Though likely settled much earlier, Ploiești was first mentioned in documents in the 16th century, during the reign of Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave), Prince of Wallachia. It flourished as a center for trade and handicraft manufacturing in the 17th and 18th centuries. The road connecting Ploiești to Brașov opened in 1864, and the railway arrived in 1882. Many schools and hospitals date from this time.
In the mid-19th century the Ploiești region was one of the world's leading oil extraction and refinery sites. The world's first large refinery opened at Ploiești in 1856-1857, with US investment. The city is also remembered as the site of the self-styled Republic of Ploiești, a short-lived 1870 revolt against the Romanian monarchy.
Ploiești's oil production made it a target during the invasion of Romania by the Central Powers in 1916, but a British Army operation under John Norton-Griffiths destroyed production and sabotaged much of the infrastructure of the industry.
Although badly damaged after the November 1940 earthquake, the city was a significant1 source of oil for Nazi Germany. The Allies made Ploiești a target of the Oil Campaign of World War II and attacked it repeatedly, such as during the HALPRO and Operation Tidal Wave at a great loss, without producing any significant delay in operation or production. Ploieşti was captured by Soviet troops in August 1944.
Following the war, the new Communist regime nationalised the oil industry, which had largely been privately owned, and made massive investments in the oil and petroleum industry in a bid to modernise the country and repair the war damage.
The population of Ploiești went from 56,460, as indicated by the December 1912 census returns, up to 252,715 in January 1992. Since the fall of Communism, however, the city's population continues to gently fall due both to emigration and to a declining birth rate. At the 2002 census, the population reduced to 232,527. As of 2011 census data, Ploiești has a population of 197,542, while the proposed Ploiești metropolitan area would have a population of 266,457.
The majority of the inhabitants are Romanians (90.64%) but a roma minority is also present (2.4%). For 6.65% of the population, the ethnicity is unknown. Most of the people living in Ploiești are Orthodox Christians (90.7%).
The population of Ploiești grew at a rapid pace because of the intense economic development of the area. In 1810, during the years of the Ottoman occupation there were only around 2024 inhabitants in the present-day city. In 1837 this grew to 3,000 inhabitants, 11 years after the Union in 1859 the population was 26,458 while in 1884 the number stood at 32,000. During the early 20th century, the population of Ploiești grew even more, due to the expansion of the petrol industry. Even though the city was bombed during the World War II, the population of Ploiești recovered, numbering 95.632 inhabitants in January 1948.
After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, Ploiești experienced rapid economic growth due to major investments from foreign companies. The city is situated at just 60 km (37 mi) north of Bucharest, with promising infrastructure projects currently underway. It is a strong industrial center, focused especially on the oil production and refining industry. Although oil production in the region is declining steadily, there is still a thriving processing industry with four operating oil refineries, linked by pipelines to Bucharest, the Black Sea port of Constanţa and the Danube port of Giurgiu. Ploiești also has a long history as a textile manufacturing center.
The city has become a hub of foreign investment. Companies such as OMV-Petrom, Lukoil, Shell Gas, Timken, Yazaki, Coca-Cola, Efes Pilsener, British American Tobacco, Federal-Mogal, and Interbrew have operations there, and retailers like Carrefour, Metro, Selgros, Kaufland, Billa, Bricostore, Praktiker, Lidl, Obi, Auchan, Profi, Mega Image have found in Ploieşti a continuously growing market. There are two McDonald's restaurants in Ploieşti and three KFCs - the first opened in 2006 and the most recent in 2013 in AFI Palace Ploiești.
The German retailer Tengelmann built a depot in Ploieşti to support a €200 million regional expansion plan. With its Interex (ro) operation, the French independent retailer Intermarché intends to become a distribution leader in the Balkans. In Romania the first Interex store was opened in June 2002 in Ploieşti. The Interex depot and facilities were bought by Penny Market XXL in 2014.
Unilever has a detergent plant in Ploiești. By transferring their food production to Ploiești, the company will concentrate all its activities in Romania at the same location. At the beginning of March 2006, Unilever announced they would invest money to build one production center in Romania, and the construction of the new food plant is part of this plan.
