Târgoviște (alternative spelling: Tîrgoviște; Romanian pronunciation: [tɨrˈɡoviʃte]) is a city in Romania, and the county seat of the Dâmbovița County. It is situated on the right bank of the Ialomița. At the 2011 census Târgoviște had a population of 79,610,[1] making it the 26th largest city in Romania. One of the most important cities in the history of Wallachia, it was its capital between the early 15th century and the 16th century.

County capital
Town hall of Târgoviște
Location of Târgoviște
Coordinates: 44°55′28″N 25°27′26″E
Country Romania
StatusCounty capital
  MayorCristian Daniel Stan (PSD)
 (2011 census)[1]
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)


The name Târgoviște is a Slavic name which the city acquired in the Middle Ages. It is derived from the Old Bulgarian word for "marketplace", търговище (pronounced [tɐrˈɡɔviʃtɛ]), referring to the place rather than the market itself.

The name is found in placenames not only in South Slavic areas (Bulgarian Търговище, Serbian Трговиште and Croatian Veliko Trgovišće), but also in West Slavic such as Slovakian Trhovište or Polish Targowica. Additionally, places with the same name are found in Romania, in the regions of Oltenia, Banat, and Moldavia.[2]

The Romanian and Bulgarian towns with the same name are also twinned.


Early history

The area of Târgoviște which was first inhabited is located where the Saint Nicholas-Geartoglu Church and Stelea Veche Church stand today. It was in this place that the first fortifications were built: a small stone building surrounded by a brick wall and a moat, probably belonging to a local ruler.[2] However, archaeological evidence is scarce and it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when it was erected.[2]

Saxon colony

Another nucleus of the city was built by Saxon colonists from Transylvania, in the area where the Catholic Saint Mary Church is located, a church that was built during the early years of the colony.[3] A local tradition says that the church was built in 1300.[3] The colonists came around the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century, the same period that Câmpulung was colonized.[3] There is archeological evidence that the land occupied by the new colonists had been previously inhabited by locals, which leads to the conclusion that it had been approved by the local ruler.[3]

The colonists influenced the local administration, as Târgoviște was the only town in Wallachia that had Transylvanian organization features, having official titles such as birău and folnog, which are found in documents together with local officials, like vornic and pristav.[4] The town had a night watch which was also known by a Latin term (viglu < vigilia) instead of the local terms such pază or strajă.[4]

After 1400, the town began to grow and become denser. Both Saxon part (around the stronghold) and in the Romanian part, there were several large dwellings with cellars and cocklestoves similar to those found in Central Europe. The wealth is also known based on the number of treasure troves discovered, the largest being a hoard of 6284 silver coins, found in the Saxon part of the town.[4] The town gravitated around the Saxon part, this being valid until the Saxon community began its decline during the 16th century.[5]

Capital of Wallachia

In the 14th century, the capital of Wallachia was Curtea de Argeș, however, due to Târgoviște's economic growth, toward the end of the century, it became a secondary residence of the Wallachian hospodar. In 1396, Bavarian traveler Johann Schiltberger mentions both Curtea de Argeș and Târgoviște as capitals of Wallachia.[5] While Mircea I lived in Curtea de Argeș, Michael I, Mircea's son and co-prince lived in Târgoviște, where he continued to live even as a single ruler. Dan II preferred Curtea de Argeș and he was the last hospodar to rule from that city, the court being finally moved to Târgoviște by Alexandru Aldea in 1431.[5]

Throughout the period it was the capital of Wallachia, the Princely Court in Târgoviște (Curtea Domnească din Târgoviște) had been constantly refurbished and extended. The compound was surrounded by stone walls and a moat and a new church and a tower had been built.[5] Vlad III Dracula ("the Impaler") later added the Chindia Tower, now a symbol of the city.

