Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country on the banks of the Dâmbovița river, less than 60 km (37.3 mi) north of the Danube river and the Bulgarian border.
Bucharest was first mentioned in documents in 1459 and it became the capital of Romania in 1862. In the period between the two World Wars, the city's elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of 'Paris of the East' or 'Little Paris'. Although buildings and districts in the historic city centre were heavily damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes, and even Nicolae Ceaușescu's program of systematization, many survived and have been renovated.
According to the 2011 census, 1,883,425 inhabitants live within the city limits, a decrease from the 2002 census. Adding the satellite towns around the urban area, the proposed metropolitan area of Bucharest would have a population of 2.27 million people. Bucharest is the fourth largest city in the European Union by population within city limits, after Berlin, Madrid, and Rome.
Economically, Bucharest is the most prosperous city in Romania. The city has a number of large convention facilities, educational institutes, cultural venues, traditional '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 that of a national county, being further subdivided into six sectors, each governed by a local mayor.