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    Located in the southeastern part of Central Europe, Romania shares borders with the Black Sea to the southeast, with Bulgaria to the south (separated by the Danube), Serbia to the southwest, Hungary to the northwest, Ukraine to the east and to the north and the Republic of Moldova to the east. The maps below will help you to locate the country on the world map even better:
    At 238,391 square kilometers, approximately 300 miles North-South and 400 miles East- West, Romania is the second largest country in the area, after Poland but the ninth of the European Union. With 20,121,641 people (in October 2011) it is the seventh largest population of the European Union.  The official language is Romanian, but on the territory also live other Ethnic groups: Hungarians (6.5 %), Roma (3.3 %) and 1.3 % are other minorities. 81% of the population is Christian Orthodox, only 4.3% Roman Catholic, 3% Greek-Catholic and the rest is Unitarian, Jewish or other. Time zone: GMT+2.

Politics and Economy
            The Flag of Romania is represented by three vertical stripes: red, yellow and blue. The colors have a specific significance: red is from the blood of their ancestors who sacrificed their lives in order to protect the country; yellow is from the plains full of grain and blue from the sky. The official currency is Leu (RON) (plural Lei). Romania is a Unitary semi-presidential republic, ruled by Mr. Traian Basescu; the Parliament is bicameral (the Chamber of Representatives with 346 members and the Senate with 140 members) and its residence is at the Palace of the Parliament. The supreme court of Romania is the High Court of Cassation and Justice. The legal system is based on European models and the Constitution of France's Fifth Republic. The president is elected by popular vote, each term lasts for five years and he can be elected for maximum two terms. Since 2007, Romania is part of the European Union.
            You probably heard before about "the bread basket of Europe". Well, that’s Romania! For many years, almost the entire economy was based on agriculture and in the 30’, this country was the biggest exporter of wheat, corn and meats in the Europe. The industry started to be developed since 1950, when the communist leader, Gheorghe Ghiorghiu Dej came to power. But the transition was pretty difficult for the people, so the most part of the economy was still based on agriculture and only 1/3 of the people worked in the industrial area. Even if Romania produced natural gas, petroleum, iron ore and so on, the most part of the materials required for developing the industry were imported.

    The largest city and capital is Bucharest, but Cluj-Napoca, Timi?oara, Ia?i, Constan?a are also large cities and important economic and cultural centers. Romania is divided into 41 counties and each of them is administrated by a country council and also subdivided into cities and communes. In the entire country are a total of 319 cities and 2,686 communes. Here is a map with all the divisions and their names:
Romania is associated with big names in art, sport, science; those persons are like a symbol for the country – who doesn’t think about Romania when they read about Nadia Comaneci? She was a legend, the first in the world to score a perfect 10! George Brancu?i, the modern sculptor is well-known all over the world; the musician George Enescu was born in Romania too and don’t forget about Ilie Nastase or Ana Aslan – the one who discovered Gerovital!

Best to travel
            Because the country's topography is extremely varied, visiting Romania is a good idea even if the Sun is up or there is a thick layer of snow on the ground. Just think about the Black Sea, miles of sand beaches, the moment when your feet touch the water after you were lying on the sand could make your summer unforgettable. If you are in the area, maybe you will spend a couple of days in the Danube Delta - the permanent meeting between the sand and the sea, human and nature. For those who love the winter and the snow, Sinaia will touch your souls. You can visit the Pele? and Peli?or Castle and go skiing until May!
Romania’s collection of castles and fortresses will melt your heart, so don’t forget to visit the Bran Castle in order to meet Dracula, the Corvine?ti Castle in Hunedoara, the Fagaras Fortress, Sarmisegetusa - the capital, the most important military, religious and political centre of the Dacians. Those can be seen all over the year.
            Transylvania hides behind its cities, buildings and streets many historical stories, legends and myths – the area has a lot to offer, you marvel marvel at Transylvania’s unique architectural treasures while you sit at a restaurant, eating some culinary specialties. The Carpathian Mountains are a must see and you can visit them any time on the year, but it depends. If you want to follow the routes on Ceahlau, for example, make sure that you do it on spring, summer or early autumn. Transfagara?an Roan is another destination for you – this is definitely the best road in the world, after Transalpina.
 In Suceava country you can visit one of the most famous monastery, Vorone?, also called The Sistine Chapel of the East. Moldova, in the N-W part of Romania is well-known for the beautiful religious constructions, with an unique design and style; they are open for tourist in every season, but your experience will be more interesting if you choose to visit them during an important religious celebration.

Interesting facts about Romania

•  The name, Romania, comes from Latin: the word “Romanus” means “citizen of the Roman Empire”. You probably know that in 106 AD, Emperor Trajan conquered Dacia (Romania today), so the Latin people had a significant influence.
•  The Romanian language is 1,700 years old.
•  The meaning of the word Transylvania, a region of Romania, is “the land beyond the forest”. Can you guess why? If you take a closer look to the map, you will see that Transylvania is separated by the Carpathian Mountains from the rest of the country so… by forest!
•  Traian Vuia was the first who managed to build and fly with a fully self-propelled “automobile airplane”.
•  Timi?oara was the first city in Europe with electric street-lighting in 1889.
•  The first entirely lit by electrical current in the Europe was Peles Castle.
•  At Ploie?ti was the world’s first industrial oil refinery in 1857 and in Samasel was the first natural gas compression station in the entire Europe.
•  The third longest man-made navigation route is in Romania, The Danube-Black Sea canal. It was build during the term of Nicolae Ceausescu and many prisoners worked and died during the process.
•  The “real Dracula” is Vlad Tepes, a Romanian prince and military leader.
•  The most expensive newspaper copy in the whole world is, as you already guessed, a Romanian newspaper!
•  The largest and most expensive administration building In the world is The Palace of Parliament. It is also the second biggest construction, after the Pentagon.
•  The Black Church in Bra?ov has the largest organ in Europe, with 4000 tubes.
•  People in Romania played baseball long before this sport become the most popular sport in America, but it carried another name – Oina.
•  The Romanian Carpathians include one of the largest volcanic chain in Europe.
•  Buchurest is the sixth largest capital city of the European Union.
•  The gymnast Nadia Comaneci was the first who scored a perfect ten!
•  The second-largest outdoor museum in the world is in Romania.
•  The narrowest street in Europe is in Bra?ov.
•  Nicolae Paulescu, a Romanian physiologist and professor of medicine discovered pancreatine – the first substance to have a normalizing effect on blood sugar levels.
•  The tallest rock sculpture in Europe (135 feet tall) is The statue of Dacian king Decebal, in the rocky bank of the Danube river.

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Published by Alina-Ioana Anghel


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