The National Oil Museum

Much like Houston in Texas, Ploieşti is a town of hidden treasures which lift the cultural, architectural and natural profile of the town well beyond that of "just an oil town". Ploieşti benefits from being on major trade routes, and has developed as a strong cultural, scientific and educational center.

Remember that Romania had the world's first oil well, first oil refinery and provided oil to light the streets of Bucharest, the first European capital to have street lighting! You should also remember that Ploieşti suffered greatly from razing by the retreating Germans in both world wars, and low-level precision bombing by the Americans, which although designed to minimize collateral damage (meaning avoiding the deaths of civilians), it nonetheless destroyed a lot of the refinery areas.

On October 8, 1961 the National Oil Museum, the only one of its kind in the country and among the few in the world was officially opened. The decision to build Muzeul Naţional al Petrolului (The National Oil Museum) happened during the Communist years, coinciding with the 1957 centenary of the founding of the Romanian oil industry. The building itself is listed as a historic monument, with the collection growing from 800 artifacts in 1961 to over 8,000 by 1994 and 11,000 today. The museum preserves documents, photography and items from the early days of oil discovery and refinery in Romania, including geological displays on ore deposits, the petrochemical refining process, and how the oil came to light the streets of Bucharest, world's first petrol-lit city (1859). The visiting public can see everything from drilling hoists, dredges, hydraulic preventers, some of which are 100 years old, geologic maps and rare photographs. The oldest exhibit , the only one of its kind in Romania, is a bailing drum dating back to 1870. "Petroleum", a book written by Cucu Starostescu in 1881 is the first specialized book on oil to have been published in the world. The first mechanical drill dates back to 1861.

The museum's well-written panels underscore the accomplishments of Romanians such as the development of solvents by Lazăr Edeleanu, as well as Romania's early contributions to the manufacture of paraffin, oils, and petrol. Geological maps and mineralogical samples round out the collections, with a artworks, ceramics and a fair few busts of famous petrochemical denizens of years past.

Muzeul Naţional al Petrolului, 8 Bagdasar Street, 09am - 05pm, closed on Mondays.


diana said...

excelenta initiativa, insa a sugestia sa prezentati materialul si in limba romana...

Adrian said...

@Diana - Multumesc pentru sugestie! Inteleg cerinta ta, mi se pare perfect normala, dar eu incerc sa prezint Romania celor de afara, care nu stiu nimic despre ea sau au o perceptie deformata. Poate o sa deschid si un blog in romana, desi sunt destule ce trateaza subiectele abordate de mine. Te mai astept cu comentarii!

Cucusong said...

Cautand sa vad cine e Cucu Starostescu, am aflat si ale noutati interesante. Ce minunat e internetul asta!

Adrian said...

@Cucusong - ma bucur ca ti-am putut fi de folos

Anonymous said...


Since my youth I am interested in Crude oil, Natural Asphalt and Asphalt Rocks and their history.
I also own a collection of 100 samples and I look for more.

But, unfortunately, I still have no crude oil sample from Ploieşti
Can you help me perhaps?

Can you send me a sample of Ploieşti Crude Oil with exact origin place (name of the oilfield)
for my collection?
Or do they know somebody to me a sample can send?

Of course I would pay the cost for item, packing and postage to Germany for you!

A sample of Ploieşti Crude Oil, is a very great hilight for my collection!

Yours faithfully,

Björn Wahle (Mr)