Romania (dated: Rumania, Roumania;
Romanian: România, IPA: [ro.m?'ni.a]) is a country in Southeastern
Europe. It shares a border with Hungary and Serbia to the west,
Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the northeast, and Bulgaria
to the south. Romania has a stretch of sea coast along the Black
Sea. It is located roughly in the lower basin of the Danube and
almost all of the Danube Delta is located within its territory.
Romania is a semi-presidential unitary state. As a nation-state,
the country was formed by the merging of Moldavia and Wallachia
in 1859 and it gained recognition of its independence in 1878. Later,
in 1918, they were joined by Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia.
At the end of World War II, parts of its territories (roughly the
present day Moldova) were occupied by USSR and Romania became a
member of Warsaw Pact. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989,
Romania started a series of political and economic reforms that
allowed for Romania to join the European Union on January 1, 2007.
Romania has the 9th largest territory and the 7th largest population
(with 22 million people) among the European Union member states.
Its capital and largest city is Bucharest (Romanian: Bucuresti /bu.ku're?t?/
(help·info)), the 6th largest city in the EU with almost
2.2 million people. In 2007, Sibiu, a large city in Transylvania,
was chosen as European Capital of Culture. Romania also joined
NATO on March 29, 2004, and is also a member of the Latin Union,
of the Francophonie and of OSCE.
2.1 Prehistory and Antiquity
2.2 Middle Ages
2.3 Independence and monarchy
2.4 World Wars and Greater Romania
2.6 Present-day democracy
4.2 Largest cities
7.3 Foreign relations
11 External links
Main article: Etymology of Romania
The name of Romania (România) comes from Român (Romanian)
which is a derivative of the word Romanus ("Roman") from
Latin. The fact that Romanians have said the name is a derivative
of Romanus (Romanian: Român/Rumân) is mentioned as early
as the 16th century by many authors, including Italian Humanists
travelling in Transylvania, Moldavia and Wallachia.
The oldest surviving document written in the Romanian language is
a 1521 letter (known as "Neacsu's Letter from Câmpulung")
which notifies the mayor of Brasov about the imminent attack of
the Ottoman Turks. This document is also notable for having the
first occurrence of "Rumanian" in a Romanian written text,
Wallachia being here named The Rumanian Land - Teara Rumâneasca
(Teara from the Latin: Terra land). In the following centuries,
Romanian documents use interchangeably two spelling forms: Român
and Rumân. Socio-linguistic evolutions in the late 17th
century led to a process of semantic differentiation: the form "rumân",
presumably usual among lower classes, got the meaning of "bondsman",
while the form "român" kept an ethno-linguistic
meaning. After the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the form "rumân"
gradually disappears and the spelling definitively stabilises to
the form "român", "românesc".
The name "România" as common homeland of all Romanians
is documented in the early 19th century. This name has been
officially in use since December 11, 1861.
Main article: History of Romania
Outline of the Dacian Kingdom at its greatest extent
 Prehistory and Antiquity
Main articles: Prehistoric Romania, Dacia, and Roman Dacia
The oldest modern human remains in Europe were discovered in the
"Cave With Bones" in present day Romania. The remains
are approximately 42,000 years old and as Europe’s oldest
remains of Homo sapiens, they may represent the first such people
to have entered the continent. The remains are especially interesting
because they present a mixture of archaic, early modern human and
Neanderthal morphological features.
The earliest written evidence of people living in the territory
of the present-day Romania comes from Herodotus in 513 BC. In
one of his books, he writes that the tribal confederation of the
Getae were defeated by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great during
his campaign against the Scythians. Dacians were a branch of
Thracians that inhabitanted Dacia (corresponding to modern Romania,
Moldova and northern Bulgaria). The Dacian kingdom reached its maximum
expansion during King Burebista, around 82 BC. Later, The region
came under the scrutiny of Rome when the Roman province, bordering
along the Danube, Moesia, was attacked by the Dacians in 87 AD during
Emperor Domitian's reign. The Dacians were eventually defeated by
the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan in two campaigns stretching
from 101 AD to 106 AD, and the core of their kingdom was turned
into the province of Roman Dacia.
Roman DaciaBecause the province was rich in ores, and especially
silver and gold, the Romans heavily colonized the province,
brought with them Vulgar Latin and started a period of intense romanization
(giving birth to proto-Romanian). But in the 3rd century
AD, with the invasions of migratory populations such as Goths, the
Roman Empire was forced to pull out of Dacia around 271 AD, thus
making it the first province to be abandoned.
Several competing theories have been generated to explain the origin
of modern Romanians. Linguistic and geo-historical analyses tend
to indicate that Romanians have coalesced as a major ethnic group
both South and North of the Danube. For further discussion,
see Origin of Romanians.
 Middle Ages
Main articles: Romania in the Early Middle Ages and Romania in the
In either 271 or 275, the Roman army and administration left Dacia,
which was invaded by the Goths. The Goths lived with the local
people until the 4th century, when a nomadic people, the Huns, arrived.
The Gepids and the Avars and their Slavic subjects ruled
Transylvania until the 8th century. It was then invaded by Bulgarians,
thereafter being incorporated into the First Bulgarian Empire (marking
the end of Romania's Dark Age), where it remained part of until
the 11th century. The Pechenegs, the Cumans and Uzes were
also mentioned by historic chronicles on the territory of Romania,
until the founding of the Romanian principalities of Wallachia by
Basarab I around 1310 in the High Middle Ages, and Moldavia
by Dragos around 1352.
Bran Castle built in 1212, is commonly known as Dracula's Castle
and is situated in the centre of present-day Romania. In addition
to its unique architecture, the castle is famous because of persistent
myths that it was once the home of Vlad III Dracula.In the Middle
Ages, Romanians lived in three distinct principalities: Wallachia
(Romanian: Tara Româneasca—"Romanian Land"),
Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova) and Transylvania. Transylvania was
part of the Kingdom of Hungary from the 10-11th century until the
16th century, when it became the independent Principality of
Transylvania until 1711.
