Bucharest (Romanian: București names in other languages) is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at 44°25′57″N 26°06′14″ECoordinates: 44°25′57″N 26°06′14″E, and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River.

According to preliminary data from 2011 census, 1,677,985 inhabitants live within the city limits,[4] a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census.[2] The urban area extends beyond the limits of Bucharest proper and has a population of 1.93 million people.[3][8] Adding the satellite towns around the urban area, the proposed metropolitan area of Bucharest would have a population of 2.2 million people.[9] According to Eurostat, Bucharest has a Larger Urban Zone of 2,151,880 residents.[5] According to unofficial data, the population is more than 3 million.[10] Bucharest is the 10th largest city in the European Union by population within city limits.

Economically, Bucharest is the most prosperous city in Romania[11] and is one of the main industrial centres and transportation hubs of Eastern Europe. The city has convention facilities, educational facilities, cultural venues, shopping arcades, and recreational areas.

The city proper is administratively known as the Municipality of Bucharest (Municipiul București), and has the same administrative level as a county, being further subdivided into six sectors.

Bucharest is the centre of the Romanian economy and industry, accounting for around 22.7% (2010) of the country’s GDP and about one-quarter of its industrial production, while being inhabited by 9% of the country’s population.[37] Almost one third of national taxes are paid by Bucharest’s citizens and companies. In 2009, at purchasing power parity, Bucharest had a per-capita GDP of €26,100, or 111% that of the European Union average and more than twice the Romanian average.[38] After relative stagnation in the 1990s, the city’s strong economic growth has revitalized infrastructure and led to the development of shopping malls, residential estates and high-rise office buildings. In September 2005, Bucharest had an unemployment rate of 2.6%, significantly lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.7%.[39]

Bucharest’s economy is centred on industry and services, with services particularly growing in importance in the last ten years. The headquarters of 186,000 firms, including nearly all large Romanian companies are located in Bucharest.[40] An important source of growth since 2000 has been the city’s rapidly expanding property and construction sector. Bucharest is also Romania’s largest centre for information technology and communications and is home to several software companies operating offshore delivery centres. Romania’s largest stock exchange, the Bucharest Stock Exchange, which was merged in December 2005 with the Bucharest-based electronic stock exchange Rasdaq, plays a major role in the city’s economy.

There are international supermarket chains such as Carrefour, Cora and METRO operating in Bucharest. The city is undergoing a retail boom, with supermarkets and hypermarkets opened every year (see supermarkets in Romania). Malls and large shopping centres have been built since the late 1990s, such as AFI Palace Cotroceni, Sun Plaza, Băneasa Shopping City, Plaza Romania, Unirea Shopping Center and Liberty Center. There are traditional retail arcades and markets such as the one at Obor.

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