Located in the south-western part of Romania, the Dolj county extends between 44°00' and 44°30' North latitude and between 22°00' and 23°00' East longitude and is crossed from the North to the South by the Jiu river, actually bearing its name: Doljiu means the "Lower Jiu".
The total area of 7717 km represents 3.1 percent of Romania's surface and shares the borders with the following counties: Mehedinti in the West , Gorj and Valcea in the North, Olt in the East. To the South, there is the Danube establishing a 150 km border with Bulgaria.
The relief consists of the Danube river meadow, plains and hills with mild climate and a mean annual temperature of 11,5°C.
The altitude rises from 30 meters in the Southern part of the county to 350 meters in the North, as if in a huge amphitheater stretching towards the sun.
In this area there live about 770,000 inhabitants grouped in two cities, three towns and 94 communes, 51 percent of the population living in urban area.
The Dolj county's land was richly blessed with material and spiritual wealth created in time by its inhabitants, people that proved to have a vivid and expressive spirituality. As an argument for the ideas there stand the prehistorical cultures: Carna, Verbicioara, Salcuta, Carcea and Cotofeni, dating since the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods, and beyond this the numerous Daco-Roman archeological sites. Archeological testimonies certify a prosperous life within the cities and villages located in the Jiu land, the Geto-Dacian society reaching here the highest point in its development during Burebista and Decebal reign; the Pelendava castrum, whose name was assumed by the Romans too and put down in the Tabula Peutingeriana certified in the year 225 A.D.
The county's territory was crossed by fortifications, out of which the most important one realized in the fourth century on a West-East direction, it was "Brazda lui Novac". The great number of settlements and the demographical rise in the beginning of the second millenium led to a social and economical dynamic and to the development of some pre-state political bodies.
In the first half of the thirteenth century a cnezat, a political formation, became noticed, the one ruled by Ioan the First , character known from the documents as being part of the great aristocratic family of the Craiovescu. This family played an important role in the political life of the feudal state of Wallachia as a leading family of the most important official institution in Oltenia, the Bania , recorded in 1475 in an official document of the ruler Laiota Basarab. At the end of the fifteenth century Craiova became the residence of the Bania in Oltenia and later, in the eighteenth century, of the caimacamia.
Throughout the years some members of the Craiovesti aristocratic family became kings of the country: Neagoe Basarab , Radu de la Afumati , Radu Serban , Constantin Serban , Serban Cantacuzino and Constantin Brancoveanu . The Great Bania of Oltenia became a primal institution during the reign of Mihai Viteazul , when the leadership of the Bania was given to Preda Buzescu.
During the Fanariot regime, the nobility of Craiova showed its hostility towards the rulers imposed by the Turks. The Austrian domination in Oltenia during 1718-1739 caused a considerable worsening of the economical obligations and of the fiscality, thus leading to a strong movement of the outlaws and even to opposing actions of the nobility towards the Habsburgian administration.
Between the years 1770-1771, Craiova, the city of the Bania, carried on the duty of being the capital of Wallachia. Wallachia's last two rulers were given by another aristocratic great family in Craiova-the Bibescu family: Grigorie Dimitrie Bibescu and Barbu Dimitrie Stirbei .
The inhabitants of this part of country took part to all the important moments of our national history. In 1821 the inhabitants of the nowdays Dolj county participated in great number to the revolution led by Tudor Vladimirescu . In 1848 Nicolae Balcescu, Gheorghe Magheru, I.Heliade Radulescu and the citizen of Craiova Costache Romanescu took the leadership of the provisional government.
The 1877-1878 Independence War reunited in the line of fire many soldiers coming from this geographical area, directly territorially involved through the towns near the Danube: Calafat and Poiana Mare, where the Headquarters of the Romanian troops carried on their activity.
The period following the Independence War was a time of economical and cultural progress. As a result, at the end of the nineteenth century, in the 40,000-inhabitants city of Craiova, there were small factories and workshops of textiles, chemical products, farming machines and construction materials.
In the year 1910 Craiova's population numbered 51,400 inhabitants, Craiova being considered the second town after the capital.
During the First World War the people of the Dolj county fought hard against the foreign occupation, giving their lives for the 1918 reunification of the Romanian people.
The period between the two World Wars can be characterized by an economy preponderantly based on farming, situation that slowed the process of industrialization and led to the development of a social class of important landowners, people who invested their fortunes in magnificent palaces, banks and commercial companies.
After the Second World War, in the area there have developped the machine industry, the food industry, the chemical industry, the light industry, the construction materials industry, the electrotechnie industry, the drilling and mining industry and also the aeronautical industry.
Nowadays the Dolj county has a population of 770,000 inhabitants divided as following:
The rest of the county's population lives in 94 communes summing 364 villages.
- the city of Craiova , of approximately 300,000 inhabitants, the most important town, the administrative center of the county. It includes numerous industrial units specialized in different areas: the machine industry (Electroputere, I.U.G., M.A.T., I.A., I.R.L.), the electronics industry (Electroputere), the chemical industry (Doljchim), the food industry (The Beer Factory, Lactido, Frigorifer, Bachus S.A), the textiles industry (The Clothes Works), the construction materials industry (Elpreco), the furniture industry (Metal-Lemn), the car industry (Daewoo);
- the city of Calafat , with approximately 22,000 inhabitants; it has a rich historical background. It includes industrial companies specialized in food industry and textiles; it also has a harbour, representing an important passing-by point of the border with Bulgaria.
- the Bailesti town, with a population of 22,000 inhabitants, has a an important agricultural-industrial profile with important farming units and also industrial ones in the fields of electronics, mechanics and the foundry of metals;
- the Filiasi town, with a population of 20,000 inhabitants, has industrial units in the fields of electronics, mechanics and wood industry.
