Infobox Settlement
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = ROU
map_caption = Location of Piteşti


image_shield=Actual Pitesti CoA.pngsubdivision_type1=County
subdivision_name1=Argeş County
subdivision_name2=Autolink|County capital
settlement_type=County capital|
leader_name=Tudor Pendiuc
leader_party=Social Democratic Party
population_blank1=171498|population_blank1_title=July 1, 2004|population_footnotes= [National Institute of Statistics, [http://www.insse.ro/Anuar%202005/CHAPTERS/cp2.pdf Population of counties, municipalities and towns] , July 1, 2004]

Piteşti (IPA|/pi'teʃtʲ/) is a city in Romania, located on the Argeş River. The capital and largest city of Argeş County, it is an important commercial and industrial center, as well as the home of two universities. Piteşti is situated on the A1 freeway connecting it directly to the national capital Bucharest, being an important railway junction, with a classification yard in nearby Bălileşti. The city houses the Arpechim oil refinery, and is a marketing center for the automotive industry, in particular Automobile Dacia.

Inhabited since prehistory but first mentioned in the 14th century, it developed as a trading town in northern Wallachia, serving as an informal residence for various Wallachian Princes until the 18th century. From the 19th century and until the interwar period, it was an important political center for the National Liberal Party and the main residence of the Brătianu family of politicians. During the early stages of the communist regime, it was one of the main sites of political repression, with the Piteşti prison becoming home to an experiment in brainwashing techniques.


The city is part of the historical region of Wallachia, being situated in its north and the westernmost part of its Muntenian subregion. It lies on the right bank of the Argeş, where the river meets its tributary, Râul Doamnei.

Piteşti is situated 280 m above sea level, on terraces formed by the Argeş, and belongs to the southernmost section of the Getic Plateau (an area of foothills leading up to the Southern Carpathians). ["Monografia geografică", p.100, 191, 238, 239-241] The Plateau is at its narrowest in the Piteşti area, where it only reaches 30 km in width, as opposed to the 70-80 km average. ["Monografia geografică", p.239-240] The city has access to a piedmont plain, known as "Câmpia Piteştilor" ("Piteşti Plain") and characterized by water-meadows. ["Monografia geografică", p.191] To the west, it abuts the Trivale Forest, which has been partly set up as a leisure park.

Piteşti is adjacent to two reservoirs on the Argeş, in its Prundu area and in nearby Bascov (the Budeasa Dam).ro icon Dan Batucă, [http://www.mmediu.ro/other/phare/sitero/PDF-uri_facute/TR-4_Ghid_CAA_si_PM.pdf "Ghid metodologic pentru identificarea şi desemnarea corpurilor de apă puternic modificate şi artificiale"] , ARCADIS Euroconsult, Phare, 2005, at the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, p.64/105-65/105; retrieved July 19, 2007] It is situated downstream from Lake Vidraru and upstream from the reservoir in Bălileşti.


Early history

The earliest traces of human settlements in this area relate to the Paleolithic.ro icon [http://museum.ici.ro/muntenia/pitesti/romanian/descrierea_orasului_pitesti.htm "Istoria Oraşului"] , at [http://museum.ici.ro/ "Muzee din regiunile Romaniei"] ; retrieved July 17, 2007] Coins minted by the Dacian during the 3rd century BC, copying the design of Thracian "tetradrachmon" issued by Lysimachus, have been discovered here. [Giurescu, p.33] A small Roman "castrum" was built sometime in the 3rd century AD in the vicinity of present-day Piteşti (part of a protection system for Roman Dacia and Moesia). [ro icon Dragoş Măndescu, [http://www.centrul-cultural-pitesti.ro/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=634&Itemid=97 "Castrul roman de la Albota - un monument ignorat la marginea Piteştilor"] , at the [http://www.centrul-cultural-pitesti.ro/ Piteşti Cultural Center] ; retrieved July 17, 2007] During the Age of Migrations, the Piteşti area was, according to historian Constantin C. Giurescu, the site of trading between Vlachs and Slavs, which, in his opinion, was the origin of "Târgul din Deal" ("The Market on the Hill"), a separate locality. [Giurescu, p.47]