Independent Wallachia has been on the border of the Ottoman Empire
since the 14th century and slowly fell under the suzerainty of the
Ottoman Empire during the 15th century. One famous ruler in this
period was Vlad III the Impaler (also known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad
Tepes, IPA: ['tsepe?]), Prince of Wallachia in 1448, 1456–62,
and 1476. In the English-speaking world, Vlad is best known
for the legends of the exceedingly cruel punishments he imposed
during his reign and for serving as the primary inspiration for
the vampire main character in Bram Stoker's popular Dracula (1897)
novel. As king, he maintained an independent policy in relation
to the Ottoman Empire, and in Romania he is viewed by many as a
prince with a deep sense of justice, and a defender of both
Wallachia and European Christianity against Ottoman expansionism.
Voronet Monastery built in 1488 by Stephen III of Moldavia (Stephen
the Great) after his victory at the Battle of Vaslui.The principality
of Moldavia reached its most glorious period under the rule of Stephen
the Great between 1457 and 1504. His rule of 47 years was unusually
long, especially at that time - only 13 rulers were recorded to
have ruled for at least 50 years until the end of 15th century.
He was a very successful military leader (winning 47 battles and
losing only 2),) and after each victory, he raised a church,
managing to build 48 churches or monasteries, some of them with
unique and very interesting painting styles. For more information
see Painted churches of northern Moldavia listed in UNESCO's list
of World Heritage Sites. Stephen's most prestigious victory was
over the Ottoman Empire in 1475 at the Battle of Vaslui for which
he raised the Voronet Monastery. For this victory, Pope Sixtus IV
deemed him verus christianae fidei athleta (true Champion of Christian
Faith). However, after his death, Moldavia would also come under
the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
Michael the Brave (Romanian: Mihai Viteazul) was the Prince of
Wallachia (1593-1601), of Transylvania (1599-1600), and of Moldavia
(1600). Briefly, during his reign the three principalities largely
inhabited by Romanians were for the first time united under a single
rule. After his death, as vassal tributary states, Moldova and
Wallachia had complete internal autonomy and an external independence,
which was finally lost in the 18th century.
Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania at the end of the XVIth century
 Independence and monarchy
Main articles: Early Modern Romania, National awakening of Romania,
Romanian War of Independence, and Kingdom of Romania
During the period of Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania, and
Ottoman suzerainty over Wallachia and Moldavia, most Romanians were
in the situation of being second-class citizens (or even non-citizens)
in a territory where they were forming the majority of the population.
In some Transylvanian cities, such as Brasov (at that time the Transylvanian
Saxon citadel of Kronstadt), Romanians were not even allowed to
reside within the city walls.
After the failed 1848 Revolution, the Great Powers did not support
the Romanians' expressed desire to officially unite in a single
state, forcing Romania to proceed alone against the Turks. The electors
in both Moldavia and Wallachia chose in 1859 the same person –
Alexandru Ioan Cuza – as prince (Domnitor in Romanian).
Thus, Romania was created as a personal union, albeit a Romania
that did not include Transylvania, where although Romanian nationalism
inevitably ran up against Hungarian nationalism at the end of the
19th century, the upper class and the aristocracy remained mainly
Hungarian. As in the previous 900 years, Austria-Hungary, especially
under the Dual Monarchy of 1867, kept the Hungarians firmly in control,
even in parts of Transylvania where Romanians constituted a local
Peles Castle, retreat of Romanian monarchsIn a 1866 coup d'etat,
Cuza was exiled and replaced by Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen,
who became known as Prince Carol of Romania. During the Russo-Turkish
War, Romania fought on the Russian side; in the 1878 Treaty
of Berlin, Romania was recognized as an independent state by
the Great Powers. In return, Romania ceded three southern districts
of Bessarabia to Russia and acquired Dobruja. In 1881, the principality
was raised to a kingdom and Prince Carol became King Carol I.
The 1878-1914 period was one of stability and progress for Romania.
During the Second Balkan War, Romania joined Greece, Serbia, Montenegro
and Turkey against Bulgaria. In the peace Treaty of Bucharest (1913)
Romania gained Southern Dobrudja - the Quadrilateral (the Durostor
and Caliacra counties).
Territories inhabited by Romanians before WWI
 World Wars and Greater Romania
Main articles: Romanian Campaign (World War I), Greater Romania,
and Romania during World War II
In August 1914, when World War I broke out, Romania declared neutrality.
Two years later, under the pressure of Allies (especially France
desperate to open a new front), on August 14/27 1916 it joined the
Allies, for which they were promised support for the accomplishment
of national unity, Romania declared war on Austria-Hungary.
The Romanian military campaign ended in disaster for Romania as
the Central Powers conquered two-thirds of the country and captured
or killed the majority of its army within four months. Nevertheless,
Moldova remained in Romanian hands after the invading forces were
stopped in 1917 and since by the war's end, Austria-Hungary and
the Russian Empire had collapsed, Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania
were allowed to unite with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. By the
1920 Treaty of Trianon, Hungary renounced in favour of Romania all
the claims of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy over Transylvania.
The union of Romania with Bukovina was ratified in 1919 in the Treaty
of Saint Germain, and with Bessarabia in 1920 by the Treaty
The Romanian expression România Mare (literal translation
"Great Romania", but more commonly rendered "Greater
Romania") generally refers to the Romanian state in the interwar
period, and by extension, to the territory Romania covered at the
time (see map). Romania achieved at that time its greatest territorial
extent (almost 300,000 km²), managing to unite all the
historic Romanian lands.
