Bihor County (Romanian pronunciation: [biˈhor] , Hungarian: Bihar megye) is a county (județ) in western Romania. With a total area of 7,544 km2 (2,913 sq mi), Bihor is Romania's 6th largest county geographically and the main county in the historical region of Crișana. Its capital city is Oradea.

Bihor County
Județul Bihor
Bihar megye
County
Oradea, capital of Bihor County
Oradea, capital of Bihor County
Coat of arms of Bihor County
Location of Bihor County in Romania
Location of Bihor County in Romania
Country Romania
Historic regionCrișana
Capital city (Reședință de județ)Oradea
Government
 • TypeCounty Board
 • President of the County BoardIlie Bolojan (PNL)
 • Prefect2Dumitru Țiplea
Area
 • Total7,544 km2 (2,913 sq mi)
 • Rank6th in Romania
Highest elevation
1,849 m (6,066 ft)
Lowest elevation
89 m (292 ft)
Population
 (2021-12-01)[1]
 • Total551,297
 • Rank11th in Romania
 • Density73/km2 (190/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal Code
41wxyz3
Area code+40 x594
ISO 3166 codeRO-BH
Car PlatesBH5
GDPUS$4.048 billion (2015)
GDP per CapitaUS$7,037 (2015)
WebsiteCounty Board
County Prefecture
1The developing regions of Romania have no administrative role. They were formed to attract funds from the European Union[citation needed]
2 as of 2007, the Prefect is not a politician, but a civil servant. He (or she) is not allowed to be a member of a political party, and is banned from any political activity in the first six months after the resignation (or firing) from the civil service
3w, x, y, and z are digits that indicate the city, the street, part of the street, or even the building of the address
4x is a digit indicating the operator: 2 for the former national operator, Romtelecom, and 3 for the other ground telephone networks
5used on both the plates of the vehicles that operate only in the county limits (like utility vehicles, ATVs, etc.), and the ones used outside the county

Toponymy edit

The origin of the name Bihor is uncertain, except that it likely takes its name from an ancient fortress in the current commune of Biharia. It possibly came from vihor, the Serbian and Ukrainian word for "whirlwind" (вихор), or Slavic biela hora, meaning "white mountain".[citation needed] Another theory is that Biharea is of Daco-Thracian etymology (bi meaning "two" and harati "take" or "lead"), possibly meaning two possessions of land in the Duchy of Menumorut. Another theory is that the name comes from bour, the Romanian term for aurochs (from the Latin word bubalus). The animal once inhabited the lands of northwestern Romania. Under this controversial theory, the name changed from buar to buhar and to Bihar and Bihor.[2]

Coat of arms edit

The coat of arms of Bihor County was adopted in 1998, and is a quarterly shield featuring a castle (for the Castle of Bihar), five wheat stalks with a ribbon, and a scroll with the text of Deșteaptă-te, române!, covered with a fess featuring three fish. It was subject to redesign in 2013 after it was discovered by a local teacher that the text on the scroll was erroneously written in Greek, rather than Cyrillic (the original alphabet used to write the poem's text) or the Latin alphabet. The county has no significant history with Greece.[3]

Geography edit

 
The Cucurbăta Mare, the highest peak in the Bihor Mountains

This county has a total area of 7,544 km2 (2,913 sq mi). In the eastern side of the county there are the Apuseni Mountains, with the highest peak being the Cucurbăta Mare (also known as the Bihor Peak), at 1,849 m (6,066 ft). The heights decrease westwards, passing through the hills an ending in the Romanian Western Plain – the eastern side of the Pannonian plain.

The county is mainly the Criș hydrographic basin with the rivers Crișul Repede, Crișul Negru, and Barcău the main rivers.

Neighbours edit

History edit

Prior to World War I, the territory of the county belonged to Austria-Hungary and mostly was contained in the Bihar County of the Kingdom of Hungary. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary at the end of the war, and the declaration of the Union of Transylvania with Romania, the Romanian Army took control of the county in April 1919, during the Hungarian–Romanian War. The territory of Bihor County was officially transferred to the Kingdom of Romania from Hungary as successor state to Austria-Hungary in 1920 under the Treaty of Trianon. After the administrative unification law in 1925, the name of the county remained as it was, but the territory was reorganized.[citation needed]

In 1938, King Carol II promulgated a new Constitution, and subsequently he had the administrative division of the Romanian territory changed. Ten ținuturi (approximate translation: "lands") were created (by merging the counties) to be ruled by rezidenți regali (approximate translation: "Royal Residents") – appointed directly by the king – instead of the prefects. Bihor County became part of Ținutul Crișuri.[citation needed]

In August 1940, under the auspices of Nazi Germany, which imposed the Second Vienna Award, Hungary retook the territory of Northern Transylvania (which included part of the county) from Romania. In October 1944, Romanian forces with Soviet assistance recaptured the ceded territory and reintegrated it into Romania. Romanian jurisdiction over the entire county per the Treaty of Trianon was reaffirmed in the Paris Peace Treaties, 1947. In September 1950, the county was disestablished by the communist government of Romania and was replaced by the Bihor Region, whose territory comprised an area similar to the old county. Bihor County was re-established in February 1968, when Romania restored the county administrative system.[citation needed]

Economy edit

Bihor is one of the wealthiest counties in Romania, with a GDP per capita well above the national average. Recently, the economy has been driven by a number of construction projects. Bihor has the lowest unemployment rate in Romania and among the lowest in Europe, with only 2.4% unemployment, compared to Romania's average of 5.1%.

The predominant industries in the county are:

  • Textile industry.
  • Food and beverages industry.
  • Mechanical components industry.
  • Metallurgy.

In the west side of the county there are mines for extracting coal and bauxite. Crude oil is also extracted.

