Facts about Romania
Location

Romania is situated in the southeastern part of Central Europe and shares borders with Hungary to the northwest, Yugoslavia to the southwest, Bulgaria to the south, the Black Sea and Ukraine to the southeast and to the north and the Republic of Moldova to the east. Roughly the size of Oregon, Romania is the second largest country in the area, after Poland.

Geographical location of Romania: between latitudes 43°37'07" and 48°15'06" North and longitudes 20°15'44" and 29°41'24" East.

Romania extends approximately 300 miles North to South and 400 miles East to West.

Bucharest — the capital city of Romania — is aligned approximately with the cities of Portland, Oregon; Montreal, Canada; Venice, Italy; and Bordeaux, France. While you travel in Romania be sure to check out one of our Bucharest tours in Romania.

Romania's territory features splendid mountains, beautiful rolling hills, fertile plains and numerous rivers and lakes. The Carpathian Mountains traverse the center of the country bordered on both sides by foothills and finally the great plains of the outer rim. Forests cover over one quarter of the country and the fauna is one of the richest in Europe including bears, deer, lynx, chamois and wolves. The legendary Danube River ends its eight-country journey through eight European countries at the Black Sea by forming one of the biggest and most interesting wetlands in the world, the Danube Delta.

About a third of the country consists of the Carpathian Mountains (also known as the Transilvanian Alps). Another third is hills and plateaus, rich with orchards and vineyards. The final third is a fertile plain, largely devoted to agriculture. The Danube River runs through the country, from northwest to southeast, culminating in the Danube Delta and the Black Sea.

If you like your holidays active, an organised travel in Romania is the perfect choice. Mountain biking downhill the Carpathian mountains, guided walking holidays, hiking vacations, rafting, paragliding or any other type of tours you would like to take, Romania is the perfect place.

Physical features
•Mountains: 31% of Romania's territory
•Hills and orchards: 36%
•Plains: 33%
•Areas covered by rivers and lakes: 3.7 %
•Total number of lakes: 3,500
•Lakes greater than 250 acres: 300
•Highest mountain peak: Moldoveanu Mt. — 8,349 ft. (2544 m.)

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Climate

Romania has a temperate climate, similar to the northeastern United States, with four distinct seasons.

Spring is pleasant with cool mornings and nights and warm days.

Summer is quite warm, with extended sunny days. The hottest areas in summer are the lowlands in southern and eastern Romania where 100 F is often reached in July and August. Temperatures are always cooler in the mountains.

Autumn is dry and cool, with fields and trees producing colorful foliage, much like New England.

Winters can be cold, especially in the mountains. While not the rule, abundant snowfalls may occur throughout the country, from December to mid-March.

Nonetheless, your holidays in Romania will be dreamy, whatever season it is when you travel in Romania.

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People

Foreign visitors consider Romanians among the friendliest and most hospitable people on earth, as you will have the opportunity to discover on your tours in Romania. Romanians are by nature fun loving, warm, hospitable, playful, with an innate sense of humor.

Romania is associated with big names in arts and sports:

Constantin Brancusi — one of the most acclaimed modern sculptors.

Angela Gheorghiu, one of the world's greatest opera soprano - www.angelagheorghiu.com

Alexandra Nechita — a young Romanian painter living in California, known for her distinct style. For more info about Alexandra and her art please visit: www.iapart.com

Ilie Nastase — U.S. Open and Roland Garos winner, is still one of crowd's favorites at the U.S. Open.

Nadia Comaneci — the Olympic champion gymnast, saluted by people everywhere.

Other world renowned Romanian artists include the writer Eugen Ionesco, pan flute virtuoso Gheorghe Zamfir, piano player Radu Lupu and musician George Enescu.

About 21,700,000 people live in Romania.
Ethnic breakdown is 89% Romanian 7.5% Hungarian, 1.9% Gypsy, German, Ukrainian, Armenian, Croatian, Serbian and Turkish. More than 55% of Romania's population lives in towns and cities.

There are 263 towns in Romania out of which 25 have a population of more than 100,000 while 8 cities count more than 300,000 inhabitants. 45 % of Romanians live in rural areas: 2,868 communes and 13,285 villages. The administrative divisions are called "judete" (counties). There are 41 counties in Romania. The capital city, Bucharest, has the status of a county.

Bucharest — the capital of Romania has a population of more than 2,200,000.

Main religions in Romania
Eastern Orthodox 87%, Roman Catholic 5% and Protestant 5%.