Romanian territory during the 20th century: purple indicates the
Old Kingdom before 1913, orange indicates Greater Romania areas
that joined or were annexed after the Second Balkan War and WWI
but were lost after WWII, and rose indicates areas that joined Romania
after WWI and remained so after WWII.During the Second World War,
Romania tried again to remain neutral, but on June 28, 1940, it
received a Soviet ultimatum with an implied threat of invasion in
the event of non-compliance. Under pressure from Moscow and
Berlin, the Romanian administration and the army were forced to
retreat from Bessarabia as well from Northern Bukovina to avoid
war. This, in combination with other factors, prompted the
government to join the Axis. Thereafter, southern Dobruja was awarded
to Bulgaria, while Hungary received Northern Transylvania as result
of an Axis arbitration. The authoritarian King Carol II abdicated
in 1940, succeeded by the National Legionary State, in which power
was shared by Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Within months, Antonescu
had crushed the Iron Guard, and the subsequent year Romania entered
the war on the side of the Axis powers. During the war, Romania
was the most important source of oil for Nazi Germany, which
attracted multiple bombing raids by the Allies. By means of the
Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania recovered Bessarabia
and northern Bukovina from the Soviet Russia, under the leadership
of general Ion Antonescu. The Antonescu regime played a major role
in the Holocaust, following to a lesser extent the Nazi policy
of oppression and massacre of the Jews, and Romas, primarily in
the Eastern territories Romania recovered or occupied from the Soviet
Union (Transnistria) and in Moldavia.
In August 1944, Antonescu was toppled and arrested by King Michael
I of Romania. Romania changed sides and joined the Allies, but its
role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris
Peace Conference of 1947. With the Red Army forces still stationed
in the country and exerting de facto control, Communists and their
allied parties claimed 80% of the vote, through a combination of
vote manipulation, elimination, and forced mergers of competing
parties, thus establishing themselves as the dominant force. By
the end of the war, the Romanian army had suffered about 300,000
Main article: Communist Romania
In 1947, King Michael I was forced by the Communists to abdicate
and leave the country, Romania was proclaimed a republic
, and remained under direct military and economic control of the
USSR until the late 1950s. During this period, Romania's resources
were drained by the "SovRom" agreements: mixed Soviet-Romanian
companies established to mask the looting of Romania by the Soviet
After the negotiated retreat of Soviet troops in 1958, Romania,
under the new leadership of Nicolae Ceausescu, started to pursue
independent policies. Such examples are the condemnation of the
Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia (being the only Warsaw
Pact country not to take part in the invasion), the continuation
of diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967
(again, the only Warsaw Pact country to do so), the establishment
of economic (1963) and diplomatic (1967) relations with the Federal
Republic of Germany, and so forth. Also, close ties with the
Arab countries (and the PLO) allowed Romania to play a key role
in the Israel-Egypt and Israel-PLO peace processes by intermediating
the visit of Sadat in Israel. A short-lived period of relative
economic well-being and openness followed in the late 1960s and
the beginning of the 1970s. As Romania's foreign
debt sharply increased between 1977 and 1981 (from 3 to 10 billion
US dollars), the influence of international financial organisations
such as the IMF or the World Bank grew, conflicting with Nicolae
Ceausescu's autarchic policies. Ceausescu eventually
initiated a project of total reimbursement of the foreign debt (completed
in 1989, shortly before his overthrow). To achieve
this goal, he imposed policies that impoverished Romanians and exhausted
the Romanian economy. He greatly extended the authority
police state and imposed a cult of personality[citation
needed]. These led to a dramatic decrease in Ceausescu-popularity[citation
needed] and culminated in his overthrow and execution in the bloody
Romanian Revolution of 1989.
During the 1947–1962 period, many people were arbitrarily
killed or imprisoned for political, economic or unknown reasons:
detainees in prisons or camps, deported, persons under house arrest,
and administrative detainees. There were hundreds of thousands of
abuses, deaths and incidents of torture against a large range of
people, from political opponents to ordinary citizens. Between
60,000 and 80,000 political prisoners were detained as psychiatric
patients and treated in some of the most sadistic ways by communist
doctors. Even though between 1962 and 1964 some political prisoners
were freed in a series of amnesties it is estimated
that, in total, the regime directly killed up to two million people.
 Present-day democracy
Main article: Romania since 1989
After the fall of Ceausescu, the National Salvation Front (FSN),
led by Ion Iliescu, took partial multi-party democratic and free
market measures. Several major political parties of the
pre-war era, such as the National Christian Democrat Peasant's Party
(PNTCD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Romanian Social
Democrat Party (PSDR) were resurrected. After several major political
rallies (especially in January), in April 1990, a sit-in protest
contesting the results of the recently held parliamentary elections
began in University Square, Bucharest. The protesters accused the
FSN of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate.
The protesters did not recognize the results of the election, which
they deemed undemocratic, and were asking for the exclusion from
the political life of the former high-ranking Communist Party members.
The protest rapidly grew to become an ongoing mass demonstration
(known as the Golaniad). The peaceful demonstrations degenerated
into violence. After the police failed to bring the demonstrators
to order, Ion Iliescu called on the "men of good will"
to come and defend the State institutions in Bucharest.
Coal miners of the Jiu Valley answered the call and arrived in Bucharest
on June 14. Their violent intervention is remembered as the June
The subsequent disintegration of the FSN produced several political
parties including the Romanian Democrat Social Party (PDSR, later
Social Democratic Party, PSD), the Democratic Party (PD) and the
ApR (Alliance for Romania). The PDSR party governed Romania from
1990 until 1996 through several coalitions and governments with
Ion Iliescu as head of state. Since then there have been three democratic
changes of government: in 1996, the democratic-liberal opposition
and its leader Emil Constantinescu acceded to power; in 2000 the
Social Democrats returned to power, with Iliescu once again president;
and in 2004 Traian Basescu was elected president, with an electoral
coalition called Justice and Truth Alliance (DA). The government
was formed by a larger coalition which also includes the Conservative
Party and the ethnic Hungarian party.
Post-Cold War Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe,
eventually joining NATO in 2004. The country applied in June
1993 for membership in the European Union (EU). It became an Associated
State of the EU in 1995, an Acceding Country in 2004, and a member
on January 1, 2007.
