucharest, and it would therefore be problematic to have the capital so close to the national capital, Bucharest.
However, in 2005, some plans were proposed that would merge Bucharest with 90 other communes located to up to 40 km outside the city, in Ilfov County and other nearby counties into a "metropolitan area" of Bucharest.
- ^ The number used depends on the numbering system employed by the phone companies on the market.
- ^ National Institute of Statistics, "Populația după etnie"
- ^ National Institute of Statistics, "Populația la recensămintele din anii 1948, 1956, 1966, 1977, 1992 și 2002"
- ^ 2011 Romanian Census Results
- ^ Constantin C. Giurescu, Istoria Bucureștilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre, Bucharest, 1966, p. 38
- ^ Alexandru, Cristina. "Bucureștiul va înghiţi localitățile din jur". Biz Magazine. nr 110; 15 September 2005