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Language

Romanian, a Latin based language which is a continuation of the Latin spoken in ancient times in Dacia and Moesia — the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire.
A 31-letter Latin alphabet is in use.
Ethnic minorities (Hungarian and German) use their own languages in school and civil administration.
Literacy rate in Romania is 98%.
Most Romanians living in towns and cities are able to communicate in English, French or German. In smaller villages only younger people and children speak one or more foreign languages.

To order the comprehensive "Romanian - English/ English Romanian Dictionary & Phrasebook" please e-mail: orders@hippocrenebooks.com or visit www.hippocrenebooks.com


The book also includes information about Romania's historical and cultural background. $12.95 paperback; ISBN 0-7818-0921-5

Before your travel in Romania you might want to learn a few basic expressions in Romanian, in order to make your stay more enjoyable.

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Public holidays

January 1 and 2: New Year
Monday following Orthodox Easter:
March, April or early May (date varies)
May 1: Labor Day
December 1: National Day
December 25-26: Christmas

Dates of the Orthodox Easter (public holiday):
2005 - May 1, 2
2006 - April 23, 24
2007 - April 8, 9
2008 - April 27, 28
2009 - April 19, 20
2010 - April 4, 5

Several religious holidays including feasts of St. John (January 7), St. George (April 23), Sts. Peter & Paul (June 29), St. Mary (August 15), St. Michael (November 8) and St. Nicholas (December 6) are observed throughout the year in rural areas.
It is customary for Romanians all over the country to celebrate their Saint's Name Day (Ziua Onomastica).
Ethnic minorities celebrate their own holidays.

If you have the possibility, plan your travel in Romania in the period when major religious holidays in Romania take place. Thus you can observe specific traditions that will amaze you in their beauty, especially in the rural areas.

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History

Romania's history has not been as idyllically peaceful as its geography. Over the centuries, various migrating people invaded Romania. Romania's historical provinces Wallachia and Moldova offered furious resistance to the invading Ottoman Turks. Transilvania was successively under Hapsburg, Ottoman or Wallachian rule, while remaining an autonomous province.

Romania's post WWII history as a communist-block nation is more widely known, primarily due to the excesses of the former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. In December 1989 a national uprising led to his overthrow. The 1991 Constitution established Romania as a republic with a multiparty system, market economy and individual rights of free speech, religion and private ownership.

Recommended reading: Romania, An Illustrated History by Nicolae Klepper, - an insightful synthesis addressed to all those who want to learn about Romania's history, politics, culture, and society.
To order the book please e-mail: orders@hippocrenebooks.com
or visit www.hippocrenebooks.com

Some of the history that has shaped Romania
What is now Romania has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age as evidenced by carved stone tools unearthed there.

10,000 B.C. — approximate date of the first known art in present day Romania: cave paintings in northwest Transilvania.

4,000 B.C. — approximate date of pottery (dated to the Neolithic Age) that is found in all regions of Romania.

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

2,000 B.C. — a distinctive Thracian sub-group emerged in what is now Romania. The Greeks called these people Getae, but to the Romans they were Dacians. Herodotus called them "the fairest and most courageous of men" because they believed in the immortality of the soul and were not afraid to die.

700 B.C. — Greeks arrived and settled near the Black Sea. The cities of Histria, Tomis (now Constanta) and Callatis (now Mangalia) were established. Western-style civilization developed significantly.

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 its peak.

101-106 A.D. — Romans conquer and colonize Dacia (today's Romania). Dacia becomes a Roman province and Dacians adopt the conquerors' language.

106-274 A.D. — Dacia is a province of the Roman Empire.

271 A.D. — after fighting off the barbarian Goths, Roman troops abandon Dacia.

4th Century — Christianity is adopted by the Daco-Roman, Latin-speaking people.

4th-10th Centuries — nomadic tribes from Asia and Europe (Goths, Visigoths, Huns, Slavs, Magyars) invade Dacia.

11th Century — Romanians were the only Latin people in the eastern part of the former Roman Empire and the only Latin people to belong to the Orthodox faith.


Hungarian (Magyar) forces invade northeastern and central Romania (Transilvania).

12th Century — Saxon (German) settlers begin to establish several towns in Transilvania. (Germans were invited to settle in Transilvania 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. The principalities of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transilvania are stablished. Transilvania becomes an autonomous principality under Magyar rule, until 1526. Magyar forces tried unsuccessfully to capture Wallachia and Moldavia.