Following the free travel agreement and politic of the post-Cold
War period, as well as hardship of the life in the post 1990s economic
depression, Romania has an increasingly large diaspora, estimated
at over 2 million people. The main emmigration
targets are Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, UK, and the USA.
Main article: Geography of Romania
Topographic map of Romania.With a surface area of 238,391 km²,
Romania is the largest country in southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest
in Europe. A large part of Romania's border with Serbia and Bulgaria
is formed by the Danube. The Danube is joined by the Prut River,
which forms the border with the Republic of Moldova. The Danube
flows into the Black Sea within Romania's territory forming the
Danube Delta, the second largest and the best preserved delta in
Europe, and a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage
Site. Other important rivers are the Siret, running north-south
through Moldavia, the Olt, running from the oriental Carpathian
Mountains to Oltenia, and the Mures, running through Transylvania
from East to West.
Romania's terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountainous,
hilly and lowland territories. The Carpathian Mountains dominate
the center of Romania, with fourteen of its mountain ranges reaching
above the altitude of 2,000 meters. The highest mountain in Romania
is Moldoveanu Peak (2544 m). In south-central Romania, the Carpathians
sweeten into hills, towards the Baragan Plains. Romania's geographical
diversity has led to an accompanying diversity of flora and fauna.
Lake Bucura in the Retezat Mountains
Main article: Protected areas of Romania
A high percentage of natural ecosystems (47% of the land area of
the country) is covered with natural and semi-natural ecosystems.
Since almost half of all forests in Romania (13% of the country)
have been managed for watershed conservation rather than production,
Romania has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe.
The integrity of Romanian forest ecosystems is indicated by the
presence of the full range of European forest fauna, including 60%
and 40% of all European brown bears and wolves, respectively.
There are also almost 400 unique species of mammals (of which Carpathian
chamois are best known), birds, reptiles and amphibians in Romania.
There are almost 10,000 km² (almost 5% of the total area)
of protected areas in Romania. Of these, Danube Delta Reserve
Biosphere is the largest and least damaged wetland complex in Europe,
covering a total area of 5800 km². The significance of
the biodiversity of the Danube Delta has been internationally recognised.
It was declared a Biosphere Reserve in September 1990, a Ramsar
site in May 1991, and over 50% of its area was placed on the World
Heritage List in December 1991. Within its boundaries is one
of the most extensive reed bed systems in the world. There
are two other biosphera reserves: Retezat National Park and Rodna
Landscape in the Danube DeltaMain article: Climate of Romania
Owing to its distance from the open sea and position on the southeastern
portion of the European continent, Romania has a climate that is
transitional between temperate and continental with four distinct
seasons. The average annual temperature is 11°C in the south
and 8°C in the north. The extreme recorded temperatures
are +44.5°C in 1951 and -38.5°C in 1942.
Spring is pleasant with cool mornings and nights and warm days.
Summers are generally very warm to hot, with summer (June to August)
average maximum temperatures in Bucharest being around 28 °C,
with temperatures over 35 °C fairly common in the lower-lying
areas of the country. Minima in Bucharest and other lower-lying
areas are around 16 °C, but at higher altitudes both maxima
and minima decline considerably. Autumn is dry and cool, with fields
and trees producing colorful foliage. Winters can be cold, with
average maxima even in lower-lying areas being no more than 2 °C
and below -15 °C in the highest mountains, where some areas
of permafrost occur on the highest peaks.
Precipitation is average with over 750 mm per year only on the
highest western mountains — much of it falling as snow which
allows for an extensive skiing industry. In the south-centern parts
of the country (around Bucharest) the level of precipitation drops
to around 600 mm, while in the Danube Delta, rainfall levels
are very low, and average only around 370 mm.
Main article: Demographics of Romania
According to the 2002 census, Romania has a population of 21,698,181
and, similarly to other countries in the region, is expected to
gently decline in the coming years as a result of sub-replacement
fertility rates. Romanians make up 89.5% of the population. The
largest ethnic minorities are Hungarians, who make up 6.6% of the
population and Roma, or Gypsies, who make up 2,5% of the population.
By the official census 535,250 Roma live in Romania. Hungarians,
who are a sizeable minority in Transylvania, constitute a majority
in the counties of Harghita and Covasna. Ukrainians, Germans, Lipovans,
Turks, Tatars, Serbs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Greeks, Russians,
Jews, Czechs, Poles, Italians, Armenians, as well as other ethnic
groups, account for the remaining 1.4% of the population. The
population density of the country as a whole has doubled since 1900
although, in contrast to other central European states, there is
still considerable room for further growth. The overall density
figures, however, conceal considerable regional variation. Population
densities are naturally highest in the towns, with the plains (up
to altitudes of some 700 ft) having the next highest density, especially
in areas with intensive agriculture or a traditionally high birth
rate (e.g., northern Moldavia and the “contact” zone
with the Subcarpathians); areas at altitudes of 700 to 2,000 feet
(600 m), rich in mineral resources, orchards, vineyards, and pastures,
support the lowest densities. The number of Romanians and individuals
with ancestors born in Romania living abroad is estimated at around
The official language of Romania is Romanian, an Eastern Romance
language related to Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan.
Romanian is spoken as a first language by 91% of the population,
with Hungarian and Romani being the most important minority languages,
spoken by 6.7% and 1.1% of the population, respectively. Until
the 1990s, there was also a substantial number of German-speaking
Transylvanian Saxons, even though many have since emigrated to Germany,
leaving only 45,000 native German speakers in Romania. In localities
where a given ethnic minority makes up more than 20% of the population,
that minority's language can be used in the public administration
and justice system, while native-language education and signage
is also provided. English and French are the main foreign languages
taught in schools. English is spoken by 5 million Romanians, French
is spoken by 4-5 million, and German, Italian and Spanish are each
spoken by 1-2 million people. Historically, French was the
predominant foreign language spoken in Romania, even though English
has since superseded it. Consequently, Romanian English-speakers
tend to be younger than Romanian French-speakers. Romania is, however,
a full member of La Francophonie, and hosted the Francophonie Summit
in 2006. German has been taught predominantly in Transylvania,
due to traditions tracing back to the Austro-Hungarian rule in this
Timisoara Orthodox Cathedral built between 1937 and 1940.
