Ploiesti city located near Bucharest has a long history. For some, it is known as Romania’s oldest industrial centre while for others it is known as the city that hosts the only Engineering Petroleum University in the country. Back in the days, it was called the “black gold” city. In fact, its name came from the noun “ploi” (which means rain) thanks to a local legend of an old man called Ploaie. Nowadays it is promoted more as a city of the poets, artists and the actors that made a big impact in Romanian history.
Unfortunately, it has barely any tourists. Besides the foreigners that come to study at the mentioned university and whom by the way stick to the campus, there is no tourism. However, the city’s economy is growing and a lot of foreign companies invest their capital here. For example, Coca-Cola Company first opened in Ploiesti in 1995 (and then in another two Romanian cities) and it is the biggest one in South-East Europe. I still remember during my elementary school years when we used to be taken there with the school and given free coke bottles. It was such a joy to us.
There are many museums and Memorial Halls dedicated to different poets, writers, politicians. Besides that, along with the communist blocks of flats, one can see many old buildings, some not well preserved. Back in the 19th century, Ploiesti city used to have a large foreign population composed of Jews, Germans, Hungarians due to its location between Transylvania and Muntenia. They contributed a lot to the development of the city. Today only the foreign names given to the streets are a reminiscence of those times.
It also offers unique things like Petroleum Museum and Clock Museum. Another record is that in Ploiesti in the 19th century with American funds the first large refinery in the world was opened. Therefore, during the Second World War, Ploiesti was an important source of oil. This had a big consequence: most of the city was destroyed by the bombardments. During the communist era, it was highly industrialized and it keeps that facade until today.
Another cultural activity would be trying out Ploiesti Philharmonic Orchestra which hosts big international artists like Paavo Berglund and Josu de Solaun. Sometimes foreign pianists or orchestra bands hold concerts there.
And my favourite place in the city would be the theatre Toma Caragiu. He was a famous Romanian actor deceased during Romania’ s biggest earthquake in 1977. There are many plays but so far no play in English.
People in Ploiesti city love football. There is a big stadium and a local football team. Even the team’s name is Petroleum Ploiesti. For those who want to experience the Romanian football while visiting Ploiesti city it is worth.
Located 6 km from the downtown, there is an aerodrome. For the adventurous out there, there are flying class, parachuting and piloting small planes.
There is also a big park (Constantin Stere Memorial Park or known as Park Bucov) which offers different ways of leisure. Inside there is a zoo which I personally do not recommend as the animals look thin and unhappy.
Usually, when there are local holidays, people gather there for bbq or pop concerts.
When it comes to traditional food there are not many places and the most famous one is La Placinte located in Winmarkt Mall in the centre of the city. There are three shopping malls and the locals like to go out there. Unfortunately, fast food chains like Mc Donalds and KFC are very popular.