Starting with 1465, for the next two centuries, the rulers alternated the capital between Târgoviște and Bucharest, often on political reasons, as the former was preferred by the rulers who were more friendly toward Transylvania and the King of Hungary.[6] Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, Târgoviște was a major trade hub, especially with Poland, Brașov and Sibiu.[7]

By the 16th century, the Romanians became majority in the city, as some Saxons left for Transylvania and others were assimilated. Greeks merchants began to settle in the city, especially after 1500, while Greek monks settled in the nearby Dealu and Panaghia.[8]

As the capital of Wallachia, Târgoviște faced numerous sieges and invasions. In 1395, it was sieged and set on fire by Bayezid I.[9] In 1457, the townsfolk of Târgoviște were punished by Vlad III Dracula for their involvement in the assassination of his brother: the elite of city was killed, while the young people were sent to work at his Poenari Castle.[9]

The Ottoman invasion of 1462 did not reach the city, being prevented by Vlad III through The Night Attack. In 1476, the city was taken by Stephen V Báthory following a fifteen-day siege intended to restore Vlad to the throne. Several other battles were fought near the city during the rules of Neagoe Basarab and Radu of Afumați.[9]

In 1597, the Hajduks of Mihai Viteazul and Starina Novak fought and won a decisive battle against the Ottoman Empire in Târgoviște.


After the capital was finally moved to Bucharest during the rule of Constantin Brâncoveanu (1688-1714), Târgoviște lost its importance, decaying economically as its population decreased.

Modern history

Târgoviște was the site of the trial and execution of Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena on 25 December 1989 during the Romanian Revolution.


One village, Priseaca, is administered by the city.


In 2011, there were 79,610 inhabitants. According to the 2002 census, 96.6% of the inhabitants were Romanians and 2.84% Roma people.

Historical population
1500 60,000    
1900 9,400−84.3%
1912 13,041+38.7%
1930 22,298+71.0%
1948 26,038+16.8%
1956 24,360−6.4%
1966 29,763+22.2%
1977 61,254+105.8%
1992 98,117+60.2%
2002 89,930−8.3%
2011 79,610−11.5%
Source: Census data



Târgoviște is a railway node, with branches serving Titu (joining there the, Ploiești and Pietroșița. The railway station building was inaugurated on 2 January 1884, served by the then new line from Titu to Târgoviște. This first line was built by the VIIth Rail Company of the Ist Engineering Regiment of the Romanian Army. On 27 May 1894, an extension of this line to Pucioasa was inaugurated. The Ploiești-Targoviște branch construction was started in 1929, but officially inaugurated only on 29 June 1946.

Today, the city is desserved by multiple stations:

  • Targoviste (south-west of the town)
  • Romlux halt (north-west)
  • Teiș halt (former Targoviste-Vest) (north)
  • Târgoviște Nord station (north-east)
  • Valea Voievozilor halt (east).

The railway station is open for both passenger traffic - with sales / reservation office and electronic ticketing machine - and merchandise traffic. Local halts serves the large industrial operators of the city - Mechel, Oțelinox, Upet, Erdemir, Romlux, Rondocarton.


Located at a crossroads of ancient trade routes, the city can be easily approached from all sides. Targoviste Municipality is located approximatively 80 kilometres (50 miles) north-west of Bucharest, with a convenient access to Otopeni International Airport Henri Coanda (located in the north of Bucharest).

Road number Cities
DN 71 Tărtășești — Târgoviște — PucioasaSinaia
DN 72 Găești — Târgovişte — Ploiești
DN 72A Târgoviște — Câmpulung

Also, a number of county roads pass the city:

Public transport

In the city, public transport is provided by Public Transport and include bus, trolley and maxi-taxi. In 2005 was developed and modernized public transport, Public Transport making passenger transport company in public-private partnership.

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

Târgoviște is twinned with:


The city has two football clubs, FC Chindia Târgoviște and FCM Târgoviște, both of which play in Liga II.

Târgovişte is also home to Municipal MCM Târgovişte basketball club which competes in the Romanian League and the EuroCup.


Panorama of Târgovişte as seen from Chindia Tower, 6 August 2008.


  1. "2011 Census" (PDF) (in Romanian). INSSE. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  2. Rădvan, p. 295.
  3. Rădvan, p. 296.
  4. Rădvan, p. 297.
  5. Rădvan, p. 298.
  6. Rădvan, p. 299.
  7. Rădvan, p. 299-300.
  8. Rădvan, p. 300.
  9. Rădvan, p. 302.
  10. "International Contacts". Targovishte Municipality. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 29 August 2013.


  • Rădvan, Laurenţiu (2010). At Europe's Borders: Medieval Towns in the Romanian Principalities. BRILL. ISBN 9789004180109. Rădvan.

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