St. Michael's Catholic Church in Cluj-Napoca built between 1316
and 1545.Main articles: Religion in Romania and Romanian Orthodox
Romania is a secular state, thus having no national religion. The
dominant religious body is the Romanian Orthodox Church, an autocephalous
church within the Eastern Orthodox communion; its members make up
86.7% of the population according to the 2002 census. Other important
Christian denominations include Roman Catholicism (4.7%), Protestantism
(3.7%), Pentecostalism (1.5%) and the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church
(0.9%). Romania also has a historically significant Muslim
minority concentrated in Dobrogea, mostly of Turkish ethnicity and
numbering 67,500 people. Based on the 2002 census data, there
are also 6,179 Jews, 23,105 people who are of no religion and/or
atheist, and 11,734 who refused to answer. On December 27, 2006,
a new Law on Religion was approved under which religious denominations
can only receive official registration if they have at least 20,000
members, or about 0.1 percent of Romania's total population.
 Largest cities
Main article: Metropolitan areas in Romania
Bucharest is the capital and the largest city in Romania. At the
census in 2002, its population was over 1.9 million. The metropolitan
area of Bucharest has a population of about 2.2 million. There are
several plans the further increase its metropolitan area to about
20 times the area of the city proper.
There are 5 more cities in Romania, with a population of around
300,000, that are also present in EU top 100 most populous cities.
These are: Iasi, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Constanta, and Craiova.
The other cities with populations over 200,000 are Galati, Brasov,
Ploiesti, Braila and Oradea. Another 13 cities have populations
Until now, several of the largest cities have a metropolitan area:
Constanta (550,000 people), Brasov, Iasi (both with around 400,000)
and Oradea (260,000) and several others are planned: Timisoara (400,000),
Cluj-Napoca (400,000), Braila-Galati (600,000), Craiova (370,000),
Bacau and Ploiesti.
The library of University of BucharestMain article: Romanian Educational
Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Romanian education system
has been in a continuous process of reformation that has been both
praised and criticized. According to the Law on Education adopted
in 1995, the Educational System is regulated by the Ministry of
Education and Research. Each level has its own form of organization
and is subject to different legislations. Kindergarten is optional
between 3 and 6 years old. Schooling starts at age 7 (sometimes
6), and is compulsory until the 10th grade (which usually corresponds
to the age of 17 or 16). Primary and secondary education are
divided in 12 or 13 grades. Higher education is aligned onto the
European higher education area.
Aside from the official schooling system, and the recently-added
private equivalents, there exists a semi-legal, informal, fully
private tutoring system (meditatii). Tutoring is mostly used during
secondary as a preparation for the various examinations, which are
notoriously difficult. Tutoring is wide-spread, and it can be considered
a part of the Education System. It has subsisted and even prospered
during the Communist regime.
In 2004, some 4.4 million of the population was enrolled in school.
Out of these, 650,000 in kindergarten, 3.11 million (14% of population)
in primary and secondary level, and 650,000 (3% of population) in
tertiary level (universities). In the same year, the adult
literacy rate was 97,3% (45th worldwide), while the combined gross
enrollment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools was
75% (52nd worldwide). The results of the PISA assessment study
in schools for the year 2000 placed Romania on the 34th rank out
of 42 participant countries with a general weighted score of 432
representing 85% of the mean OECD score. According to the Academic
Ranking of World Universities, in 2006 no Romanian university was
included in the first 500 top universities world wide. Using
similar methodology to these rankings, it was reported that the
best placed Romanian university, Bucharest University, attained
the half score of the last university in the world top 500.
Romanian high school curricula have recently been censored and
restructured, owing to a growing trend of religious conservatism.
In 2006, the theory of evolution, which has been taught since the
country's Communist era, has been dropped from the compulsory curriculum
nationwide. Philosophical writers critical of religion, such as
Voltaire, Camus and Nietzsche have also been removed from the philosophy
curriculum.Instead, students are taught 7-day Creationism in Orthodox
religion classes, which under a new proposal would become compulsory.
Main article: Economy of Romania
Tower Center International in Bucharest is the tallest building
in RomaniaWith a GDP of around $250 billion and a GDP per capita
(PPP) of $11,989 estimated for 2008, Romania is considered
an upper-middle income economy and has been part of the European
Union since January 1, 2007. After the Communist regime was overthrown
in late 1989, the country experienced a decade of economic instability
and decline, led in part by an obsolete industrial base and a lack
of structural reform. From 2000 onwards, however, the Romanian economy
was transformed into one of relative macroeconomic stability, characterised
by high growth, low unemployment and declining inflation. In 2006,
according to the Romanian Statistics Office, GDP growth in real
terms was recorded at 7.7%, one of the highest rates in Europe.
The growth dampened to 6.1% in 2007, and is expected to be
around 5.7% in 2008. Unemployment in Romania was at 3.9% in
September 2007 which is very low compared to other middle-sized
or large European countries such as Poland, France, Germany and
Spain. Foreign debt is also comparatively low, at 20.3% of GDP.
Exports have increased substantially in the past few years, with
a 25% year-on-year rise in exports in the first quarter of 2006.
Romania's main exports are clothing and textiles, industrial machinery,
electrical and electronic equipment, metallurgic products, raw materials,
cars, military equipment, software, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals,
and agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, and flowers). Trade
is mostly centred on the member states of the European Union, with
Germany and Italy being the country's single largest trading partners.
The country, however, maintains a large trade deficit, which increased
sharply during 2007 by 50%, to 15 billon euros.
After a series of privatisations and reforms in the late 1990s
and early 2000s, government intervention in the Romanian economy
is somewhat lower than in other European economies. In 2005,
the government replaced Romania's progressive tax system with a
flat tax of 16% for both personal income and corporate profit, resulting
in the country having the lowest fiscal burden in the European Union,
a factor which has contributed to the growth of the private sector.
