Romania

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Romania
România
FlagCoat of arms
Anthem: Deșteaptă-te, române!
Awaken thee, Romanian!
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Location of Romania (dark green):   on the European continent   in the European Union
Location of Romania (dark green):
  on the European continent
  in the European Union
Capital
and largest city
Arms of Bucharest.svg Bucharest
44°25′N 26°06′E / 44.417°N 26.100°E / 44.417; 26.100
Official languagesRomanian[1]
Ethnic groups (2011[2])
DemonymRomanian
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential
republic
 - PresidentTraian Băsescu
 - Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
 - President of the SenateCălin Popescu-Tăriceanu
 - President of the Chamber of DeputiesValeriu Zgonea
LegislatureParliament
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseChamber of Deputies
Formation
 - Little Uniona24 January 1859 
 - Independence from
the Ottoman Empire
1877 / 1878b 
 - Great Unionc1 December 1918 
 - Abolition of monarchy and installation of republic30 December 1947 
 - Romanian Revolution17–25 December 1989 
 - Joined the European Union1 January 2007 
Area
 - Total238,391 km2 (83rd)
92,043 sq mi
 - Water (%)3
Population
 - 20 October 2011 census20,121,641[2] (58th)
 - Density84.4/km2 (118th)
218.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2013 estimate
 - Total$282.348 billion[3]
 - Per capita$13,251[4]
GDP (nominal)2013 estimate
 - Total$186.97 billion[5]
 - Per capita$8,775[6]
Gini (2011)Steady 33.2[7]
medium
HDI (2013)Increase 0.786[8]
high · 56th
CurrencyRomanian leu (RON)
Time zoneEET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST)EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on theright
Calling code+40
ISO 3166 codeRO
Internet TLD.rod
a.The double election of Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Moldavia and Wallachia (respectively, 5 and 24 January 1859).
b.Independence proclaimed on 9 May 1877, internationally recognised in 1878.
c.The union of Romania with Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania in 1918.
d.Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.
 
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For other uses, see Romania (disambiguation).
Romania
România
FlagCoat of arms
Anthem: Deșteaptă-te, române!
Awaken thee, Romanian!
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
Location of Romania (dark green):   on the European continent   in the European Union
Location of Romania (dark green):
  on the European continent
  in the European Union
Capital
and largest city
Arms of Bucharest.svg Bucharest
44°25′N 26°06′E / 44.417°N 26.100°E / 44.417; 26.100
Official languagesRomanian[1]
Ethnic groups (2011[2])
DemonymRomanian
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential
republic
 - PresidentTraian Băsescu
 - Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
 - President of the SenateCălin Popescu-Tăriceanu
 - President of the Chamber of DeputiesValeriu Zgonea
LegislatureParliament
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseChamber of Deputies
Formation
 - Little Uniona24 January 1859 
 - Independence from
the Ottoman Empire
1877 / 1878b 
 - Great Unionc1 December 1918 
 - Abolition of monarchy and installation of republic30 December 1947 
 - Romanian Revolution17–25 December 1989 
 - Joined the European Union1 January 2007 
Area
 - Total238,391 km2 (83rd)
92,043 sq mi
 - Water (%)3
Population
 - 20 October 2011 census20,121,641[2] (58th)
 - Density84.4/km2 (118th)
218.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2013 estimate
 - Total$282.348 billion[3]
 - Per capita$13,251[4]
GDP (nominal)2013 estimate
 - Total$186.97 billion[5]
 - Per capita$8,775[6]
Gini (2011)Steady 33.2[7]
medium
HDI (2013)Increase 0.786[8]
high · 56th
CurrencyRomanian leu (RON)
Time zoneEET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST)EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on theright
Calling code+40
ISO 3166 codeRO
Internet TLD.rod
a.The double election of Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Moldavia and Wallachia (respectively, 5 and 24 January 1859).
b.Independence proclaimed on 9 May 1877, internationally recognised in 1878.
c.The union of Romania with Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania in 1918.
d.Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Romania (Listeni/rˈmniə/ roh-MAY-nee-ə; Romanian: România [romɨˈni.a] ( )), formerly also spelled Roumania[9][10] and Rumania,[11][12] is a country located at the crossroads of Southeastern and Central Europe, on the Lower Danube, north of the Balkan Peninsula and the western shore of the Black Sea. Romania shares a border with Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and Moldova to the northeast and east, and Bulgaria to the south. At 238,391 square kilometres (92,043 sq mi), Romania is the ninth largest country of the European Union by area, and has the 7th largest population of the European Union with 20,121,641 people (October 2011). Its capital and largest city is Bucharest – the 6th largest city in the EU.

