GIURGEVO (Giurgiu), the capital of the department of Vlashca, Rumania; situated amid mud-flats and marshes on the left bank of the Danube. Pop. (1900) 13,977. Three small islands face the town, and a larger one shelters its port, Smarda, 21 m. E. The rich corn-lands on the north are traversed by a railway to Bucharest, the first line opened in Rumania, which was built in 1869 and afterwards extended to Smarda. Steamers ply to Rustchuk, 21 m. S.W. on the Bulgarian shore, linking the Rumanian railway system to the chief Bulgarian line north of the Balkans (Rustchuk-Varna). Thus Giurgevo, besides having a considerable trade with the home ports lower down the Danube, is the headquarters of commerce between Bulgaria and Rumania. It exports timber, grain, salt and petroleum; importing coal, iron and textiles. There are also large saw-mills.
Giurgevo occupies the site of Theodorapolis, a city built by the Roman emperor Justinian (A.D. 483–565). It was founded in the 14th century by Genoese merchant adventurers, who established a bank, and a trade in silks and velvets. They called the town, after the patron saint of Genoa, San Giorgio (St George); and hence comes its present name. As a fortified town, Giurgevo figured often in the wars for the conquest of the lower Danube; especially in the struggle of Michael the Brave (1593–1601) against the Turks, and in the later Russo-Turkish Wars. It was burned in 1659. In 1829, its fortifications were finally razed, the only defence left being a castle on the island of Slobosia, united to the shore by a bridge.