Things to know about Romania

General Description of Romania

Official name: Romania

Official language: Romanian

Location: (Southeastern) Central Europe, 44°25′N 26°06′E

Bordering countries: in East with Moldova, in North and East with Ukraine, in Northwest with Hungary, in Southwest with Serbia and in South with Bulgaria.

Flag of Romania: Three vertical stripes, from left to right: blue, yellow and red

Time Zone: GMT + 2 (seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time)

Area: 238,391  (considered 12th largest country in Europe.)

Population: 19,651,000 (as of March 2014)

Main ethnic groups: Romanian 84%, Hungarian 6.1%, Rromani 3.1%, German 0.2%.

Religions: Christian Orthodox 81%, Roman Catholic 4.3%, Reformed 3%, Greek Catholic 0.7%, Jewish and others.

Currency: Romanian Leu (RON).

Measurement units: Metric system.

Climate: a temperate climate with four distinct seasons.

Capital: Bucharest (București)

Form of State: Romania is a semi-parliamentary democracy based on a bicameral Parliament, the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate.

Head of state: President of the Republic, currently Mr. Klaus Iohannis.

Head of the Government: the Prime Minister, currently Mr. Sorin Grindeanu.

National day: 1st of December – which represents the unification day of Transylvania, and the provinces of Banat, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom.

Romania is a member state of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but currently is not a member of Schengen.

Traditional cuisine: The Romanian traditional cuisine include grilled meatballs, meat wrapped in cabbage leaves, pork stew with garlic and onions, doughnuts, sweet bread and also pies.

Geographical characteristics

Romania’s territory it is organized around the arch of the Carpathian Mountains. Also known as the Transylvanian Alps and it features stunning mountains, splendid hills, vast fertile plains and, of course many rivers and lakes.

Geographical characteristics (% of Romania’s territory): 31% mountains, 36% hills and orchards, 33%plains, 3,7% areas covered by rivers and lakes.

The Carpathian range are divided in three major sections and are considered to be a perfect destination for various outdoor sports like climbing, hiking, biking and river-rafting. The beautiful landscapes offered by Carpathian Mountains are sprinkled with spectacular geological forms like gorges, caves, waterfalls, strange limestone forms. Highest mountain peak: Moldoveanu Mt. – 2544 m (8349 ft.)

About Romania: Moldoveanu peak
View to the Moldoveanu peak in Fagaras Mountains, Romania

The Danube River has 2850 km of which 1075 km bordering Romania and is the second largest river in Europe. Danube springs from Germany, goes through eight country and before it flows into the Black Sea, it forms one of the largest and most biodiverse wetlands in the world, the Danube Delta. Noteworthy, Danube Delta is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reservation and here the river splits in three branches: Chilia, Sulina and Sfântu Gheorghe.

The border between Romania and Black Sea has 245 km. The Black Sea is a continental sea with a surface of 413,000 km2 and communicates with Mediterranean through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Due to the temperate climate, low salinity and sandy beaches, the resorts along the coastline attract tourists every year between May and September.

The Romanian Black Sea shore
Fishermen camp on a beach

The fauna of the country encompasses more than half the population of bears in Europe and more than a third of the wolves and lynxes.

The Romania’s forests consists of oak, ash, elm, beech, linden and maple forests and the remaining are conifers forests.

There are significant natural resources spread across the entire territory, such as hydrocarbons, petroleum, natural gas, lignite, coal, salt, iron ore, zinc, bauxite, manganese, lead and copper.

Milestones in Romania’s history

The territory of present Romania has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age as evidenced by carved stone tools found on archaeological sites.

10,000 B.C – approximate date of the first known art in current Romania: cave paintings are found in northwest Transylvania.

3,000 B.C – Thracian tribes of Indo-European origin, who migrated from Asia and occupied the modern territory of Romania.

2,000 B.C – a distinctive Thracian sub-group developed into contemporary Romania. The Greeks called these people Getae, but the Romans mentioned them as Dacians.

700 B.C – Greeks migrated and settled near the Black Sea. The cities of Histria, Tomis (now Constanta) and Callatis (now Mangalia) were founded.

70-44 B.C – Dacian king Burebista controlled the territory of modern-day Romania. Burebista created a powerful Dacian kingdom.