The United Principalities emerged when the territories of Moldavia and Wallachia were united under Prince Alexander Ioan Cuza in 1859. In 1866 Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was called to the throne as the Ruling Prince of the Romanian Principate and in 1881 he was finally crowned as King Carol I, the first monarch of the Kingdom of Romania. Independence from the Ottoman Empire was declared on 9 May 1877, and was internationally recognised the following year. At the end of World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the Kingdom of Romania.

Following the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, the Kingdom of Romania under King Carol II officially adopted a position of neutrality. In summer 1940, a series of territorial disputes were resolved unfavorably to Romania, resulting in the loss of most of the territory gained in the wake of World War I. This caused the popularity of Romania's government to plummet. World War II gave cause to the rise of a military dictatorship in Romania under far-right Marshal Ion Antonescu, who chose to fight on the side of the Axis powers from 1941-44 in order to regain the provinces. After his removal, Romania switched sides in 1944 and joined the Allies. By the end of the war, some formerly Romanian northeastern territories were occupied by the Soviet Union, with Red Army units stationed on Romanian soil. In 1947 Romania forcibly became a People's Republic (1947–1965) and a member of the Warsaw Pact. In 1965 Nicolae Ceaușescu became General Secretary of the Romanian Workers' Party, and the harsh austerity measures, political repression, and cult of personality he implemented led to the Socialist Republic of Romania (1965–1989) becoming the most Stalinist police state in the Eastern bloc. Eventually his authoritarian government was toppled in December 1989 during the Romanian Revolution.

With the fall of the Iron Curtain, Romania began its transition towards democracy and a capitalist market economy. After a decade of post-revolution economic problems and living-standards decline, extensive reforms fostered economic recovery. As of 2010, Romania is an upper-middle income country with a high Human Development Index.[13] Romania joined NATO on 29 March 2004, and the European Union on 1 January 2007. It is a member of the Latin Union, Francophonie, OSCE, WTO, BSEC, United Nations, etc. Romania is a unitary semi-presidential republic, in which the executive branch consists of the President and the Government.[14]

Etymology[edit]

Main article: Name of Romania

Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning "citizen of Rome".[15] The first known use of the appellation was attested in 16th-century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia.[16][17][18][19]

Neacșu's Letter from 1521, the oldest surviving document written in Romanian.

The oldest surviving document written in Romanian, a 1521 letter known as the "Letter of Neacșu from Câmpulung",[20] is also notable for including the first documented occurrence of the country's name: Wallachia is mentioned as Țeara Rumânească ("The Romanian Land", țeara from the Latin terra, "land"; current spelling: Țara Românească).