Piteşti itself was first mentioned on May 20, 1386, when Wallachian Prince Mircea I granted a mill in the area to Cozia Monastery.ro icon Gerard Călin, [http://www.centrul-cultural-pitesti.ro/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=586&Itemid=97 "Reşedinţa domnească temporară de la Piteşti"] , at the [http://www.centrul-cultural-pitesti.ro/ Piteşti Cultural Center] ; retrieved July 17, 2007] Piteşti was subsequently one of the temporary residences of Wallachian Princes. Due to its positioning on the junction of major European routes (and its proximity to the Saxon markets in Hermannstadt, Transylvania), the city originally developed as an important commercial center. [Andrei Oţetea, "The History of the Romanian People", Editura Ştiinţifică, 1970, p.446] By the late 14th century, it became home to a sizable Armenian community. [ro icon [http://www.divers.ro/armeni_scurt_istoric_ro "Armeni - Scurt istoric"] , at [http://www.divers.ro/ "Divers"] ; retrieved July 17, 2007]

At the time, the locality was only extending on the left bank of the Argeş, and gradually expanded over the river, reaching the hill slopes to the west (in the 19th century, it completely absorbed "Târgul din Deal"). [Giurescu, p.47] While Piteşti was commonly designated as a high-ranking town, a village of Piteşti was still mentioned as late as 1528, which led some historians to conclude that the village and urban area coexisted within the same boundaries.

Early Modern period

Although princely quarters have not been uncovered, among the rulers to issue documents from Piteşti were Basarab Ţepeluş cel Tânăr (1477-1481), Neagoe Basarab (1512-1521), Vlad Înecatul (1530-1532), Vlad Vintilă de la Slatina (1532-1535), Michael the Brave (1593-1601), Simion Movilă (1601-1602), Matei Basarab (1632-1654) and Constantin Şerban (1654-1658). In addition, Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714), who owned large sections of vineyard in the area, is reported to have spent several seasons in the town.

Under Vlad Vintilă, who allied himself with the Holy Roman Empire against his Ottoman overlords, Aloisio Gritti (governor of Ottoman Hungary) and his Wallachian boyar partisans camped in the Piteşti neighborhood of Războieni, where they were attacked and defeated by the Prince. In 1600-1601, troops of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, led by Jan Zamoyski, were stationed in Piteşti during their expedition against Michael the Brave ("see Moldavian Magnate Wars").ro icon Mariu Păduraru, [http://www.centrul-cultural-pitesti.ro/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=633&Itemid=97 "Oraşul Piteşti văzut de călători străini"] , at the [http://www.centrul-cultural-pitesti.ro/ Piteşti Cultural Center] ; retrieved July 17, 2007] Around that time, fighting occurred in and around the town as the new prince Radu Şerban clashed with the Ottomans and their Crimean Khanate allies.

Constantin Şerban financed the building of the Orthodox Saint George Church, completed in 1656; it was accompanied by a since-lost palace and adjacent gardens. Around that time, the city was visited by the Arab chronicler Paul of Aleppo and by the Swedish politician Claes Rålamb. It was during Brâncoveanu's rule that the city was home to "Stolnic" Constantin Cantacuzino, coinciding with the letters he exchanged with the English statesman William, Baron Paget. A tower and other princely houses, built by Brâncoveanu outside the town, gradually deteriorated over the 18th and 19th century (the last standing structure was lost in the 20th century). In 1689, Habsburg troops led by Louis William of Baden occupied the city as part of the Great Turkish War (they were repelled later that year).

18th and early 19th centuries

Luigi Mayer] In November 1714, as a direct result of Swedish defeats in the Great Northern War against Imperial Russia, Swedish King Charles XII unsuccessfully sought an alliance with Sultan Ahmed III; on his way back from Istanbul, the monarch, met by troops under the command of Axel Sparre, passed through Piteşti, and, after a three-week stay, made his way to Swedish Pomerania through Habsburg-ruled regions. During the Austro-Turkish War of 1716-1718, Habsburg troops attacked and captured the town; Piteşti was again the scene of battles during the Austro-Turkish War of 1737-1739.