100 A.D – Dacian civilization reaches the most flourishing period.

101-106 A.D – Romans conquer and colonize Dacia (territory of modern Romania). As a result, Dacia becomes a Roman province and the inhabitants adopt the Latin language.

271 A.D – after fending off the barbarian Goths, Roman troops abandon Dacia.

4th Century – a Latin-speaking people called Daco-Romans adopt Christianity.

11th Century — Romanians were the only Latin people in the eastern part of the former Roman Empire and belonging to the Orthodox faith. Also, Hungarian (Magyar) forces invade northwestern and central Romania (Transylvania).

12th Century — Saxon (German) settlers begin to establish several towns in Transylvania. (Germans were invited to settle in Transylvania by the king of Hungary who wanted to consolidate his position in the newly occupied territory).

13th Century — The first formal division of the formerly unified Romanian population. Foundation of the principalities of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania. Transylvania becomes an autonomous principality under Magyar rule, until 1526.

14th-15th Centuries — Wallachia and Moldavia struggled to repel the Ottoman Empire expansion.

16th-17th Century – Menaced by the Turks who conquered Hungary, the Romanian provinces of Wallachia, Moldova and Transylvania are able to retain their autonomy by paying tribute to the Turks.   In addition, the principality of Transylvania prospered as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire.

1600 – Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania are briefly united under Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave), prince of Wallachia. The Turks and Hapsburg forces defeated Michael the Brave one year later and the unity ended. Transylvania came under Hapsburg rule while Wallachia and Moldavia remained under Turkish rule.

1699 – The Habsburg Empire incorporate Transylvania and Bucovina (smaller region north of Moldavia).

1821 – Moldavia loses its eastern territory east of river Prut (also called Bessarabia) to Russia.

1859 – Moldavia and Wallachia elected Alexandru Ioan Cuza as a common ruler.

1862 – Wallachia and Moldavia unite to form a national state: Romania.

1866 – Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen succeeds Alexandru Ioan Cuza, as prince of Romania.

1867 – Transylvania falls under the direct rule of Hungary and names and official language are going to a strong process of Magyarisation 1877 – On May 9 the Romanian parliament declared the independence of Romania from the Ottoman Empire. Prince Carol I signs the official document one day later.

1881 – Official foundation of the Kingdom of Romania.

1918 – During large public gatherings representatives of most towns, villages and local communities in Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bucovina declare union with Romania.

1930 – Carol II, Ferdinand’s I son, becomes king of Romania and establishes royal dictatorship.

1940 – The Soviet Union annexes Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina. Moreover, Germany and Italy force Romania to cede Northern Transylvania to Hungary and Southern Dobrogea to Bulgaria. Marshall Ion Antonescu forces King Carol II to abdicate in favor of his 19-year-old son Michael. Carol II flees Romania.

1941 – Marshall Ion Antonescu imposes a military dictatorship. In order to regain Bessarabia, Romania enters WWII against the Soviet Union.

1944 – King Michael organizes a royal coup and arrests Marshall Ion Antonescu. Romania surrenders, reenters war on Allied side.

1947 – With Soviet troops on its territory, Romania comes under the influence of the Soviet Union. The communists, who gradually took power, force King Michael to abdicate and proclaim Romania a People’s Republic.

1950′s – After Stalin’s death, Romania begins to distance itself from Moscow.

1964 – Declaration of autonomy within Communist Bloc.

1967 – Nicolae Ceausescu becomes President of the Council of State merging leadership of state and party.

1968 – Condemnation of Soviet-led Warsaw Pacy invasion of in Czechoslovakia by Romania’s communist leader Nicolae Ceausșescu, earns him praise and economic aid from the West.

1980′s – Obsessed with repaying the national debt and megalomaniac building projects Ceaușescu orders a ban on importation of any consumer products and commands exportation of all goods produced in Romania except minimum food supplies.

1987 – Ceaușescu indicates Romania will not follow Soviet reform trends.

1989 – Romanians unite in protests against the communist leadership and local demonstrations lead to a national uprising that finally ousted communist ruler Nicolae Ceaușescu and his cabinet.

1990 – Multiparty elections held; National Salvation Front obtains a victory.

1991 – Romanians vote for a new Constitution.

2004 – Romania joins NATO.

2007 – Romania becomes a member of the European Union.