Romania has been long known as one of the most beautiful countries in Eastern Europe. Her major tourist attractions include Transylvania, the Carpathians and their legendary castles, the famous Bucovina monasteries, the Black Sea and the Danube Delta. Bucharest, the Romanian capital, stands out with its glorious Belle Époque buildings and reputation for the high life. The city once known as the "Little Paris" is guaranteed the best starting point for the country tours and not only.
Romanian atractions: Romania’s Castles
Peles Castle, nestled in the valley of the western Bucegi mountains about an hour north of Bucharest, Sinaia is home to the fabulous Peles Castle, a fairy-tale-like edifice built by King Carol 1 in the 19th century as the royal family’s summer residence. Its interiors are an opulent display of elegant design and historical artifact. An absolute must-see, inside and out!
Bran Castle This medieval fortress, often referred to as Dracula’s castle, was built in 1377 to protect nearby Brasov from invaders. Vlad Dracula never really stayed here, but it was a favorite refuge of Queen Marie in the 1920s and 1930s. The castle’s rooms and towers surround an inner courtyard. It sits high atop a hill overlooking the picturesque village of Bran. On the grounds below, there’s an open-air ethnographic museum of old village buildings with exhibits of furniture, household objects and costumes.
Corvin Castle This is the most important monument of Gothic architecture in Transylvania. Built in the 14th century at Hunedoara, on the site of a former Roman camp, it served as a defense stronghold and a princely residence. In 1390, Hungarian king Sigismund of Luxembourg gave the fortress to prince Voicu of Hunedoara as a reward for his military deeds.
Fagaras Originally a 14th century wooden stronghold, it was enhanced by Transylvania’s ruling prince in the 17th century in a Transylvanian Renaissance style and served as seat to Transylvania’s Diet. In the 18th century under Hapsburg rule, it was reshaped in the Vauban style. From 1948-1960, the fortress served as a penitentiary for political prisoners. Today it houses the Fagaras Country Museum with 80 halls and sections on history, ethnography and art.
Bethlen Castle can be visited at Cetatea de Balta, near Blaj. It was built in the 16th century in the French Renaissance style, and restored in the 17th and 18th centuries, when a gate in the baroque style was added.
Romanian atractions: the Black Sea Coast
Romania’s Black Sea coastline stretches 150 miles from the Danube Delta to Bulgaria. Along its southern edge you will find the historic city of Constanta and 45 miles of seaside resorts.
Constanta, originally called "Tomis", was settled in the 6th century BC by Greek merchants as a seaport. It was later developed by Romans and renamed for the emperor Constantin. It was here that the poet Ovid was exiled by emperor Octavian Augustus in A.D.8 until his death in A.D.17. The city was attacked and destroyed by Avars in the 7th century AD and was not redeveloped until the 19th century, when King Carol I decided to turn it into an active seaport and seaside resort. It is now a cultural and economic center in Romania, with a population of 350,000. Its historical monuments, remaining ancient ruins, grand Casino, museums and shops, make it the focal point of Black Sea coast tourism.
The rest of the southern coast consists of Romania’s abundant seaside resorts and many of its health spas. Activities include tennis, water-skiing, paragliding, scuba diving, and horseback riding. Open-air restaurants, discos and cabarets offer a wide variety of entertainments. Accommodations range from numerous hotels, villas and bungalows, to campsites.
Just north of Constanta is the major resort of Mamaia, nestled between 7.5 miles of fine sandy beach and a freshwater lake. Among all the other activities, you can also go sailing on Lake Siutghiol, rent bicycles, or play mini-golf. Mamaia is specially designed for families, providing playgrounds for the children.
All other resort towns are located south of Constanta on a strip stretching all the way south to Bulgaria. These include Eforie Nord and Eforie Sud; Costinesti, the favorite of young people for its low cost and lively night-life; Neptune, surrounded by fir woods, and its next-door neighbor Jupiter on the beach; farther south are Cap Aurora, Venus, Saturn and finally, Mangalia, another 6th century BC fortified city, originally called "Callatis", now a balneary spa town.
The spas at Mangalia, Eforie Nord, Eforie Sud and Neptune offer a wide variety of therapeutic treatments, including mineral-rich mud baths, thalassic-therapy and the world-famous Romanian Gerovital cure. Their medical staff is highly qualified and clinics remain open all through the year.
Aside from the beaches and spas, one can also visit the ancient Greek ruins at Histria and Adamclisi, or the world-famous Murfatlar vineyards. Local villages exhibit their crafts of woodcarving, pottery and traditional costumes. There are also sport grounds and a horseback riding center nearby.