Two spelling forms: român and rumân were used interchangeably [note 1] until sociolinguistic developments in the late 17th century led to semantic differentiation of the two forms: rumân came to mean "bondsman", while român retained the original ethnolinguistic meaning.[21] After the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the word rumân gradually fell out of use and the spelling stabilised to the form român.[note 2] Tudor Vladimirescu, a revolutionary leader of the early 19th century, used the term Rumânia to refer exclusively to the principality of Wallachia."[22]

The use of the name Romania to refer to the common homeland of all Romanians—its modern-day meaning—is first documented in the early 19th century.[note 3] The name has been officially in use since 11 December 1861.[23] English-language sources still used the terms Rumania or Roumania, derived from the French spelling Roumanie and/or the Greek Ρουμανία, as recently as World War II,[24] but the name has since been replaced with the official spelling Romania.[25]

History[edit]

Main article: History of Romania

Prehistory and antiquity[edit]

Emperor Trajan's annexation of Dacia in 106 set the stage for the ethnogenesis of modern Romanians.
Decebalus, king of Dacians between 87–106

42,000-year-old human remains were discovered in the "Cave With Bones", and being Europe's oldest known remains they may have been among the first modern humans to have entered the continent.[26] The Neolithic-Age Cucuteni area in northeastern Romania was the western region of the earliest European civilization, known as the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture.[27] Also the earliest known salt works in the world is at Poiana Slatinei, near the village of Lunca in Romania; it was first used in the early Neolithic, around 6050 BC, by the Starčevo culture, and later by the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the Precucuteni period.[28] Evidence from this and other sites indicates that the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture extracted salt from salt-laden spring water through the process of briquetage.

The earliest written evidence of people living in the territory of present-day Romania, the Getae, comes from Herodotus, in his Histories book IV (c. 440 BC).[29] Territories located north of the Danube were inhabited by Dacians, who are considered to have belonged to the Getae tribes, mentioned by Herodotus, that were a branch of Thracian people. The Dacian kingdom reached its peak between 82 and 44 BC during the reign of Burebista.

Roman Emperor Domitian led military campaigns in the region between 87 and 88 AD at Tapae. Roman incursions happened again during the years 101–102 AD, and 105–106 AD under Emperor Trajan, who successfully defeated Dacia and annexed its southwestern parts to the vast Roman Empire. The Dacian population subsequently underwent the ethno-linguistic process of Romanisation and the conquered parts became an imperial province called Dacia. Because of Dacia's rich ore deposits (especially gold and silver),[30] Rome brought colonists from all over the empire.[31] This introduced Vulgar Latin and started a period of intense romanisation that would give birth to the Proto-Romanian language.[32][33] During the 3rd century AD, with the invasions of migratory populations, the Roman Empire was forced to pull out of Dacia around 271 AD, making it the first province to be abandoned.[34][35]

After the Roman army and administration left Dacia, the territory was invaded by various migratory populations including Goths,[36] Huns,[37] Slavs, Gepids,[38] Avars,[39] Bulgars,[38] Pechenegs,[40] and Cumans.[41] During the sixth century, the Byzantines were able to occupy a few abandoned Roman cities along the northern side of the Danube River, including Dinogetia, Argidava, and Capidava, but only temporarily. Several competing theories have been proposed to explain the origin of modern Romanians. Linguistic and geo-historical analysis tend to indicate that Romanians coalesced as a major ethnic group both south and north of the Danube in the regions previously colonized by Romans.[42]

Middle Ages[edit]

Battle of Posada
A painting by József Molnár depicting the Battle of Posada in 1330.

Gesta Hungarorum mentioned the existence of three voivodeships in Transylvania in the 9th century: the Voivodeship of Gelou, the Voivodeship of Glad and the Voivodeship of Menumorut. The anonymous author describes the first as Vlach.[43] Another voivodeship, ruled by Gyula, was mentioned in the 11th century. A Russian chronicle writes of a plundering raid in 1059 against Transylvania by Cumans and Vlachs.[44][45] An Old Bulgarian inscription from 1176 attests the existence of a župan Dimitri who ruled over Dobruja in 943.[46]

In the Middle Ages, Romanians lived in three distinct principalities: Wallachia (Romanian: Țara Românească – "The Romanian Land"), Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova) and Transylvania (Romanian: Transilvania). By the 11th century, Transylvania had become a largely autonomous part of the Kingdom of Hungary.[47] It was independent as the Principality of Transylvania from the 16th century[48] until 1711.[49]