In 1950, as a milestone in the development of the petroleum, hydrocarbon processing, and petrochemical industries, the Engineering and Design Institute for Oil Refineries and Petrochemical Plants, SC IPIP SA, a Romanian company with a large range of capabilities and experience, was established at Ploiești.
In Ploiești there are four local televisions: Ploiești TV, Valea Prahovei TV, Wyll TV and Prahova TV.
Ploiești is situated on the A3 motorway (partially completed as of Spring 2014), the main route to Romania's northern and western provinces and the Western EU. Henri Coandă International Airport is 45 km (28 mi) distant, and the ski resorts of the Prahova Valley can be reached in an hour's drive. The scarcity of modern motorways and well-built roads around Ploiești, as in Romania in general, makes transport a challenge. Under the scrutiny of the EU, several motorway improvement projects are planned or in progress.
Ploiești is the second most important railway center in the country after Bucharest, linking Bucharest with Transylvania and Moldavia. The city's public transportation system is run by Transport Călători Express (TCE Ploiești) and includes an extensive network of buses, trolleybuses and trams/streetcars. Ploieşti's distinctive yellow bus fleet is one of the most modern in Southeastern Europe, providing connections to all areas within the city, for a daily average of 150,000 passengers. The municipal roads comprise over 800 streets with a total length of 324 km (201 mi). Around 5,300 vehicles transit Ploieşti each day, with East and West ring belts diverting much traffic. The municipal vehicle fleet comprised 216 buses, 32 trams and 25 trolleybuses carrying about 70 millions passengers annually. There are 33 bus lines, with a total length of 415.46 km (258.15 mi); two trolley-bus lines having a total length of 19.9 km (12.4 mi) and two tram lines having a total length of 23.8 km (14.8 mi).
Ploiești is home to the Ploiești Philharmonic Orchestra—one of the top-rated philharmonic orchestras in Romania, a prominent football club in Liga I, Petrolul, women handball club CSM Ploieşti from Liga Națională and basketball team CSU Asesoft.
There are many cultural and architectural monuments, including the Cultural Palace; the Clock Museum, featuring a collection of clocks and watches gathered by Nicolae Simache; the Oil Museum; the Art Museum of Ploiești, donated by the Quintus family; and the Hagi Prodan Museum, dating to 1785: the property of a merchant named Ivan Hagi Prodan, it contains elements of old Romanian architecture and for a short time after World War I it hosted the first museum in Ploiești, "Prahova's Museum". In August 2011, Ploiești hosted the Golden Carpathian European Film & Fair and Goran Bregovic concert.
Several prominent writers have been affiliated with the city, including Ion Luca Caragiale, Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea, Ioan A. Bassarabescu, Nichita Stănescu, Geo Bogza, Radu Tudoran, composer Paul Constantinescu and philosopher Petre P. Negulescu. Three graduates of the "Sfinții Petru și Pavel" High school were presidents of the Romanian Academy: Andrei Rădulescu, Mihai Drăgănescu and Eugen Simion.
The first school in Ploiești was opened in 1777 and by 1832 several other elementary schools are opened. Secondary education is first offered in 1864.
Ploiești is home to the following universities and colleges:Oil & Gas University, founded in 1948
George Barițiu University, founded in 2002
Important secondary schools in Ploiești are:I.L. Caragiale National College
Mihai Viteazul National College
National College "Jean Monnet"
Virgil Madgearu Economic College
Spiru Haret High school
Al. Ioan Cuza National College
Nichita Stănescu Highschool
Lazar Edeleanu Technical College
Carmen Sylva National College (Liceul de artă)
Constantin Brâncoveanu Military School
Toma N. Socolescu Highschool
The Mio-Pliocene Zone in the Ploiești region has been exploited for hydrocarbons and coal since the 19th Century. The zone extends from the flysch on the north to the Moesian Platform on the south. The zone is marked by alternating deposits of Clay, Marl, Shale and Sand, conglomerate, Salt and Limestone. Structural traps and stratigraphic traps are formed from Salt Diapirism which gave rise to anticline folds and faulting. There are four major alignments of the anticlines, all parallel to the Carpathian Range. Pliocene sands are the main oil and gas producers, in particular the Meotian (60%) and Dacian (29%), followed by the Miocene Sarmatian (5%) but some oil exists in Miocene Helvetian and Oligocene sandstones. Major producing structures include Moreni-Gura Ocnitei, Baicoi-Tintea and Boldesti.
