Botosani City is the capital and largest city of Botosani County. It has a population of about 115,070 inhabitants and is located in the south-west of the county between the rivers Sitna and Dresleuca, westward between Dresleuca and Siret, then descends between the hills Crivăţ Agafton, Baisa, relying on the deep platform Moldova.
Botosani, a large trade fair
Despite the cultural explosion that boasts today, Botosani was recognized from its inception as a major trade fair-status that he kept for a long time. Economic and commercial virtues that enshrined the city in the past have their explanation in the favorable geographical position or proximity to high waters of the country, Siret and Prut, plus access to major trade routes crossing the Moldova.
It remains a big shopping center until the late nineteenth century when, unfortunately, the country’s railway system switched the city on a secondary line. Information dating back to the reign of Petru Rares confirmed not only the statute of high trade fair but especially the trade with fairs in neighboring countries of Botoşani. At the exhibition in Paris in 1889, Botosani gets the “great gold medal” for the “first steam mills company from Botosani” and at the exhibition in 1900 was assessed with “Grand Prize”. By 1845 about 30 percent of the Botosani families belonged to craftsmen and 34 percent to traders. In 1892 was founded the first saving society in Botosani and two years later already arises a branch of Agricultural Bank in the form of a joint stock company. It should be noted that in the old city center, it is still kept the underground structure of the fair, with vaulted cellars stacked. These sheltered for centuries the goods of the fair and were the refuge for the people during repeated invasions.
Old Center, the oldest part of the city
The old architecture of existing buildings especially in the historic center of the city is a focal point for any tourist who walks the city threshold. The desire of the inhabitants of this city and of the local government was rehabilitating the chain buildings that form the old center. The work is currently carried out through a project financed with European funds which will certainly make this place a true architectural gem.
Old Center is the oldest part of the city in terms of architecture, which brings together a large number of apartment buildings dating from the XVII – XVIII. The buildings are arranged in L, and facades facing the street are the most diverse architectural forms, especially Western specific, creatively processed in traditional forms specific to this type of construction. Interior courtyards present the classical arrangement of the townsmen houses, with galleries of wooden pillars, wrought iron balconies and windows supported by wooden brackets.
The Town Hall building- brief history
In 1851, the Ruler of Moldavia, Grigore Alexandru Ghica, buys the houses Codrescu-Basota bestowing them through a generous gesture to “Eforia Botosani” as a sign of veneration to the city whose illustrious son was. The house belonged to steward Enachi Codrescu being located on the spot of the present town hall. The document of donation is kept in original in Botosani Branch of the National Archives.
The edifice you see today was built in the late eighteenth century in the eclectic style of German influence. In the mid-nineteenth century the building sheltered the Courthouse. Mihai Eminescu himself was employed here for a short period as a copyist of the Court in October 1864- March 1865. The building was restored for the first time between 1900-1914. The renovated architecture is still keeping their ancient type of quality house models representative for mansions of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with high ground floor and arcaded gallery in front of the main entrance, for the passage of carriages.
In 2008 were triggered extensive renovations works by the restoration of the building’s structure recognized as a symbol of Botosani City.
Communities that used to live in Botosani
In Botosani have lived over the time not only Romanians but also Russian-Lippovans, Hebrews, Armenians, Greeks and gypsies. Her vast majority of the population is Orthodox.
The first inhabitants of other ethnic groups who came and settled in Botosani were Armenians, since the 14th -15th. They have built near the Old Center two beautiful churches and numerous homes and shops. In 1809 Armenian colony had 1640 members, included in a number of 328 families.
Hebrew community existed in Botosani since the 14th century. First Hebrews come from Poland. Their numbers grew after 1775 when Bukovina is annexed by the Habsburg Empire, so in 1781 the Jewish community in the city to have an appointed head. In the nineteenth century the population increased also as a result of infiltration across the border, the number of Jews has undergone a significant evolution, so that in 1899 they represented 51% of the population of the city. Shortly before World War I, Jews represented however less than half the city’s population.
Lippovans came to Moldovia in the early 18th century after a conflict with the reformist patriarch of Russia, Niphon. In 1832 Lippovan colony in Botosani counts 58 families settled in New Fair slum, where they also had a chapel. In 1853 the chapel was replaced by a beautiful church wall.
An ethnic group with a special structure sitting in Botosani are the gypsies. Born in India, Gypsies arrived in Moldova from the early Middle Ages. In Botosani first indication of an area inhabited by Gypsies appears in 1815. It was referring to “gypsies” near halls today.
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