I was born and currently reside in Romania. It is my country and I am proud of it. I know it has its dark side, but as for all things in life, I focus on the bright side and tend to value them. Also, in my opinion, there is a very strong and intimate bound between a person and his country of origin, and to hate or deny it means hating or denying a part of yourself, which is not a very functional idea. I love myself and I love my place of birth. And here I go, giving you an idea about Romania as a very diversified, colorful and full of vitality land.
There are a lot of information about it, so in this overview, I want to offer you a collection of entries linking to more in depth articles about related subjects. This way, you can go exactly on the parts that interest you the most and read them. I plan to increase this mini database of information about Romania by adding new contents each month so that all entries of this overview will be covered at some point in time.
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, north of the Balkan Peninsula on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea. Almost all of the Danube Delta is located within its territory. As for the countries Romania is surrounded by Hungary and Serbia to the west and southwest, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the north and northeast, and Bulgaria to the south.
From the administrative point of view, Romania is divided into 42 counties. Bucharest, the capital, is the most important political, economic and cultural center of the country. It lies on the Dambovita River in southeast of the Romanian Plain and is surrounded by forests and lakes. Other major cities are Cluj Napoca, Timisoara, Lasi, Constanta, Brasov, Sibiu, Arad, and Oradea.
The climate in Romania is temperate-continental -- a typical one in Central Europe (hot summers, cold winters, abundant snowfalls, especially in mountainous areas) and with Mediterranean influences due to its distance from the open sea. There are four distinct seasons similar to that of North America. Warmest areas are in the south. In winter, the average temperature drops to - 3 Â°C, and summer is between 22 Â°C and 24 Â°C. The lowest temperature recorded was -38.5 Â°C (-37.3 Â°F) in January 24, 1942 (Central Romania) and the highest temperature was 44.5 Â°C + (112 Â°F) in August 10, 1951 (South-Eastern Romania).
According to a press release from The Institute of National Statistics, the Romanian population was recorded with 21,462,000 inhabitants on January 1, 2010, with 2 millions of Romanians living in Bucharest, the country's largest city and capital. Romania is the seventh country in the European Union on the largest population chart. It follows Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Poland.
Romanian is the only official language nationwide and is spoken by 91% of the population. Aside from it, there are other spoken languages such as Hungarian and German. The main foreign languages are English (25%), French (24%), and Italian (5%). Romanian language is very similar to Italian and for this reason, it is very easy for us to learn Italian fast (it took me 6 weeks, with 4 weeks spent in Italy).
The dominant religious body is the Romanian Orthodox Church. Its members make up for 86.7% of the population. Other important Christian denominations include Roman Catholicism (4.7%), Protestantism (3.7%), Pentecostalism (1.5%), and the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church (0.9%).
Visitors come to Romania for its people, its natural landscapes, its unique monasteries and Dracula's Castle. More than 2,000 years of history are packed in this country. Some of the major places in Romania worth of being seen include:
- 42 MaramureÅ wooden churches - the most renowned and also included on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, being: Budesti Josani, Desesti - Mara valley, BÃ¢rsana, Botiza, Dragomiresti, Ieud, Poienile Izei, Plopis,/Sisesti Commune, Rogoz/TÃ¢rgu Lapus, Surdesti/Sisesti.
- Painted churches of northern Moldavia: Arbore - Suceava, Manastirea Humorului - Suceava, Moldovita - Suceava, Suceava - Suceava, Voronet - Suceava, Sucevita - Suceava, with their fine exterior and interior frescoes and is also included on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
- Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania: Biertan - Sibiu, CÃ¢lnic - Alba, DÃ¢rjiu - Harghita,
Prejmer - Brasov, Saschiz - Mures, Valea Viilor - Sibiu.
- The Monastery of Horezu
- The most important castles and palaces: Bran Castle - Brasov, Hunyad Castle -Deva, Iulia Hasdeu Castle - Campina, Peles Castle - Sinaia, Baroque Palace - Oradea, Poienari Castle - Curtea de Arges, the citadel of SighiÅoara, the Neamt Citadel, Bontida BÃ¡nffy Castle, Brukenthal Castle - Sibiu, Mogosoaia Palace - Bucharest, Royal palace. Bucharest now hosts the National Museum of Art of Romania.
- Immense artificially accumulated lakes - Iron Gates (Danube Gorge), Vidraru, Bicaz - although their initial purpose was for the economics, they have now become an interest due to the landscape value.
- Danube Delta
- Retezat National Park
- ScÄriÅoara Ice Cave in the Apuseni Mountains of Romania (Bihor County)
- Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park
- Ceahlau Massif
- Piatra Craiului Mountains
- Sphinx and Babele
Unique places in the world
- Berca Mud Volcanoes - BuzÄu Couty - a geological and botanical reservation
- Te ScÄriÅoara Ice Cave in the Apuseni Mountains of Romania (Bihor County)
- The Merry Cemetery in SÄpÃ¢nÅ£a, MaramureÅ County - the original character of this one of a kind cemetery is first of all suggested by its name. This paradoxical name is due to the vivid colors of the crosses and the amusing or satirical epitaphs carved on them.
- Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest - according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Palace is the world's largest civilian administrative building, the most expensive administrative building, and heaviest building.
- TransfÄgÄrÄÅan road - the most dramatic and second highest paved road in Romania.
A lot of other aspects were left over from this article like sports, cuisine and festivals, to name a few. The second article about Romania is coming soon, so watch out for it. As for the moment, I want to end my first Romania overview by quoting Bemis:
"People ask what I love so much about Romania and I can't even explain it. I think everyone who's ever been here understands at least a little what I mean. There's something about this place that's incredible. Romania is home, and once you've lived here, it's pretty much stuck in you. It's full of ingenious, bluntly honest, fun-loving, and (occasionally overwhelmingly) hospitable people. It's a country with some of the most diverse and gorgeous nature I've ever seen. The culture is rich and proud and occasionally morbidly humorous (ever heard of a Merry Cemetery?)."
- Photo credits - http://www.aboutromania.com/