- the Segarcea town, with a population of 8,500 inhabitants, has industrial units in the food industry and chemical field, being also a powerful farming center.
- the Dabuleni town, with a population of 13,700 inhabitants, a powerful farming center.
- the Bechet town, with a population of 13,700 inhabitants, a harbour to Danube river.
The Dolj county takes up 3.1 percent of the total surface and 3.9 percent of the country's farmlands. Farming offers the greatest number of jobs, representing a major part in the internal product of the county. The farmlands sum up 590,000 ha, of which 320,000 ha irrigated and 470,000 ha private property. The fact that 40 percent of the farming land is represented by cernosiom, the best kind of soil, Underlines the possibilities farming can offer in Dolj. For turning to good account the Dolj farming production, numerous factories were set up in the milling-bread industry, milk industry, sugar industry, beer, edible oil, the processing and preservation of fruits and also in the alcohol industry. All these technologies and productions centers, doubled by a qualified workforce, represent a field of major importance in top quality products promotion, products meant for the internal and external markets.
The county's forested areas stretch over 81,500 ha, among which 11,500 ha are private property. The forests house a reach fauna: the stag, the deer, the fox, the wild boar.
The total surface of waters and pools is of 22,000 ha, among which 5,000 ha private property.
The richness in fish of these waters, especially in the past, led to the use of the fish symbol on the coat-of-arms of the Dolj county.
Fruits harvested from over 10,000 ha of orchards represent also an important richness of this county.
The transport network consists of 221 km of railways, 424 km of national motorways and 1,621 km of county roads plus an airport.
The Chamber of Commerce registered in Dolj a number of approximately of 185,000 economic agents. There are also registered 600 companies with foreign capital, most of them with little capital. Economic agents are in great number in the cities - 15,000 and only 3,000 in the country side.
Throughout the centuries, the inhabitants of this land were characterized by their tolerance and their faith in God. The city of Craiova houses the Orthodox Church in Oltenia represented by Craiova Archbishopric and the Oltenia Metropolitan Church .
In the Dolj county there were built lots of churches: Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Adventist, Evangelist and synagogues too. Many of these churches represent architectural and historical monuments of great value.
Together with the church, school has an essential contribution in forming the youths. In the beginning it was set up in the nearby churches. In 1775 it was set up the grounding of the public school of the Obedeanu Monastery , school transformed in 1822 in a princely school where, aside Romanian language, there were also taught French and Greek. Nowadays in the Dolj county area there are functioning approximately 900 education centers where there learn some 150,000 young people, 10 percent of them being students, prepared by 12,000 teachers.
The educational system consists of 400 kindergartens, 380 schools, 48 high-schools, 28 technical schools. The approximately 15,000 students are grouped in two universities that include 16 faculties summed with some private faculties, educational centers that prepare students in all fields: humanistic, technics, law, economy, medicine, agriculture, sport, theology.
The quality of the educational system in this part of the country determined that along the time no less than 75 Romanian academicians proceeded only from "Carol I National College" in Craiova, among them being famous names like: Gheorghe Titeica and Simion Stoilov -mathematicians, Ilie Murgulescu and Eugen Angelescu - chemists, C. Radulescu-Motru - philosopher, Stefan Milcu and Dimitrie Gerota - physicians, C.S.Nicolaescu-Plopsor - archeologist, the great diplomat Nicolae Titulescu and many others.
The famous plastic artists Constantin Lecca , Theodor Aman , Ion Tuculescu , and the writers Mihail Drumes , Gib Mihaescu , Alexandru Macedonski graduated the same high school.
So it was logic for this part of the country to get noticed in the cultural space of Romania. In Dolj there are 19 museums in which there are kept and shown past and present values. This direction is followed by the Oltenia Museum with departments of history, ethnography and natural sciences, the Art Museum , the keeper of Romanian and universal art masterpieces: the Brancusi Hall where it can be seen the famous work "The Kiss" - the first woodwork in the modern sculpture.
The Craiova County Library , set up by Alexandru and Aristia Aman, together with the others 400 distributed in the rest of the county bring their contribution to the cultural life in Dolj. Among the cultural activities that take place in these institutions there are to be noticed the valuable works of local and national writers and also the art exhibitions. The Oltenia State Philharmonic set up in 1850 and the Opera and Operetta Theatre dating since 1961 provide and perform repertoires meant to satisfy the exigency of every music fan.
The Puppets Theatre funded in 1949 carries on its activity despite the lack of space, winning national and international fame.
The National Theatre in Craiova, dating from 1850 offered in time a top performance; since 1992 it has conquered the countries from all the continents where it performed, being awarded in many drama festivals. So one can understand why the Craiova National Theatre became the promoter of the "William Shakespeare'lnternational Theatre Festival.
The Dolj county is written with capital letters in the Romanian sport book: athletics, indoor sports, riding, team sports. Among the Dolj sportmen there were and are world champions and Olympic champions, one of the county's prides being the local soccer team "Universitatea Craiova" with an acknowledged European participation.
For the healthcare of the Dolj county's inhabitants there are 95 health units, 12 hospitals and a sanatorium where there work approximately 10,000 medical personnel. Among these is to be noticed the County Clinical Hospital , with a capacity of 1,600 beds, which also helps the neighbouring counties.
For the tourist visiting the Dolj county there are available 1,100 accommodation places in hotels, inns, motels and villas.
Aside the historical sights, the architectural and art monuments that lure the tourists to visiting Dolj, a stroll through the "Romanescu" Park becomes compulsory, as the Park is an architectural landscape monument and it is considered to be the most beautiful in the country and the largest in Europe.
Information from the book:
Dolj county - monographic album, 1999