Bacău

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Bacău (Romanian pronunciation: [baˈkəw]  ( listen), German: Barchau, Hungarian: Bákó) is the main city in Bacău County, Romania. It covers a land surface of 43 km², and, as of January 1, 2009, has an estimated population of 183,484.[1] The city is situated in the historical region of Moldavia, at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, and on the Bistriţa River (which meets the Siret River about 8 kilometres (5 miles) to the south of Bacău). The Ghimeş Pass links Bacău to Transylvania.

Contents

History

The earliest known reference to the city dates from 1408, during the rule of Moldavian Prince Alexandru cel Bun. The etymology is unclear, but one possibility is being derived from the name of a medieval Hungarian innkeeper, Bakó, who, supposedly, had an inn on the current road from Bacău to Roman, whose lodging was, according to legend, the first in the town of Bacău. Interestingly, the "Bakó" word is a fairly common Hungarian last name, meaning "executioner" in Hungarian. Another theory suggests that the name may have a Slavic origin, pointing to the Proto-Slavic word byk, meaning "ox" or "bull", the region being very suitable for raising cattle; the term, rendered into Romanian alphabet as bâc, was probably the origin of Bâcău (БѪКЪУ in Romanian Cyrillic, a name by which the town is mentioned in several medieval documents).

From around 1591 to 1789, the city was home to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Bacău. That office was always held by a priest from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. During World War I and the occupation of Bucharest by the Central Powers, Bacău was the headquarters of the Romanian Army.

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