14th-15th Centuries — Wallachia and Moldavia offered strong resistance to the Ottoman Empire expansion.

16th Century — Threatened by the Turks who conquered Hungary, the three Romanian provinces of Wallachia, Moldova and Transilvania are able to retain their autonomy by paying tribute to the Turks.

17th Century — Wallachia, Moldavia and Transilvania are briefly united under Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave), prince of Wallachia. Unity lasted only one year after which, Michael the Brave was defeated by the Turks and Hapsburg forces. Transilvania came under Hapsburg rule while Turkish suzerainty continued in Wallachia and Moldavia.

18th Century — Transilvania and the northern part of Moldavia (called Bucovina) are incorporated in the Hapsburg Empire.

1821 — Moldavia looses its eastern territory, Bessarabia, to Russia.

1848 — Transilvania falls under the direct rule of Hungary and a strong push for Magyarisation (of names and official language), from Budapest, follows.

1859 — Alexandru Ioan Cuza is elected to the thrones of Moldavia and Wallachia.

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

1866 — Carol I (German born) succeeds Alexandru Ioan Cuza, as prince of Romania.

1881 — Romania becomes a Kingdom.

1914 — King Carol I dies. He is succeeded by his nephew King Ferdinand I (1914-1927). Romania enters WWI on the side of the Triple Entente aiming to regain its lost territories (part of Transilvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina).

1918 — During large public assemblies representatives of most towns, villages and local communities in Transilvania, Bessarabia and Bucovina declare union with Romania.

1930 — Carol II, Ferdinand's I son becomes king of Romania.

1939 — Germany demands a monopoly on Romanian exports (mainly oil, lumber and agricultural products) in exchange for the guarantee of its borders.

1940 — The Soviet Union annexes Bessarabia and Northern Bucovina. Germany and Italy force Romania to cede Northern Transilvania to Hungary and Southern Dobrogea to Bulgaria. Widespread demonstrations against King Carol II. Marshall Ion Antonescu forces him 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 joins Germany against the Soviet Union.

1944 — King Michael engineers a royal coup and arrests Marshall Ion Antonescu. Romania changes sides and joins Soviet forces against Fascist Germany.

1945 — The Yalta Agreement makes Romania part of the Soviet system.

1947 — With Soviet troops on its territory, Romania enters the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. The communists, who gradually took power, force King Michael to abdicate and proclaim Romania a People's Republic.

1950s — After Stalin's death, Romania begins to distance itself from Moscow.

1968 — The condemnation of Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia by Romania's communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu, earns him praise and economic aid from the West.

1980s — Obsessed with repaying the national debt and megalomaniac building projects Ceausescu orders a ban on importation of any consumer products and commands exportation of all goods produced in Romania except minimum food supplies. Severe restrictions of civil rights are imposed.

1989 — Romanians unite in protests against the communist leadership and local demonstrations sparked a national uprising that finally ousted communist ruler Nicolae Ceausescu and his cabinet.

1991 — Romanians vote for a new Constitution.

Find out more about the major events that define the country, on one of the historical tours in Romania.

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Goverment

Romania is a parliamentary democracy based on a bicameral Parliament: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. All members of the legislature are directly elected from Romania's 41 counties.

The head of state is the President who is elected by universal suffrage, every four years.
The Head of Government is the Prime Minister who is nominated by the President.

Romania is a NATO member and is expected to become member of the European Union in 2007.

The Presidency of Romania
The Government of Romania

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Economy

For many centuries Romania's economy was based on agriculture. In the 1930s Romania was one of the main European producers of wheat, corn and meats and it used to be called "the bread basket of Europe." In the 1950s the communist leader of Romania, Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej, began developing heavy industry.

There has been a shift towards heavy industries since the 1970s but the agriculture is still economically important and employs about one-third of the workforce.

Romania produces coal, natural gas, iron ore and petroleum but most raw material for the country's large industrial capacity potential are imported. Prominent industries include chemical (petrochemical, paints and varnishes), metal processing, machine manufacturing, industrial and transport equipment, textiles, manufactured consumer goods, lumbering and furniture.

39.2% of Romania's territory is arable land, 28% forests, 21% pastures, hayfields and orchards and 2.5% vineyards. Corn, wheat, vegetable oil seeds, vegetables, apples and grapes for wine are the main crops and sheep and pigs the main livestock. Forestry and fisheries are being developed under long-term programs. Since 1990, successive governments have concentrated on turning Romania into a market economy.

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source: romaniatourism.com
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