In 1780, the Tuscan numismatist Domenico Sestini passed through the Argeş region, and described the town as having 250 houses and 7 churches. In 1804, the citizens requested to have an upper school opened (to offer lectures in Greek, the educational language of the time); their request was denied by Prince Constantine Ypsilantis. [Alex Drace-Francis, "The Making of Modern Romanian Culture: Literacy and the Development of National Identity", I. B. Tauris, London, 2006, p.50. ISBN 1845110668] During the 1790s, Piteşti was visited by Luigi Mayer, a German pupil of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, who left etchings of the region (including the very first one of Piteşti); they were published in London in 1810, with legends authored by T. Bowyer, whose caption for Piteşti read "nothing more wild or romantic can be conceived". [Lou Taylor, "Establishing Dress History", Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2004, p.20. ISBN 0719066395]

The town was an important location for events relating to the last stage of the Wallachian uprising of 1821 and the first stages of the Greek War of Independence: it was here that, in late spring 1821, the Wallachian rebel leader Tudor Vladimirescu settled after retreating from Bucharest, raising suspicion from his Eterist allies that he was planning to abandon the common cause (he was captured in the nearby locality of Băileşti and executed soon after, on orders from Eteria leader Alexander Ypsilantis). [William Harrison Ainsworth, "The Russians in Wallachia", in "The New Monthly Magazine and Humorist", Vol.91, 1851, p.33 D2]

Late 19th century

The city was developed further after the unification of the Danubian Principalities and the creation of the Romanian Kingdom. Around that time, and lasting until the interwar period, the city became a National Liberal center, largely due to the Brătianu family of politicians residing in the nearby locality of Ştefăneşti.ro icon Mircea Crăciun, [http://revista.memoria.ro/?location=view_article&id=644 "Relicve din perioada dictaturii comuniste în judeţul Argeş"] , in [http://revista.memoria.ro/ "Memoria"] ; retrieved July 17, 2007] Their manor, "Florica", housed most major reunions of the National Liberal Party leaders. For a short period in 1882, Piteşti was home to dramatist Ion Luca Caragiale, which has led some to propose that it was the unnamed National Liberal-dominated city depicted in Caragiale's famous play "O scrisoare pierdută". [Şerban Cioculescu, "Caragialiana", Editura Eminescu, Bucharest, 1974, p.202-203. OCLC|6890267]

By 1872, a national railway connection with the capital Bucharest and Târgovişte was built, at the same time as one linking Bucharest with Ploieşti through Chitila. [Giurescu, p.155] Overseen by Imperial German financier Bethel Henry Strousberg, this was the second project of its kind in Romania (after the Bucharest-Giurgiu rail link of 1869). [Giurescu, p.155] The Piteşti Town Hall was completed in 1886, and currently houses an art gallery. The Argeş County Prefecture, designed by Dimitrie Maimarolu, was erected in 1898-1899 on the site previously occupied by an Orthodox hermitage; it is the present-day site of the County Museum of History and Natural Sciences. Both buildings are eclectic in style, and feature frescoes painted by Iosif Materna.

In 1868-1869, Piteşti was also the first city in Romania to have a recorded Seventh-day Adventist community, formed around Michał Belina-Czechowski, a Polish preacher and former Roman Catholic priest who had returned from the United States (the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Romania was established only after 1918). [Earl A. Pope, "Protestantism in Romania", in Sabrina Petra Ramet (ed), "Protestantism and Politics in Eastern Europe and Russia: The Communist and Postcommunist Eras", Duke University Press, Durham, 1992, p.186. ISBN 0822312417]

20th century

From late autumn 1916 to 1918, during the World War I battles on the Romanian front, Piteşti was occupied by the troops of the Central Powers. The city was originally abandoned by the Romanian Army and taken by the German commander August von Mackensen as the front stabilized on the Olt River, before Mackensen was able to occupy Bucharest and the entire southern Romania. [Pamfil Şeicaru, "La Roumanie dans la Grande guerre", Éditions Minard, Paris, 1968, p.332-334]

