Ilfov is the county that surrounds Bucharest, the capital of Romania. It used to be largely rural, but after the fall of communism, many of the county's villages and communes developed into high-income commuter towns, which act like suburbs or satellites of Bucharest. The gentrification of the county is continuing, with many towns in Ilfov, such as Otopeni, having higher some of the highest GDP per capita levels in the country.
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It has a population (excluding Bucharest) of 300,000. 40% of the population commutes and works in Bucharest, although in recent years, many industrial plants were built outside Bucharest, in the Ilfov county. There are 3 towns, Otopeni to the north (with Bucharest's main airport), Buftea to the north-east and Voluntari to the east. There are serious debates about the city level awarded to Voluntari, as it is alleged that it was given in regards to the city's political affiliation, rather than population, development or any other objective features. Despite this, Voluntari does have a population of 15,000, and many Transylvanian localities with this population have been given city-status in the past.
Municipalities and communes
- Moara Vlăsiei
- Otopeni (city status)
- Ştefăneştii de Jos
- Voluntari (city status)
- Buftea (city status)
- Dragomireşti Vale
- Popeşti-Leordeni (city status)
- 1 Decembrie
There is no capital of the Ilfov county. Most of the county's institutions are located in Bucharest, some being located in Otopeni, others in Buftea. There is a struggle for both towns to be named county capital, one boasting its development and resources (Otopeni has the biggest income per capita in Romania and the biggest airport in the country), the other population and surface. This rivalry is fairly recent, since Ilfov used to be mainly rural and relatively poor in the past decades, and therefore Bucharest was seen as its main administrative centre. Nowadays, with a unique political identity being given to Ilfov, an identity that is separate to Bucharest, it is likely that a fixed capital city will be determined for Ilfov. Buftea is the most likely candidate because it is further from Bucharest and less associated with the city, whereas Otopeni is commonly seen as a suburb of Bucharest, and it would therefore be problematic to have the capital so close to the national capital, Bucharest.
Before 1972, it used to be one of the largest counties of Romania, but parts of it were added to neighbouring counties and nowadays it is the smallest (excluding the city of Bucharest, which has a special status). Between 1981 and 1997, it was called "Sectorul Agricol Ilfov" and it was not a separate county, but subordinate to the capital.
Several lakes can be found in Ilfov county, notably Cernica, Snagov lake and Căldăruşani. Also several rivers pass through it: Dambovita river, Colentina river, Ialomita river and its affluent Gruiu river.
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