50 Fascinating Facts about Romania

Romania – Right at its centre we have the region of Transylvania, famous for its Medieval towns and Castles, birthplace of the fictional Vampire, Count Dracula in the Carpathian Mountains. The country’s name derives from the conquest of Transylvania at Dacia by the Romans in the beginning of the second century AD. The Romanian language has evolved from Vulgar Latin. What can we glean from the country’s chequered and rich history? Here are 50 facts that might surprise you in some cases.

Romania Facts

The origin of the word “Romania” comes from the Latin “Romanus” which means Roman (Roman citizen).
Having conquered the Dacians (who lived in Romania at the time) at the beginning of the second century AD, they withdrew towards the end of the third century AD. Meanwhile Romans and Dacians had mingled and intermarried and the Romanian language developed.
One of the most amazing archaeological relics from the Romans is the 126 foot high Trajan’s column with a statue of Trajan at the top. It has survived intact for nearly two millennia.
Trajan’s column provides a remarkable record of the Dacian campaign with 155 different scenes carved into the stone.
Romania is a Balkan country with Serbia and Hungary to its west, Bulgaria to the south, with Ukraine and Moldova to its east.
Before Rome’s conquest, Romania was inhabited by various Thracian peoples. Two of these were the Dacians and the Getae. Some scholars believe these to be the same people though the Greek Historian, Herodotus describes Religious differences between the two.
The ancient Greeks had also played a role in Romania’s history. In the third century BC, three Greek colonies had been founded: Histria, Tomis and Calliatis.
Originally Histria was an Oligarchy but Aristotle records how it came to be ruled by the people. I.e. as a democracy. Later Calliatis followed suit, turning to democracy.
Greek Amphorae found at the Greek settlement and dated as being of the 5th century BC, have led archaeologists to conclude that wine trade was being carried out between the Greeks and the people from the Carpathian Mountain region.
Today Romania is one of the largest wine-producing countries in the world, ranking sixth amongst the European wine -producing countries.
4.069 million hectolitres were the volume of Romania’s wine production in 2015.
187,000 hectares are devoted to vine growing in Romania.
The practice of making wine can be traced back 6000 years.
Fetească Albă and Fetească Regală are two of Romania’s white indigenous wines.
Băbească Neagră and Fetească Neagră are indigenous reds.
One third of the country is mountainous, one third is hilly and plains cover the remaining third.
Romania has more virgin forest than any other European country. About 27% of the land is forested.
Transylvania translates literally as “The land beyond the forest”.
Romania has approximately 3700 types of plant, including 39 endangered species and 1253 rare species.
Of animal life, Romania has 33,792 species of animals of which over 33,000 are invertebrate and 707 are vertebrate.
Excluding Russia, Romania is home to over 50% of Europe’s brown bears and 20% of its wolves.
Romania is the twelfth largest country in Europe.
The earliest surviving document written in Romanian that we have today is the "Letter of Neacșu from Câmpulung".
Romania is one of the poorest countries in the EU and ranks 50th in the human development index.
In 2017 the country also recorded the highest growth rate in the EU: 7%.
In Pestera cu Oase, have been discovered the oldest human remains ever found in Europe. They have been carbon dated to around 40,000 years old.
In Poiana Slatinei, near the village of Lunca lies the oldest know saltworks in the world, dating to 6050 BC in the Neolithic period.
Nothing is known of the language spoken by these Neolithic peoples.
Christianity was adopted by the Romanians in the fourth century AD.
Roughly 80% of the population describes itself as Romanian Orthodox.
Between the fourth and ninth century AD, Romania was repeatedly invaded by Huns, Slavs, Goths and Visigoths.
From the end of the ninth century AD to the twelfth century, Hungarians made regular incursions into Romania.
In the twelfth century, at the invitation of Hungary, there were many German settlers in Transylvania.
The Germans built seven walled towns in Transylvania. They are a major tourist attraction today.
In the 14th and 15th centuries Romania was constantly attacked by Turks.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Romanians managed to keep their autonomy by paying tribute to the Turks.
In 1877 Romania became fully independent of Turkey.
During the Second World War, both Russia and Germany annexed parts of Romania.
Between 1967 and 1989, The country was headed by Communist President Nicolae Ceausescu.
In 1990, the first multi-party elections were held since WWII.
The Danube River starts in Germany’s Black Forest and flows through Romania to the Black Sea.
The Danube Delta is the second largest in Europe.
The first oil refinery in the whole world was completed in Ploieşti in 1857.
In the village of Tartaria, three stone tablets with symbols engraved on them have been discovered. Carbon dating places them at around 5300BC. They could be the earliest form of writing in the world.
Unique to Romania are certain painted monasteries in Bucovina. The exteriors are covered with icons and paintings of religious scenes.
The influence of neighbouring countries is very apparent in Romanian cuisine. There are elements of Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish, Austrian foods.
Mămăligă is one of Romania’s popular dishes. It is a kind of corn -based porridge. The Romans ate a lot of porridge and this is doubtless inherited from the Romans.
Romania is rich in natural resources: Gold and Silver in the Apuseni range, Copper, Lead and Zinc in the Bistrita Mountains and Bauxite in Transylvania
The Romanian language, as well as grave and acute accents used in French, has a breve (a bowl-shaped accent) that can be found above ‘u’ and ‘e’.
Transylvania is home to the second largest underground glacier in Europe with 20 foot high ice stalagmites. It is 3500 years old.

Romania is a beautiful country, rich in natural resources, yet extremely poor. It has been invaded countless times in its history, perhaps in part because of these resources. Its culture and cuisine are influenced by its neighbours. Its predominant modern ethnicity is probably the early fusion of Romans with the Dacians whom they conquered.


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