During World War II, when the fascist National Legionary State was proclaimed by the Iron Guard, a bronze bust of former Premier Armand Călinescu (whom the Guard had assassinated in September 1939), was chained and dragged through the streets of Piteşti. [Nicolae Ciobanu, "Armand Călinescu: Jertfă pentru liniştea şi independenţa ţării. «Omul de oţel» împotriva Gărzii de Fier", in "Dosarele Istoriei", 6/IV (1999), p.60] The city was sporadically bombed by the Allies: on July 4, 1944, it was struck by a section of the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force ("see Bombing of Romania in World War II"). [Charles E. Francis, Adolph Caso, "The Tuskegee Airmen: The Men Who Changed a Nation", Branden Books, Wellesley, 1997, p.149. ISBN 0828320292]

In the 1950s, the city gained an ill notoriety, when the communist authorities used the local detention facility to subject political detainees to the infamous "Reeducation", in which violence between inmates was encouraged to the point of being mandatory ("see Piteşti prison"). The experiment was carried out by the Securitate and overseen by Alexandru Nicolschi; its goal was to psychologically destroy the capacity for outside attachment and outside loyalty, thus creating the brainwashed "New Man" meant to suit a Leninist society. [Cioroianu, p.317] It was canceled after five years. At a trial held in 1953-1954, twenty-two inmate-participants were sentenced, with sixteen being condemned to death for their role in the experiment. [Cioroianu, p.318] In 1957, a new trial convicted certain members of the prison staff, who received light sentences; they were later pardoned. [ro icon Teodor Wexler, [http://revista.memoria.ro/?location=view_article&id=419 "Procesul sioniştilor"] , in [http://revista.memoria.ro/ "Memoria"] ; retrieved July 17, 2007]

In parallel, the city underwent numerous changes in landscape, including the completion of the A1 freeway, the first road of its kind, during the 1960s, and the acceleration of industrialization with a focus on the chemical and automotive industries. Around 1950, the Piteşti area accommodated Greek refugees who supported ELAS during the Civil War (part of the buildings raised for this purpose were later used to house resettled peasants). "Florica" was nationalized in 1948, and was later partly devastated by Romanian Communist Party activists (for a while during the 1970s, it served as the residence of Communist politician Ion Dincă). The bust of Ion Brătianu, standing in front of the Saint Nicholas Church, was removed and melted, and the church itself was demolished in 1962.


Piteşti is one of the most industrialized cities in Romania. It is the center of the automotive industry in the country: the Automobile Dacia automaker is situated in the nearby town of Mioveni, and several other automobile parts manufacturers are located within its urban area (Dräxlmaier, Lear Corporation and Valeo). The city also houses the Arpechim oil refinery, part of the Petrom group. The plant, established as a state-owned company during the communist regime, has traditionally been the center of controversy over its air pollution records. In 2007, the Ministry of the Environment withdrew Arpechim's permit, but Petrom contested the decision in court.ro icon [http://www.romanialibera.ro/a98068/arpechim-reporneste.html "Arpechim reporneşte"] , in "România Liberă", June 13, 2007] The plant is scheduled to gradually reduce its activity over a period of several years, pending eventual closure.

The city is surrounded by hills, being the center of an area rich in wineries and plum orchards. The latter give one of the finest Romanian "ţuicas": "ţuica de Piteşti". The Ştefăneşti winery, situated on the opposite bank of the Argeş River, is one of the best known in Romania.