In Wallachia and Moldavia, many small local states with varying degrees of independence developed. Only in the 14th century did the larger principalities of Wallachia (1310) and Moldavia (around 1352) emerge to fight the threat of the Ottoman Empire. Both territories inhabited by Romanians achieved their independence from the Hungarian Crown after military conflicts (Battle of Posada, 1330) or social conflicts (Moldavian boyars' revolt against Hungary, 1364) — these historic events being initiated by Basarab I of Wallachia (1310–1352) and Bogdan I of Moldavia (1359–1365).[50][51]

Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania were briefly united under the rule of Michael the Brave in 1600.

By 1541, the entire Balkan peninsula and most of Hungary had become Ottoman provinces. Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania were under Ottoman suzerainty, preserving partial or full internal autonomy until the mid-19th century (Transylvania until 1699). During this period, in the Romanian lands the feudal system slowly disappeared. A few rulers of territories in what is now Romania distinguished themselves: these rulers include Stephen the Great, Vasile Lupu, and Dimitrie Cantemir in Moldavia; Matei Basarab, Vlad the Impaler, and Constantin Brâncoveanu in Wallachia; and John Hunyadi (Ioannes Corvinus) and Gabriel Bethlen in Transylvania.[52]

In 1600, the principalities of Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania were simultaneously headed by the Wallachian prince Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul), but the chance for a lasting unification was lost after Mihai was assassinated only one year later. After his death, as vassal tributary states, Moldavia and Wallachia had complete internal autonomy and external independence, which they finally lost in the 18th century.[52]

In 1699, Transylvania became a territory of the Habsburgs' Austrian empire following the Austrian victory over the Turks in the Great Turkish War. The Habsburgs in turn expanded their empire in 1718 to include an important part of Wallachia called Oltenia (which was returned only in 1739), and in 1775 to include the northwestern part of Moldavia, later called Bukovina. The eastern half of the Moldavian principality (called Bessarabia) was occupied in 1812 by Russia.[52]

Independence and monarchy[edit]

Changes in Romania's territory since 1859.

During the period of the Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania and Ottoman suzerainty over Wallachia and Moldavia, most Romanians were considered second-class citizens or even non-citizens[53] in a territory where they formed the majority of the population.[54][55]

Following the Wallachian uprising of 1821, more insurrections followed in 1848 in Wallachia as well as Moldavia. The flag adopted for Wallachia by the revolutionaries was a blue-yellow-red horizontal tricolour (with blue above, in line with the meaning "Liberty, Justice, Fraternity"),[56] while Romanian students in Paris hailed the new government with the same flag "as a symbol of union between Moldavians and Muntenians".[57][58] The same flag, with the tricolour being mounted vertically, would later on be officially adopted as the national flag of Romania.

After the failed 1848 Revolution, the Great Powers did not support the Romanians' expressed desire to officially unite in a one single state, which forced them to proceed alone with their struggle against the Ottomans. The electors in both Moldavia and Wallachia chose in 1859 the same leader –Alexandru Ioan Cuza– to be their Ruling Prince (Domnitor in Romanian).[59] Thus, Romania was created as a personal union, albeit without including Transylvania. There, the upper class and the aristocracy chose to remain under Hungarian rule, even though the Romanians were by far the most numerous ethnic Transylvanian group and constituted the absolute majority.

