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The city of Craiova is situated in the middle of Oltenia ( one of the Southern regions of Romania ), on the Jiu Valley.  Strategically positioned between the Carpathian Mountains and the rivers Danube and Olt, the area surrounding the city is well known for its impressive, inspiring and picturesque scenery as well as mineral resources and a multitude of plants and animal species.  Considering Craiova’s crucial location at the crossroads between the Carpathians, Danube River, Black Sea and the Balcans, there are also numerous historical facts which have revealed overwhelming evidence of human presence dating all the way back to the quaternary. 

     The pre-Tracian, together with the Getic Tracian, Getic Dacian and Byzantine Roman Dacian civilizations have been attested both archeologically and historically.  One of the oldest and most brilliant South European civilization was discovered in the proximity of Craiova.    Comparable in every way with those found in Anatolia and Greece, it has been traced back to the Neolithic (6000-2500 BC).  Numerous ceramic paintings were found with it, illustrating the artistic inclinations of this long lost culture.

     Tools and different other copper objects dating from the Copper Age (2500-2000 BC) were discovered, together with weapons, tools and ceramic pottery from the Bronze Age.  A funeral site has also been dug out at Isalnita.

     One of the most important Dacian Getic settlements located in the area surrounding Craiova was called Pelendava, which had been invaded and conquered by Romans in 102 AD.  It later became a Roman war camp, and a new civilian establishment had developed next to it soon thereafter.  First documented declaration of this community goes back to 225 AD, and both archeological findings and the science of numismatics (the study of ancient coins) confirm that Pelendava was a prosperous city.

     After 275, when the Roman Empire gave up ownership rights to Dacia Traiana, a large part of Oltenia including today’s Craiova remained under the authority of the Empire until about 422-447, when the Huns started their attacks on those regions.  At the end of the fifth century, the Roman Empire once again claimed possession of the territories north of Danube and maintained sovereignty until the end of the sixth century.  Various coins and imported ceramic pottery discovered around Craiova clearly show the presence of extensive trading with the Byzantine Roman world.

    Because of Craiova’s strategic location at the center of all commercial traffic connecting the Transylvanian cities to Vidin, the numerous monetary thesauruses can also attest the flourishing commerce.  The most important was discovered near Craiova and contains 450 coins dating back to King Mircea and  his son,  Mihai.

     The Great Banie of Craiova was founded in the late 1500s and shortly thereafter it became one of the most important forms of political institution, second only to the Royal Court.  Mihai the Brave, one of the most courageous and virtuous of the Romanian Kings, held the title of “Great Ban of Craiova” while the city was considered a significant economical and military authority.

     The city of Craiova contributed substantially to the Revolution led by Tudor Vladimirescu in 1821, and had been granted numerous privileges for its economical importance and incomparable strategic position.  Long ago, Craiova used to be referred to as “The Capital of Little Romania”.

     In 1848 Craiova was also one of the focal points of the Revolution, and it was chosen as the meeting place for the provisional government until this moved permanently to Bucharest.  In 1857, the city of Craiova played an instrumental role during the elections for the “Ad-hoc Assemblies”.  These assemblies later facilitated the Union of the Kingdoms of Romania at January 24, 1859 by electing Alexandru Ioan Cuza as Voyevode.

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