Authentic, Natural and Cultural are the words that best capture the essence of Romania, a dynamic country rich in history, arts and scenic beauty. Romania is a beautiful country located between Central and Southeastern Europe, bordering Black Sea. Romania shares a border with Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and Moldova to the east, and Bulgaria to the south. Romania has the seventh largest population of the European Union. Its capital is Bucharest, which is the sixth largest city in the European Union.
History and antiquity
The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire”. The empire expanded into what is now Romania in 106 AD, under the rule of Emperor Trajan (98 to 117 AD) when the Roman Empire reaches its greatest territorial extent through his conquests in the east. It took the Romans seven years and two long wars to conquer Dacia (today Romania).The people who inhabited ate area of modern Romania were called “Gatae” (Geti) by the Greeks, and “Dacians” (Daci) by the Romans.
Romania is the largest country in southeastern Europe, twelfth largest in Europe and eighth largest country of the European Union. It is roughly the same size as the United Kingdom. Romania’s terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountainous, hilly and lowland territories. The “Carpathian Mountains” dominate the centre of Romania, with 14 mountain ranges reaching above 2000 meters. The Carpathian Mountains are home to one of the largest undisturbed forests in Europe. The highest point is at Moldoveanu Peak. These are surrounded by the Moldavian and Transylvanian plateaus and Pannonian and Wallachian plains.
The Danube River flows into the Black Sea within Romania’s territory forming the Danube Delta, the second largest and best preserved delta in Europe, and also a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site. The Danube River is the most international river on the planet. Romania features the youngest continental land: (the Danube Delta) in Europe.
The second largest underground glacier (in terms of volume) can be found in Transylvania, Romania. It is around 3500 year old known as “Scarisoara glacier”, located in the Bihor Mountains. It has a volume of 2,649,000 cubic feet. The 154-foot deep entrance shaft leads to some impressive ice structures, including spectacular 20 foot high ice stalagmites.
Flora and Fauna
Romania’s geographical diversity has led to an accompanying diversity of flora and fauna. Some 1,350 floral species have been recorded in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, including the yellow poppy, Transylvanian columbine, saxifrage and edelweiss. The Danube Delta is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise (especially a bird watcher’s). It is home to the world’s largest reed bed and hosts race species of plants and animals, including endangered sturgeon, otters, wildcats and European mink.
There are almost 400 unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in Romania. The Fauna consists of animals, 33,792 species of animals, 33,085 invertebrates and 707 vertebrate.
Among the most picturesque treasures of Romania are the painted Monasteries of Bucovina. The best preserved are the monasteries in Humor, Moldovita, Patrauti, Probota, Suceava, Sucevita, and Voronet. Another, a small church, is located in the village of Arbore. Seven of the churches were placed on UNESCO’S World Heritage list in 1993.
Art, Music and Tradition
The typical zest for life and almost native optimism that the world is really a beautiful place is best expressed in the traditional art and craft of Romanian peasants, extending even to their colorful, unique grave makers. There are great Romanian fine artists, among whom 20th century sculptor Constantin Brancusi is probably the most famous. The most readily recognizable illustration of Romanian art is the famed painted eggs, especially prominent around Easter time.
Romanian pottery is still made mainly on traditional kick-wheels with simple finishing tools. Maramures is the area to see the art of woodwork. Homes are trimmed in elaborately carved wood, wooden gates and even fences are intricately carved. Textile weaving is the most widespread craft in Romania, handed down from generation to generation, using distinctive family patterns along with those specific to different districts. The other art material includes Rugs, Masks and Glass. Finest collections of Brancusi are in the city of Targu Jiu, in Oltenia province on the southern border of the Carpathian Mountains.
Artists from Romania have recently begun to inch their way onto the international pop music scene. Among the best known are Inna, Edward Maya, Akcent, and Alexandra Stan. Centuries old traditions are still alive in the rural areas of Maramures region, situated in northwestern Romania. Romania is a secular state and has no state religion. However, an overwhelming majority identify themselves as Christians.
In religious aspects, Romanian Easter symbolizes the rebirth and the renewal of daily life. It is usual on Easter morning, after the return of villagers from churches, for children to go to neighbor’s homes, to “bring wishes for luck and wealth“. In the evening, on the eve of the respective year which arises promising, are expected folk fore dances and games. The Romanian folk fore costumes characterize own attributes of the Romanian people and contribute essentially to the definition of the ethnic importance.
Romanian Cuisine is a diverse blend of different dishes influenced by varsity of traditions. Popular main courses include “mititei”, “frigarui” and the “snitel”. One of the most common dishes is “mamaliga”. Pork and chicken are the preferred meats, but beef, lamb and fish are also popular.