Tourism edit

The main tourist attractions in the county are:

Demographics edit

According to the 2021 census, the county had a population of 551,297 and the population density was 73.1/km2 (189.3/sq mi).[4] 51.1% of its population lives in urban areas, lower than the Romanian average.[5]

Ethnic composition of Bihor County (2021)

  Romanians (69.03%)
  Hungarians (22.35%)
  Romani (7.33%)
  Slovaks (0.97%)
  Others (0.22%)

Religious composition of Bihor County (2021)

  Romanian Orthodox (59.29%)
  Reformed (16.01%)
  Pentecostals (8.16%)
  Roman Catholics (8.01%)
  Baptists (4.28%)
  Greek Catholics (1.99%)
  Others (1.36%)
  Irreligious,atheist and agnostic (0.91%)
Year County population[6][7]
1948 536,323  
1956 574,488  
1966 586,460  
1977 633,094  
1992 634,093  
2002 600,246  
2011 575,398  
2021 551,297  

Politics and administration edit

The Bihor County Council, renewed at the 2020 local elections, consists of 34 counsellors, with the following party composition:[8]

    Party Seats Current County Council
  National Liberal Party (PNL) 22                                            
  Democratic Alliance of Hungarians (UDMR/RMDSZ) 6                                            
  Social Democratic Party (PSD) 6                                            

Administrative divisions edit

 
Oradea
 
Marghita
 
Salonta
 
Beiuș

Bihor County has four municipalities, six towns, and 91 communes.

Municipalities

Towns

Communes

Historical county edit

Județul Bihor
County (Județ)
 
The Bihor County Prefecture building from the interwar period, used until 1920
 
 
Country  Romania
Historic regionCrișana
Capital city (Reședință de județ)Oradea
Area
 • Total7,467 km2 (2,883 sq mi)
Population
 (1930)
 • Total510,318
 • Density68/km2 (180/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)

Administration edit

The territory of the county was divided into twelve districts (plăși)[9]

  1. Plasa Aleșd (comprising 41 villages, headquartered at Aleșd)
  2. Plasa Beiuș (comprising 62 villages, headquartered at Beiuș)
  3. Plasa Beliu (comprising 30 villages, headquartered at Beliu)
  4. Plasa Ceica (comprising 47 villages, headquartered at Ceica)
  5. Plasa Centrală (comprising 40 villages, headquartered at Oradea)
  6. Plasa Marghita (comprising 43 villages, headquartered at Marghita)
  7. Plasa Salonta (comprising 19 villages, headquartered at Salonta)
  8. Plasa Săcueni (comprising 11 villages, headquartered at Săcueni)
  9. Plasa Sălard (comprising 28 villages, headquartered at Sălard)
  10. Plasa Tileagd (comprising 28 villages, headquartered at Tileagd)
  11. Plasa Tinca (comprising 26 villages, headquartered at Tinca)
  12. Plasă Vașcău (comprising 44 villages, headquartered at Vașcău)

Within Bihor County there were three urban localities: Oradea (also known as Oradea Mare, the county seat) and urban communes Salonta and Beiuș.

Population edit

According to the 1930 census data, the county population was 510,318, ethnically divided among Romanians (61.6%), Hungarians (30.0%), Jews (4.3%), Czechs and Slovaks (2.2%), as well as other minorities. By language the county was divided among Romanian (61.4%), Hungarian (33.8%), Czech (2.0%), Yiddish (1.5%), as well as other minorities. From the religious point of view, the population consisted of Eastern Orthodox (49.8%), Reformed (21.0%), Greek Catholics (10.7%), Roman Catholics (10.4%), Jews (5.4%), Baptists (2.2%), as well as other minorities.[10]

Urban population edit

The county's urban population consisted of 102,277 inhabitants, 54.8% Hungarians, 26.4% Romanians, 15.4% Jews, 1% Germans, as well as other minorities. As a mother tongue in the urban population, Hungarian (67.9%) predominated, followed by Romanian (24.9%), Yiddish (4.3%), German (1.2%), as well as other minorities. From the religious point of view, the urban population consisted of 31.5% Reformed, 20.6% Jewish, 19.3% Roman Catholic, 17.5% Eastern Orthodox, 9.1% Greek Catholic, 1.1% Lutheran, as well as other minorities.[10]

 
Map of Bihor County as constituted in 1938

References edit

  1. ^ "Populaţia rezidentă după grupa de vârstă, pe județe și municipii, orașe, comune, la 1 decembrie 2021" (XLS). National Institute of Statistics.
  2. ^ "Numele Bihorului. Etimologie şi controverse". Oradea Mea. 23 July 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  3. ^ Totorean, Adriana (23 April 2013). "Blazon greşit: Stema judeţului Bihor va fi refăcută, deoarece conţine un detaliu penibil". Ebihoreanul (in Romanian). Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Rezultate definitive: Caracteristici etno-culturale demografice". Recensamantromania.ro. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  5. ^ "Profil administrativ-teritorial - Consiliul Județean Bihor". Consiliul Județean Bihor (in Romanian). Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  6. ^ National Institute of Statistics, "Populația la recensămintele din anii 1948, 1956, 1966, 1977, 1992, 2002 și 2011" Archived 22 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Populația Județului Bihor la 1 Ianuarie 2020" [Bihor county population as of January 1, 2020] (PDF). National Institute of Statistics (Romania) (in Romanian). 11 February 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Rezultatele finale ale alegerilor locale din 2020" (Json) (in Romanian). Autoritatea Electorală Permanentă. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  9. ^ Portretul României Interbelice - Județul Bihor
  10. ^ a b Recensământul general al populației României din 29 decemvrie 1930, Vol. II, pag. 550-556

47°04′20″N 21°55′16″E / 47.0722°N 21.9211°E / 47.0722; 21.9211