History of Bucharest - Kiselyov and Alexandru II Ghica

Kiselyov and Alexandru II Ghica

The following non-Phanariote reign of Grigore IV Ghica, acclaimed by the Bucharesters upon its establishment, saw the building of a Neoclassical princely residence in Colentina, the expulsion of foreign clergymen who had competed with Wallachians for religious offices, and the restoration of bridges over the Dâmboviţa River, but also high taxes and a number of fires.

Ghica was removed from his position by the new Russo-Turkish War and the Russian occupation of May 16, 1828; subsequently, the peace of Adrianople placed the whole of the Danubian Principalities' territory under military governorate (still under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire), pending the payement of war reparations by the Ottomans.

After the short governorship of Pyotr Zheltukhin came the prolonged and profoundly influential term of Pavel Kiselyov (November 24, 1829 – 1843), under whom the two Principalities were given their first document resembling a constitution, the Organic Statute (negotiated in Wallachia's capital). Residing in Bucharest, Kiselyov took particular care of the city: he acted against the plague and cholera epidemics of 1829 and 1831, instituted a "city beautifying commission" comprising physicians and architects, paved many central streets with cobblestone (instead of wooden planks), drained the swamps formed around the Dâmboviţa and built public fountains, settled the previously-fluctuating borders of the city (it now measured ca.19 km in perimeter and was guarded by patrols and barriers), carved out Calea Dorobanţilor and Şoseaua Kiseleff (major north-south routes), mapped the city and counted its population, gave Bucharest a garrison for the newly-created Wallachian Army and improved its fire fighting service; the changing city was described as unusually cosmopolitan and home to extreme contrasts by French visitor Marc Girardin.

The granting of commercial rights to the Principalities and the retaking of Brăila by Wallachia ensured an economic rebirth under the rule of Prince Alexandru II Ghica, who expanded the number of paved streets and added the new Princely Palace (later replaced by the much larger Royal Palace).

This was also the time the first opposition to Russian rule made itself felt, as the standoff in the Bucharest Assembly between Price Ghica and the radical Ion Câmpineanu). The city was affected by a minor earthquake in January 1838, and a major flood in March 1839.

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