Vlad the Impaler (inspiration for mythical Count Dracula) is, among other things, credited for the first written record of this city, dating back to 1459 A.D. Going back even farther than that, archeological evidence indicates that human life has been happening in and around Bucharest for 150,000 years.
With a population today of over two million people, Bucharest is Romania's capital, as well as its economic and cultural center. It lies in the southeastern part of the country along the Dambovita River, a tributary of the Danube.
Following Romania's surrender to allied forces during World War II, Bucharest's cityscape suffered serious hits from German bombers. Most of the rebuilding done since was in the Communist style, resulting in a certain "architectural uniformity."
The People's House stands out, however. A modern palace conceived by the late dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, it has yet to be completed, though one-sixth of the city (25,000 acres) was razed to make way for the behemoth structure and its grand boulevard. Bucharest is also home to Romania's most prominent universities, museums and theaters.