Romanian atractions: Bucharest
Known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque buildings and reputation for the high life, Romania’s capital was once known as the "Little Paris". Founded by Wallachian princes, Bucharest came into its own with Romanian independence in the late 19th century, when it was remodeled by French and French-trained architects. The “Arc de Triomphe”, located on the elegant Kiseleff avenue, is a monument resembling to France’s arch built on the famous Champs-Elysees in the memory of Napoleon’s army. Communist rule interrupted Bucharest’s cosmopolitan days, although the city continued to be a bustling business and cultural center. Today Bucharest is experiencing renewed vigor. As the country’s major gateway, it is a natural starting point for a visit. The city’s architecture remains one of its main attractions. Highlights include Curtea Veche church, the remains of the 15th century palace of Prince Vlad the Impeller, the Second Empire mansions, Orthodox churches and the 6,000-room Parliament House, formerly known as the People’s House a legacy of Romania’s last Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu. The heart of the city is Revolutiei Square, the site of the old Royal Palace. It lies halfway along Bucharest’s historic Calea Victoriei, the city’s main artery. Most of the sights in Bucharest are conveniently located within walking distance of Revolutiei Square and, to the east of the Calea Victoriei, of University Square. Must-sees include the National Museum of Art, housed in the former Royal Palace, the National History Museum on Calea Victoriei, featuring the Treasury’s splendid gold collection, the magnificent Patriarchate Church, dating back to 1657, and Herastrau Park’s open-air Village Museum, a stunning collection of village architecture and crafts from throughout Romania. Bucharest’s nightlife offers a variety of clubs and cafes as well as restaurants and dancing floors. The scent of Bucharest at night reminds of Latin fiestas. Bucharest, the Romanian capital, stands out with its glorious Belle Époque buildings and reputation for the high life. The city once known as the "Little Paris" is guaranteed the best starting point for the country tours and not only.
Official Name: ROMANIA
Data code: RO
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red; the national coat of arms that used to be centered in the yellow band has been removed; now similar to the flags of Andorra and Chad.
Geographic Location: South east of the Central Europe, north of the Balkan Peninsula, in the Lower Danube basin, bordering the Black Sea.
Geographic coordinates: 46 00 N, 25 00 E
Land boundaries: 2,508 km (total)
Border countries: Bulgaria 608 km (south), Hungary 443 km (west), Moldova 450 km (north-east), Serbia and Montenegro 476 km (all with Serbia - south, south-west), Ukraine (north) 362 km, Ukraine (east) 169 km
Coastline: 225 km
Border Length: 3,190.3 km
Climate: Temperate continental, with oceanic influences from the west, Mediterranean from the south-west, excessive continental from the north-east. Annual temperatures: ranging between 8 degrees in the north and 11 degrees in the south. Average annual rainfall does not exceed 700 m. Cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow and fog; sunny summers with frequent showers and thunderstorms.
National language: Romanian
Currency: 1 leu (L) = 100 bani
Fiscal year: calendar year
Physical Features: Mountains (31%), hills and plateaus (33%),plains (36%).
Area (slightly smaller than Oregon): total: 237,500 sq km (91,675 sq. miles) land: 230,340 sq km water: 7,160 sq km
Terrain: central Transylvanian Basin is separated from the Plain of Moldavia on the east by the Carpathian Mountains and separated from the Walachian Plain on the south by the Transylvanian Alps
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Black Sea 0 m highest point: mount peak "Moldoveanu" - 2,544 m
Geological Age: The same with the European Continent, around 550 million years.
Hydrographic: The river Danube in the south of the country, length 1,075 km (out of the total 2,850 km from its source to its flowing into the sea).
Other rivers: Mures, Olt, Prut, Siret, Ialomita, Somes, Arges, Jiu, Buzau, Bistrita etc.
Lakes: approximately 2,300 lakes and over 1,150 ponds (2,650 sq.km). The best known are Razelm (415 sq.km), Sinoe (171 sq.km), Brates (21 sq.km), Tasaul (20 sq.km), Techirghiol (12 sq.km) and Snagov (5.8 sq.km).
Land use: irrigated land: 31,020 sq km (1993 est.) arable land: 41% permanent crops: 3% permanent pastures: 21% forests and woodland: 29% other: 6% (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: earthquakes most severe in south and southwest; geologic structure and climate promote landslides.
Environment: current issues: soil erosion and degradation; water pollution; air pollution in south from industrial effluents; contamination of Danube delta wetlands
Form of government: Republic, according to the Constitution voted by Parliament on 21 November 1991 and validated by referendum on 8 December 1991. The two-chamber Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate), elected for a four-year term, is the people’s supreme representative body and the sole law-making autority. The president is elected by universal vote for two four-year terms at the most. The Government, validated by Parliament, provides general management of public administration.
Independence: 1881 (from Turkey; the republic was, then, proclaimed on December 30th, 1947)
National holiday: December 1st (since 1990)
Constitution: adopted on December 8th, 1991
National Coat-of-Arms: (since 1992) - An eagle holding a cross in its beak and a sword and a scepter in its claws, as well as the symbols of the five historical provinces - Wallachia, Moldova, Transylvania, Banat and Dobrogea.
State Anthem: (since 1990) "Awaken thee, Romanian, shake off the deadly slumber The scourge of inauspicious barbarian tyrannies..." Lyrics: Andrei Muresan; music: Anton Pann.