The economy is predominantly based on services, which account for
55% of GDP, even though industry and agriculture also have significant
contributions, making up 35% and 10% of GDP, respectively. Additionally,
32% of the Romanian population is employed in agriculture and primary
production, one of the highest rates in Europe. Since 2000,
Romania has attracted increasing amounts of foreign investment,
becoming the single largest investment destination in Southeastern
and Central Europe. Foreign direct investment was valued at €8.3
billion in 2006. According to a 2006 World Bank report, Romania
currently ranks 49th out of 175 economies in the ease of doing business,
scoring higher than other countries in the region such as Hungary,
Poland and the Czech Republic. Additionally, the same study
judged it to be the world's second-fastest economic reformer in
2006. The average gross wage per month in Romania is 1411 lei
as of September 2007, equating to €403.3 (US$597.3) based
on international exchange rates, and $1001.1 based on purchasing
Romania's road network
Main article: Transport in Romania
Due to its location, Romania is a major crossroad for international
economic exchange in Europe. However, because of insufficient investment,
maintenance and repair, the transport infrastructure does not meet
the current needs of a market economy and lags behind Western Europe.
Nevertheless, these conditions are rapidly improving and catching
up with the standards of Trans-European transport networks. Several
projects have been started with funding from grants from ISPA and
several loans from International Financial Institutions (World Bank,
IMF, etc.) guaranteed by the state, to upgrade the main road corridors.
Also, the Government is actively pursuing new external financing
or public-private partnerships to further upgrade the main roads,
and especially the country's motorway network.
World Bank estimates that the railway network in Romania comprised
in 2004 22,298 km of track, which would make it the fourth largest
railroad network in Europe. The railway transport experienced
a dramatic fall in freight and passenger volumes from the peak volumes
recorded in 1989 mainly due to the decline in GDP and competition
from road transport. In 2004, the railways carried 8.64 billion
passenger-km in 99 million passenger journeys, and 73 million metric
tones, or 17 billion ton-km of freight. The combined total
transportation by rail constituted around 45% of all passenger and
freight movement in the country.
Bucharest is the only city in Romania which has an underground
railway system. The Bucharest Metro was only opened in 1979. Now
is one of the most accessed systems of the Bucharest public transport
network with an average ridership of 600,000 passengers during the
Main article: Tourism in Romania
The official logo of Romania, used to promote the tourist attractions
in the countryTourism focuses on the country's natural landscapes
and its rich history and is a significant contributor to the Romania's
economy. In 2006, the domestic and international tourism generated
about 4.8% of gross domestic product and 5.8% of the total jobs
(about half a million jobs). Following commerce, tourism is
the second largest component of the services sector. Tourism is
one of the most dynamic and fastest developing sectors of the economy
of Romania and characterized by a huge potential for development.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council Romania is the
fourth fastest growing country in the world in terms of travel and
tourism total demand with a yearly potential growth of 8% from 2007-2016.
Number of tourists grew from 4.8 million in 2002 to 6.6 million
in 2004. Similarly, the revenues grew from 400 million in 2002
to 607 in 2004. In 2006, Romania registered 20 million overnight
stays by international tourists, an all-time record, but the
number for 2007 is expected to increase even more. Tourism
in Romania attracted €400 million in investments in 2005.
Mamaia, at the Black Sea shoreOver the last years, Romania has emerged
as a popular tourist destination for many Europeans (more than 60%
of the foreign visitors were from EU countries), thus attempting
to compete with Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Spain. Romania destinations
such as Mangalia, Saturn, Venus, Neptun, Olimp, Constanta and Mamaia
(sometimes called the Romanian Riviera) and are among the most popular
attraction during summer. During winter the skiing resorts
along the Valea Prahovei and Poiana Brasov are booming with visitors.
Several cities in Transylvania (such as Sibiu, Brasov, Sighisoara,
Cluj-Napoca and several others) have become important touristic
attractions for foreign tourists - especially for their medieval
atmosphere and castles. Rural tourism focused on
folklore and traditions, has become a major issue for the authorities
recently, and is targeted to promote such sites
as Bran and its Dracula's Castle, the Painted churches of Northern
Moldavia, the Wooden churches of Maramures, or the Merry Cemetery
in Maramures County. There are several major natural attractions
in Romania - such as Danube Delta, Iron Gates (Danube Gorge),
Scarisoara Cave and several other caves in the Apuseni Mountains
- that have not received great attention from the authorities and
whose potential has not been fully tapped.
Saxon medieval city of Sibiu, European Capital of Culture in 2007
The Palace of Culture in Iasi was built between 1906-1925 and hosts
several museumsMain article: Culture of Romania
Romania has its unique culture, which is the product of its geography
and of its distinct historical evolution. Like Romanians themselves,
it is fundamentally defined as the meeting point of three regions:
Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, but cannot be truly
included in any of them. The Romanian identity formed on a
substratum of mixed Roman and quite possibly Dacian elements,
with many other influences. During late Antiquity and the Middle
Ages, the major influences came from the Slavic peoples who migrated
and settled in nearby Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine and eventually Russia;[citation
needed] from medieval Greeks and the Byzantine Empire;[citation
needed] from a long domination by the Ottoman Empire;
from the Hungarians; and from the Germans living
in Transylvania. Modern Romanian culture emerged and developed over
roughly the last 250 years under a strong influence from Western
culture, particularly French and German culture.[citation
Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest was opened in 1888Main articles:
Literature of Romania, Music of Romania, Arts in Romania, Cinematography
in Romania, and Romanian philosophy
The Romanian literature began to truly evolve with the revolutions
of 1848 and the union of the two Danubian Principalities in 1856.
