Giurgevo - Encyclopedia




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GIURGEVO (Giurgiu), the capital of the department of Vlashca, Rumania; situated amid mud-flats and marshes on the left bank of the Danube. Pop. (1900) 13,977. Three small islands face the town, and a larger one shelters its port, Smarda, 2 2 m. E. The rich corn-lands on the north are traversed by a railway to Bucharest, the first line opened in Rumania, which was built in 1869 and afterwards extended to Smarda. Steamers ply to Rustchuk, 2 z m. S. W. on the Bulgarian shore, linking the Rumanian railway system to the chief Bulgarian line north of the Balkans (Rustchuk-Varna). Thus Giurgevo, besides having a considerable trade with the home ports lower down the Danube, is the headquarters of commerce between Bulgaria and Rumania. It exports timber, grain, salt and petroleum; importing coal, iron and textiles. There are also large saw-mills.

Giurgevo occupies the site of Theodorapolis, a city built by the Roman emperor Justinian (A.D. 483-565). It was founded in the 14th century by Genoese merchant adventurers, who established a bank, and a trade in silks and velvets. They called the town, after the patron saint of Genoa, San Giorgio (St George); and hence comes its present name. As a fortified town, Giurgevo figured often in the wars for the conquest of the lower Danube; especially in the struggle of Michael the Brave (1593-1601) against the Turks, and in the later Russo-Turkish Wars. It was burned in 16J9. In 182 9, its fortifications were finally razed, the only defence left being a castle on the island of Slobosia, united to the shore by a bridge.

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