Timioara (Romanian pronunciation: [timioara] ( listen); German: Temeswar, also formerly Temeschburg or Temeschwar, Hungarian: Temesvár, Serbian: /Temivar, Turkish: Temevar) is the capital city of Timi County, in western Romania. One of the largest Romanian cities, with an estimated population of 311,586 inhabitants (2010), and considered the informal capital city of the historical region of Banat, Timioara is the main social, economic and cultural center in the western part of the country. Timioara lies at an altitude of 95 m on the southeast edge of the Banat plain, part of the great Panonia plain. The rich black soil and relatively low water table make this a fertile agricultural region. Due to the hydrography projects undertaken in the 18th century, the city no longer lies on the Timi River, but on the Bega canal. This is a relatively active seismic area, and earthquakes up to 6 on the Richter scale have been recorded. Timioara was first mentioned as a place in either 1212 or 1266. The territory later to be known as Banat was conquered and annexed by the Kingdom of Hungary in 1030. Timioara grew considerably during the reign of Charles I, who, upon his visit here in 1307, ordered the construction of a royal palace. Timioara's importance also grew thanks to its strategic location, which facilitated control over the Banat plain. John Hunyadi established a permanent military encampment here, and moved here together with his family. In 1552, Ahmed Pasha conquered the city with a 16,000 Ottomans and transformed it into a capital city in the region. The local military commander, Stefan Losonczy, was captured and beheaded on July 27, 1552 after resisting the Ottoman invasion with just over 2,300 men.