The Origin of the Romanians began to be discussed and in Transylvania
and Romanian scholars began studying in France, Italy and Germany.[citation
needed] The German philosophy and French culture were integrated
into modern Romanian literature and a new elite of artists lead
to the appearance of some of the classics of the Romanian literature
such as Mihai Eminescu, George Cosbuc, Ioan Slavici. Although they
remain little known outside Romania, they are very appreciated within
Romania for giving birth to a true Romanian literature by creating
modern lyrics with inspiration from the old folklore tales. Of them,
Eminescu is considered the most important and influential Romanian
poet, and is still very much loved for his creations, and especially
the peom Luceafarul. Among other writers that made large contributions
around the second half of 19th century are Mihail Kogalniceanu (also
the first prime minister of Romania), Vasile Alecsandri, Nicolae
Balcescu, Ion Luca Caragiale, and Ion Creanga.
Mihai Eminescu, national poet of Romania and MoldovaThe first half
of the 20th century is regarded by many Romanian scholars as the
Golden Age of Romanian culture and it is the period when it reached
its main level of international affirmation and a strong connection
to the European cultural trends. The most important
artist who had a great influence on the world culture was the sculptor
Constantin Brâncusi, a central figure of the modern movement
and a pioneer of abstraction, the innovator of world sculpture by
immersion in the primordial sources of folk creation. His sculptures
blend simplicity and sophistication that led the way for modernist
sculptors. As a testimony to his skill, one of his pieces,
"Bird in Space" , was sold in an auction for $27.5 million
in 2005, a record for any sculpture. In the period
between the two world wars, authors like Tudor Arghezi, Lucian Blaga,
Eugen Lovinescu, Ion Barbu, Liviu Rebreanu made efforts to synchronize
Romanian literature with the European literature of the time. From
this period comes also George Enescu, probably the best known Romanian
musician. He is a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor,
teacher, and one of the greatest performers of his time, in
whose honor is held the annualy in Bucharest, the classical music
George Enescu Festival.
Brancusi's Endless Column in Targu JiuAfter the world wars, communism
brough heavy censorship on almost all elements of life and they
used the cultural world as a mean to better control the population.[citation
needed] The freedom of expression was constantly restricted in various
ways, but the likes of Gellu Naum, Nichita Stanescu, Marin Sorescu
or Marin Preda managed to escape censorship, broke with "socialist
realism" and were the leaders of a small "Renaissance"
in Romanian literature. While not many of them managed to obtain
international acclaim due to the censorship, some like Constantin
Noica, Tristan Tzara and Mircea Cartarescu had their works published
abroad even though they got jailed for various political reasons.
Some artists chose to leave the country entirely, and continued
to make contributions in exile. Among them Eugen Ionescu, Mircea
Eliade and Emil Cioran became renown worldwide for their works.
Other literary figures who enjoy acclaim outside of the country
include the poet Paul Celan and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, both
survivors of the Holocaust. Some famous Romanian artists musicians
are the folk artist Tudor Gheorghe, and the virtuoso of the pan
flute Gheorghe Zamfir - who is reported to have sold over 120 million
Romanian cinema has recently achieved worldwide acclaim with the
appearance of such films as The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, directed
by Cristi Puiu, (Cannes 2005 Prix un certain regard winner), and
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, directed by Cristian Mungiu (Cannes
2007 Palme d'Or winner). The latter, according to Variety,
is "further proof of Romania's new prominence in the film world."
Hunyadi Castle, 1419, with its impressive size and architectural
beauty sets it among the most precious monuments of medieval art.
The Saxon city of Sighisoara first attested in the 12th century,
is nowadays famous for its Medieval Festival
See also: List of castles in Romania, List of museums in Romania,
and UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Romania
The UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites includes Romanian sites
such as the Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania,
the Painted churches of northern Moldavia with their fine exterior
and interior frescoes, the Wooden Churches of Maramures unique examples
that combine Gothic style with traditional timber construction,
the Monastery of Horezu, the citadel of Sighisoara, and the Dacian
Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains. Romania's contribution
to the World Heritage List stands out because it consists of some
groups of monuments scattered around the country, rather than one
or two special landmarks. Also, in 2007, the city of Sibiu
famous for its Brukenthal National Museum is the European Capital
of Culture alongside the city of Luxembourg.
Main article: Politics of Romania
The Constitution of Romania is based on the Constitution of France's
Fifth Republic and was approved in a national referendum on
8 December 1991. A plebiscite held in October 2003 approved
79 amendments to the Constitution, bringing it into conformity with
the European Union legislation. Romania is governed on the
basis of multi-party democratic system and of the segregation of
the legal, executive and judicial powers. The Constitution
states that Romania is a semi-presidential democratic republic where
executive functions are shared between the president and the prime
minister. The President is elected by popular vote for maximum two
terms, and since the ammendments in 2003, the terms are five years.
The President appoints the Prime Minister, who in turn appoints
the Council of Ministers. While the president resides at Cotroceni
Palace, the Prime Minister with the Romanian Government is based
at Victoria Palace.
The Palace of the Parliament , the seat of Romania's bicameral parliament.
Built in 1984, it is the largest building in Europe and the world's
second largest administrative building behind the Pentagon
and 10% larger by volume than the Great Pyramid of Giza.The
legislative branch of the government, collectively known as the
Parliament (Parlamentul României), consists of two chambers
– the Senate (Senat), which has 140 members, and the Chamber
of Deputies (Camera Deputatilor), which has 346 members. The
members of both chambers are elected every four years under a system
of party-list proportional representation.
The justice system is independent of the other branches of government,
and is made up of a hierarchical system of courts culminating in
the High Court of Cassation and Justice, which is the supreme court
of Romania. There are also courts of appeal, county courts
and local courts. The Romanian judicial system is strongly influenced
by the French model, considering that it is based on civil
law and is inquisitorial in nature. The Constitutional Court (Curtea
Constitutionala) is responsible for judging the compliance of laws
and other state regulations to the Romanian Constitution, which
is the fundamental law of the country. The constitution, which was
introduced in 1991, can only be amended by a public referendum,
the last one being in 2003. Since this amendment, the court's decisions
cannot be overruled by any majority of the parliament.