The city is home to a County Theater, named in honor of playwright Alexandru Davila. Its branches include a puppet theater (created in 1949), the "Estrada" section for open-air performances (1958), and a folklore section (1970).ro icon [http://www.cjarges.ro/obj.asp?id=2418 "Teatrul Alexandru Davila"] at the [http://www.cjarges.ro/ Argeş County Council] ; retrieved July 17, 2007] The Theater's Studio 125 was established in May 1975 by director Liviu Ciulei. A public library, named after intellectual figure Dinicu Golescu, was created in 1869 through a donation made by Paraschiva Stephu, a female member of the upper class; a large part of its volumes were donated by historian George Ionescu-Gion in 1904. [ro icon [http://www.cjarges.ro/obj.asp?id=2123 "Biblioteca Judeţeană"] at the [http://www.cjarges.ro/ Argeş County Council] ; retrieved July 17, 2007]

The city houses two universities: the state-run University of Piteşti and the private Constantin Brâncoveanu University (founded 1991, with branches in Brăila and Râmnicu Vâlcea). There are 17 secondary education institutions, including two main high schools — the Ion Brătianu High School (founded 1866) and the Zinca Golescu High School.

Each year during springtime, Piteşti is host to a festival and fair known as "Simfonia lalelelor" (the "Tulip Symphony"). Tulips were introduced locally in 1972-1973, when around 3,000 bulbs brought from Arad and Oradea were planted in its central area, along with other flowers.ro icon [http://simfonialalelelor-pitesti.ro/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=16&Itemid=37 "Istoria lalelelor"] , at the [http://simfonialalelelor-pitesti.ro/ "Simfonia lalelelor"] official site; retrieved march 8, 2008] Piteşti consequently acquired a reputation as a tulip-growing area, and the flower-themed festival was first organized by the local authorities in 1978.


The major football club in the city is FC Argeş Piteşti, which plays in Liga I, and has the Nicolae Dobrin Stadium as its home ground. In addition, the city has a football club in Liga II, Internaţional Piteşti, and a school which doubles as a junior team, Sporting Piteşti.ro icon [http://www.sporting.ro/info.html Sporting Piteşti (official site)] ] Piteşti hosts two basketball teams, BCA Piteşti and BCMUS Piteşti, as well as a women's volleyball team, Argeş Volei Piteşti.

The city is home to an Olympic size swimming pool, the home ground for CSM Piteşti, and a public outdoor swimming pool in the Tudor Vladimirescu area. Nearby Bascov also has a public swimming place, on grounds adjacent to the Budeasa Dam. The national canoe racing also trains at the Budeasa Dam sports base, and the location is also used for recreational fishing. A tennis challenger tournament ("Turneul challenger feminin Piteşti") takes place each year, on grounds in Bascov.


*Ion Antonescu
*Ilie Bărbulescu
*Mauriciu Blank
*Alexandru Bogdan-Piteşti
*Ion Brătianu
*Armand Călinescu
*Nicolae Comănescu
*Nicolae Dică
*Nicolae Dobrin
*Ruxandra Dragomir
*Haralamb H. Georgescu
*Al. Gherghel
*George Ionescu-Gion
*Alexandru Kiriţescu
*Cristian Minculescu
*Marian Oprea
*Sebastian Papaiani
*Mircea Parligras
*Costin Petrescu
*Rudolf Schweitzer-Cumpăna
*Lavinia Stan
*Tudor Teodorescu-Branişte
*Teo Trandafir
*Ion Trivale
*Lucian Turcescu
*Robert Turcescu

ister cities

*flagicon|Sweden Borlänge
*flagicon|Italy Caserta
*flagicon|Serbia Kragujevac
*flagicon|Philippines Muntinlupa
*flagicon|USA Springfield, Ohio



*"Monografia geografică a Republicii Populare Romîne", Vol. I: "Geografia fizică", Editura Academiei RPR, Bucharest, 1960
*Adrian Cioroianu, "Pe umerii lui Marx. O introducere în istoria comunismului românesc", Editura Curtea Veche, Bucharest, 2005. ISBN 973-669-175-6
*Constantin C. Giurescu, "Istoria Bucureştilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre", Editura Pentru Literatură, Bucharest, 1966. OCLC|1279610

External links

* [http://www.upit.ro/ Piteşti University]
* [http://www.memorialsighet.ro/en/sala.asp?id=35 Piteşti prison at the Sighet Memorial]

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