In an 1866 coup d'état, Cuza was exiled and replaced by Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who became known as Prince Carol I of Romania. During the 1877–1878 Russo-Turkish War Romania fought on the Russian side,[60] and as a result of it in the Treaty of San Stefano and the Treaty of Berlin, Romania was recognized as an independent state both by the Ottoman Empire and the Great Powers.[61][62] In return, Romania ceded the district of Bessarabia to Russia and acquired Dobruja. In 1881, the principality was raised to a kingdom and Prince Carol became King Carol I of Romania.[citation needed]

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, and in the peace Treaty of Bucharest (1913) Romania gained Southern Dobruja.[63]

World Wars and Greater Romania[edit]

In August 1915, about a year after the start of World War I, Romania tried to maintain neutrality. One year later, under significant pressure from the Allies, on 27 August 1916 Romania joined the Allies, declaring war on Austria-Hungary. For this action, under the terms of the secret military convention, Romania was promised support for its goal of national unity of all the territories populated with Romanians.[64]

The Romanian military campaign began disastrously for Romania as the Central Powers occupied two-thirds of the country within months. Nevertheless, Moldavia remained in Romanian hands and the invading forces were blocked in 1917. Total losses from 1916 to 1918, military and civilian, within contemporary borders, were estimated at 748,000.[65] By the war's end, both Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires had collapsed and disintegrated; Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania proclaimed their unification with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. In the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, Hungary was forced to give up all Austro-Hungarian claims over Transylvania from the Romanians.[66] The unification of Romania with Bukovina was ratified in 1919 in the Treaty of Saint Germain,[67] and with Bessarabia in 1920 by the Treaty of Paris.[68]

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. Romania achieved at that time its greatest territorial extent (almost 300,000 km2 or 120,000 sq mi),[69] managing to unite essentially all of the territories inhabited by Romanians.[69]

Romanian infantry on the Eastern Front in 1943. The Second World War claimed the lives of over 370,000 Romanian soldiers.

During World War II, Romania tried again to remain neutral, but on 28 June 1940, it received a Soviet ultimatum with an implied threat of invasion in the event of non-compliance.[70] Again foreign powers created heavy pressure on Romania, by means of the Soviet-Nazi "Ribbentrop-Molotov pact of non-aggression" from 23 August 1939 (incidentally the same day on which Antonescu was arrested and handed over to the Red Army, when it entered Romania 5 years later). As a result of it the Romanian administration and the army were forced to retreat from Bessarabia as well as from northern Bukovina in order to avoid war with Russia.[71]

This, in combination with other factors, prompted Romania to join the Axis military campaign. Thereafter, southern Dobruja was ceded to Bulgaria, while Hungary received Northern Transylvania as result of an Axis powers' arbitration.[72] The authoritarian King Carol II abdicated the throne in 1940, and was succeeded by a fascist National Legionary State dictatorial regime, in which power was shared by General Ion Antonescu and the antisemitic Iron Guard. Within months, Antonescu had to crush down the "Iron Guard" by force after their January 1941 bloody coup-d'etat. The subsequent year Romania entered the war on the side of the Axis powers under the supreme German command.

Romania was the main source of oil for the Third Reich,[73] thus attracting multiple bombing raids by the Allies. After the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania recovered Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from Soviet Russia, under the command of general (later marshal) Ion Antonescu. The Antonescu regime played a major role in the Holocaust,[74] following to a lesser extent the Nazi policy of oppression and massacre of Jews and Gypsies, mainly in the Eastern territories reoccupied by the Romanians from the Soviet Union in Transnistria and in Moldavia.[75] Jewish Holocaust victims in Romania totaled more than 280,000, plus another 11,000 Gypsies ("Roma").[76] Romania has recognized that a Holocaust took place on its territory and held its first Holocaust Day in 2004.[77]

In August 1944, Marshal Antonescu was toppled and arrested by King Mihai I of Romania and the country switched sides, joining the Allies. Romania's role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris Peace Conference of 1947,[78] even though the Romanian Army had suffered 170,000 casualties after switching sides.[79]

Communism[edit]

Future President Nicolae Ceaușescu condemning the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in front of a massive crowd in 1968. Romania was the only Warsaw Pact nation to issue such a condemnation.