Legal system: former mixture of civil law system and communist legal theory; iy is now based on the Constitution of France’s Fifth Republic.
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Ion Iliescu (since December 2000) head of government: Prime Minister Adrian Nastase (since December 20000 - appointed by the president) cabinet: Council of Ministers (appointed by the prime minister) elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held November 2000.
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament (Senate - 143 seats, where members are elected by direct popular vote on a proportional representation to serve four-year terms and the Chamber of Deputies - 343 seats where members are elected by direct popular vote on a proportional representation to serve four-year terms).
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice, judges are appointed by the president on recommendation of the Superior Council of Magistrates.
Railways: total: 11,365 km broad gauge: 45 km 1.524-m gauge standard gauge: 10,893 km 1.435-m gauge (3,723 km electrified; 3,060 km double track) narrow gauge: 427 km 0.760-m gauge (1994).
Romanian railways: International express trains connect the main central European capitals with Bucharest, the Black Sea coast and main cities. Romania is a member of the International Railway Tariff Syste RIT and Inter Rail.
Highways: total: 153,170 km paved: 78,117 km (including 113 km of expressways) unpaved: 75,053 km (1995 est.)
Romanian roads network: The following is a selection of roads linking various cities to Romania E 81 (Berlin-Warsaw-Budapest-Petea); E 60 (Vienna-Prague-Budapest-Bors); E 68 (Vienna-Prague-Budapest-Arad); E 70 (Trieste-Belgrad-Porþile de Fier); E 79 (Athens-Tirana-Sofia-Calafat); E 85 (Athens-Istanbul-Sofia-Giurgiu); E 85 (Warsaw-Kiev-Chernowitz-Siret); E 87 (Istambul-Tirana-Sofia-Vama Veche); E 581 (Moscow-Kiev-Kishinev-Albita)
The distances between: Bucharest - Athens - 1252 km, Bucharest - Berlin - 2154 km, Bucharest - Berne (Zurich) - 2125 km, Bucharest - Brussels - 2394 km, Bucharest - Bonn - 2100 km, Bucharest - Budapest - 893 km, Bucharest - Copenhagen - 2587 km, Bucharest - Frankfurt - 2100 km, Bucharest - Hague (Amsterdam) - 2428 km, Bucharest - Helsinki - 2900 km, Bucharest - Istanbul - 704 km, Bucharest - Kiev - 1065 km, Bucharest - Kishinev - 445 km, Bucharest - Lisbon - 4120 km, Bucharest - London - 2577 km, Bucharest - Madrid - 3530 km, Bucharest - Minsk - 1650 km, Bucharest - Moscow - 1963 km, Bucharest - Oslo - 2820 km, Bucharest - Paris - 2401 km, Bucharest - Prague - 1465 km, Bucharest - Riga - 1955 km, Bucharest - Rome - 2149 km, Bucharest - Sofia - 407 km, Bucharest - Stockholm - 3100 km, Bucharest - Vienna - 1100 km, Bucharest - Warsaw - 1797 km
Waterways: 1,724 km (1984)
Pipelines: crude oil 2,800 km; petroleum products 1,429 km; natural gas 6,400 km (1992)
Ports and harbors: Braila, Constanta, Galati, Mangalia, Sulina, Tulcea
Ports: on the Black Sea: Constanta (can take ships of over 150,000 dwt). Mangalia and Sulina (free port). On the Danube: Turnu Severin, Turnu Magurele, Giurgiu, Oltenita, Cernavoda, Braila, Galati, Tulcea (The last three are both river and sea ports). Danube-Black Sea Canal: (64.2 km long) between Cernavoda and Agigea-Constanta was opened to trafic in 1984. Following the inauguration in 1992 of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, it facilitates a direct connection with the North Sea. It is navigable for river and sea-going ships of up to 5,000 dwt.
Merchant marine: total: 227 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 2,332,117 GRT/3,464,613 DWT ships by type: bulk 39, cargo 160, container 2, oil tanker 12, passenger 1, passenger-cargo 1, railcar carrier 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 10. Romania owns an additional 11 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 827,625 DWT operating under the registries of The Bahamas, Cyprus, Liberia, and Malta (1997 est.)
Airports: 24(1997 est.)
Airports: Bucharest-Otopeni, Constanta-Mihail Kogalniceanu, Suceava, Arad, Timisoara (all for international traffic as well), Bacau, Baia Mare, Bucharest-Baneasa, Caransebes, Cluj, Craiova, Deva, Iasi, Oradea, Satu-Mare, Targu Mures, Tulcea.
Romanian airways: Regular and charter flights of Romanian air carriers (notably Tarom the national airline) or of the foreign airlines with offices in Bucharest (Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia, British Airways, Swissair, Aeroflot) connect Bucharest and the world’s major airports. Transfers can be made by Otopeni airport coach or by taxi.
Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)