In a document dating from 1459 signed by Prince Vlad the Impaler known as Dracula, Bucharest was mentioned as a trading town at the crossroads of the main commercial routes connecting Europe and Asia.
Under the long centuries of Ottoman domination from the 15th to mid-19th c. the city was often attacked by the Turkish troops, destroyed several times, so little remains of the medieval core on the banks of the river Dambovita. Right after the independence won in 1877Bucharest began to forge a different identity, the French style flourished endowing the city with wide avenues lined with trees, neo-classical style mansions and institutions. These gave Bucharest the name of the little Paris of the East, but its brilliant life during Monarchy times came to an end with the Soviet rule. This brought huge concrete buildings that obliterated much of the old charm of the city. Entire districts were razed to the ground to make room for communist President Ceausescu’s megalomaniac dream, the House of the Republic.
The University Square remains the heart of the city, and the symbol of the anti-communist revolution in December 1989.Today Bucharest is the busy capital city of Romania which is a member of the European Union since 1 January 2007.