The country's entry into the European Union in 2007 has been a
significant influence on its domestic policy. As part of the process,
Romania has instituted reforms including judicial reform, increased
judicial cooperation with other member states, and measures to combat
corruption. Nevertheless, in 2006 Brussels report, Romania and Bulgaria
were described as the two most corrupt countries in the EU.
Main article: Administrative divisions of Romania
Romania is divided into forty-one counties (judete), as well as
the municipality of Bucharest (Bucuresti) - which is its own administrative
unit. Each county is administered by a county council (consiliu
judetean), responsible for local affairs, as well as a prefect,
who is appointed by the central government but cannot be a member
of any political party.
Alongside the county structure, Romania is also divided into four
NUTS-1 level divisions (Romanian:Macroregiunea) and eight development
regions corresponding to NUTS-2 divisions in the European Union.
These divisions have no administrative capacity and are instead
used for co-ordinating regional development projects and statistical
purposes. The NUTS-3 level divisions reflect Romania's administrative-territorial
structure, and correspond to the 41 counties and the Bucharest municipality.
Map of the 8 development regions. The 41 local administrative units
are also highlighted.Macroregiunea 1:
Nord-Vest (6 counties)
Centru (6 counties)
Nord-Est (6 counties)
Sud-Est (6 counties)
Sud-Muntenia (7 counties)
Bucuresti-Ilfov (1 county and Bucharest)
Sud-Vest Oltenia (5 counties)
Vest (4 counties)
The country is further subdivided into 319 cities and 2686 communes
(rural localities). Each of these have their own local councils
and are headed by a mayor (primar). 103 of the larger and more urbanised
cities have the status of municipality, which gives them greater
administrative power over local affairs.
 Foreign relations
Main article: Foreign relations of Romania
Since December 1989, Romania has pursued a policy of strengthening
relations with the West in general, more specifically with the United
States and the European Union. It joined the North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation (NATO) on March 29, 2004, the European Union (EU) on
January 1, 2007, and the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank in 1972, and is a member of the World Trade Organization.
The current government has stated its goal of strengthening ties
with and helping other Eastern European countries (in particular
Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia) with the process of integration with
the West. Romania has also made clear over the
past 10 years that it supports NATO and EU membership for the democratic
former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.[citation
needed] Romania also declared its public support for Turkey, Croatia
and Moldova joining the European Union. With Turkey,
Romania shares a privileged economic relation. Because it has
a large Hungarian minority, Romania has also developed strong relations
with Hungary - the latter supported Romania's bid to join the EU.[citation
In December 2005, President Traian Basescu and U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice signed an agreement that would allow a U.S.
military presence at several Romanian facilities primarily in the
eastern part of the country.
Relations with Moldova are rather special, considering that the
two countries practically share the same language, and a fairly
common historical background. Signs in the early 1990s that Romania
and Moldova might unite after both countries achieved emancipation
from communist rule, quickly faded away when a
pro-Russian government was formed in Moldova. Romania
remains interested in Moldovan affairs, but the
two countries have been unable even to reach agreement on a basic
bilateral treaty; Romania is insistent (against determined Moldovan
resistance) that such a treaty would have to refer to Romania and
Moldova's 'special relationship'. For more information
see Movement for unification of Romania and Moldova.
Main article: Sport in Romania
Football (soccer) is by far the most popular sport in Romania.
The governing body is the Romanian Football Federation, which belongs
to UEFA. The top division of the Romanian Professional Football
League attracted an average of 5417 spectators per game in the 2006-07
season. At international level, the Romanian National Football
Team has taken part 7 times in the Football World Cup, and it had
the most successful period throughout the 1990s, when during the
1994 World Cup in USA, Romania reached the quarter-finals and was
ranked by FIFA on the 6th place. The core player of this "Golden
Generation" and perhaps the best known Romanian player
internationally is Gheorghe Hagi (nicknamed the Maradona of the
Carpathians). Famous currently active players are Adrian Mutu
and Cristian Chivu. The most famous football club is Steaua Bucuresti,
who in 1986 became the first Eastern European club ever to win the
prestigious European Champions Cup title, and who played the final
again in 1989. Another successful Romanian team Dinamo Bucuresti
played a semifinal in the European Champions Cup in 1984 and a Cup
Winners Cup semifinal in the 1990. Other important Romanian football
clubs are Rapid Bucuresti, FC Universitatea Craiova and CFR 1907
Tennis is the second most popular sport in terms of registered
sportsmen. Romania reached the Davis Cup finals three times
(1969, 1971, 1972). The tennisman Ilie Nastase won several Grand
Slam titles and dozens of other tournaments, and was the first player
to be ranked as number 1 by ATP from 1973 to 1974. The Romanian
Open is held every fall in Bucharest since 1993.
Popular team sports are rugby union (national rugby team has so
far competed at every Rugby World Cup), basketball and handball.
Some popular individual sports are: athletism, chess, sport dance,
and martial arts and other fighting sports.
Although gymnastics is not very popular within Romania, Romanian
gymnasts have had a large number of successes - for which the country
became known worldwide. In the 1976 Summer Olympics, the gymnast
Nadia Comaneci became the first gymnast ever to score a perfect
"ten". She also won three gold medals, one silver and
one bronze, all at the age of fifteen. Her success continued
in the 1980 Summer Olympics, where she was awarded two gold medals
and two silver medals.
Romania participated in for the first time in the Olympic Games
in 1900 and has taken part in 18 of the 24 summer games. Romania
has been one of the more successful countries Summer Olympic Games
(15th overall) with a total of 283 medals won throughout the years,
82 of which are gold medals. Winter sports have received little
investments and thus only a single bronze medal was won by Romanian
sportsmen in the Winter Olympic Games.
Following the free travel agreement and politic of the post-Cold
War period, as well as hardship of the life in the post 1990s economic
depression, Romania has an increasingly large diaspora, estimated
at over 2 million people. The main immigration targets are Spain,
Italy, Germany, Austria, UK, and the USA.