Ploiești lies in the center of Muntenia, in the central-northern part of the Romanian Plain. It lies close to the capital city Bucharest and it had close connections with the capital city throughout the centuries. Ploiești lies at the 25°E meridian and the 44°55’N parallel (north). The city occupies a total surface of around 60 km2, out of which 35 km2 is suburban settlements. There exist two rivers in the proximity of the city: Prahova river, on the south-west, briefly passes through the city through the Brazi settlement and Teleajen River passes through the Blejoi, Bucov, Berceni villages. The city lies on Dâmbu River, which springs from the hills around the Băicoi town. Nowadays the Dâmbu River doesn't have a high flow rate.
The climate is similar to that of the nation's capital, Bucharest. According to the Köppen climate classification, the city falls within the temperate humid continental climate(Dfa) of the hot summer type. The average annual temperature is 10.5 °C, with record minimum registered on 25 January 1952 of -30 °C while record maximum was registered on 19 July 2007 of 43 °C. On average, around 17 days are very cold, 26 cold, 99 warm and 30 tropical, while the rest have a moderate temperature.
Average annual precipitations are 600 mm; 30–40 mm in January and 88 mm in June. Precipitations range between 963.9 mm registered in 1901 and 305.3 mm registered in 1930. Throughout the year, there are on average 104 days with rain, 26 with snow, 112 with clear skies, 131 with clouds and 122 with no sunshine. The climate of Ploieşti is influenced by the winds coming from north-east (40%) and south-east (23%), having an average speed of 3.1 m/s. On average, there are 11 days throughout the year with wind speed exceeding 11 m/s and only 2 days characterised by winds over 16 m/s. Atmospheric pressure is 748.2 mm.
The city lies on the Romanian Plain, having an average altitude of 150m. The surrounding landscape is influenced by its position around the Prahova river, whose stream bed lies 25 km west. The Teleajen River passes through the city while the Dâmbu River passes through the north-eastern neighbourhoods.
The vegetation of Ploiești used to be characterised by a plain forest, made up predominantly of pedunculate oak trees (Quercus robur). Other varieties of oak trees such as the sessile oak (Quercus petraea) also existed. Remnants of the old forest still exist and some trees are currently protected, such as two old oak trees in Ghighiu, on the southern periphery of the city.
In current times the vegetation is typical of urban settlements, made up of ornamental plants, plantations of chestnuts, aspen and black locust. Parks and other green areas are limited: the main boulevard area, the park next to the Sala Sporturilor, the park from the northern part of the city, the "Mihai Viteazul" park and another park next to the Bucov barrier. These occupy only around 85.5 ha, resulting in 3.2 m2 of green space per inhabitant.
Around the city one can also observe several endangered trees, which are protected by law. These include the giant redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) from the garden of the "Paul Constantinescu" museum. There also exist trees that have adapted to the local climate, such as figs. In some neighbourhoods more fruit trees and flowers are currently being planted.
The Ploiești Municipal Council, elected in the 2012 local elections, is made up of 27 councillors, with the following party composition:
There exist approximatively 88104 flats that are located in 21172 buildings. 93% of the households have access to clean water, 90% have access to the sewage network, 98% have access to electricity and 78% are connected to the district heating system.
The metropolitan area of Ploieşti comprises 13 satellite towns. The area will become an important transit for two Pan-European motorway and rail corridors. The central administration of the area will coordonate the communication and transport networks, technological development and the reduction of the carbon footprint.
Ploieşti is twinned with:Sports: Octavian Belu, Alexandru Dedu, Leonard Doroftei, Adrian Diaconu, Laurenţiu Toma
Architecture: Toma T. Socolescu
Politics: Take Ionescu, Ştefan Gheorghiu (trade unionist), Corneliu Mănescu, Remus Opriş
Academia: Liviu Librescu, Nicolae Simache
Literature: Nichita Stănescu, Ion Stratan, Lucian Avramescu
Science: Carol Nicolae Debie, Basarab Nicolescu
Music: Leonida Constantin Brezeanu, Andreea Bălan, Ovidiu Bălan, Cezar Ouatu