During the Soviet occupation of Romania, the Communist-dominated government called for new elections, which were fraudulently won with an 85% majority of the vote.[80] Thus they rapidly established themselves as the dominant political force.[81] In 1947, the Communists forced King Michael I to abdicate and leave the country, and proclaimed Romania a people's republic.[82][83] Romania remained under the direct military occupation and economic control of the USSR until the late 1950s. During this period, Romania's vast natural resources were continuously drained by mixed Soviet-Romanian companies (SovRoms) set up for unilateral exploitative purposes.[84][85][86]

In 1948, the state began to nationalize private firms and to collectivize agriculture the following year.[87] From 1947 to the early 1960s, the Communist government established a terror regime, carried out mainly through the Securitate (the Romanian secret police). During this period they launched several campaigns of purges in which numerous "enemies of the state" and "parasite elements" of the society were imprisoned for political or economic reasons, tortured and eventually killed.[88] Punishments included deportation, internal exile and internment in forced labour camps and prisons, sometimes for life; dissent was vigorously suppressed by the regime.[89] Nevertheless, Romanian armed opposition to communist state terror was one of the most long-lasting in the Eastern Bloc.[90] Tens of thousands of people were killed as part of repression in Communist Romania.[91][92]

In 1965, Nicolae Ceaușescu came to power and started applying an independent foreign policy by being the only Warsaw Pact country to condemn the Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, by maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War and by establishing diplomatic relations with West Germany the same year (economic links had been established in 1963).[93] At the same time, close ties with the Arab countries (and the PLO) allowed Romania to play a key role in the Israel–Egypt and Israel–PLO peace talks.[94]

As Romania's foreign debt sharply increased between 1977 and 1981 (from US$3 billion to $10 billion),[95] the influence of international financial organisations (such as the IMF and the World Bank) developed, gradually conflicting with Nicolae Ceaușescu's autocratic rule. The latter eventually initiated a policy of total reimbursement of the foreign debt by imposing austerity steps that impoverished the Romanians and exhausted the Romanian economy. At the same time, Ceaușescu greatly extended the authority of the police state and imposed a severe cult of personality. All these led to a dramatic decrease in Ceaușescu's popularity and culminated in his overthrow and eventual execution in the violent Romanian Revolution. By that time Romania's foreign debt was almost completely paid off. A 2006 Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania estimated the number of direct victims[96] of the communist repression at two million people. This number does not include civilians who died in liberty as a result of their "treatment" and malnutrition in communist prisons, nor does it include those people who died because of the dire economic circumstances in the country. Those numbers remain unknown but could reach a few million.[96][97]

Euro-Atlantic integration[edit]

Protesters in Bucharest during the Romanian Revolution. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country whose Communist government was overthrown violently.
Romania joined the European Union in 2007 and signed the Lisbon Treaty

After the revolution, the National Salvation Front (NSF), led by Ion Iliescu, took partial multi-party democratic and free market measures.[98][99] Several major political parties of the pre-World War II era were resurrected. After major political rallies, in April 1990 a sit-in protest contesting the results of the recently held parliamentary elections began in the University Square, Bucharest, accusing the NSF of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate.

The protesters called the election undemocratic and asked for the exclusion from political life of former high-ranking Communist Party members, such as president Iliescu himself. The protest rapidly grew to become what president Iliescu called the Golaniad. The peaceful demonstrations degenerated into violence, prompting the intervention of coal miners, summoned by Iliescu in June 1990, from the Jiu Valley. This episode has been documented widely by both local[100] and foreign media,[101] and is remembered as the June 1990 Mineriad.[102][103]

The subsequent disintegration of the Front produced several political parties including the Social Democratic Party, the Democratic Party and the Alliance for Romania. The former governed Romania from 1990 until 1996 through several coalitions and governments with Ion Iliescu as head of state. Since then there have been several democratic changes of government: in 1996 the Democrat-Liberals' opposition and its leader Emil Constantinescu acceded to power; in 2000 the Social-Democrats returned to power, with Iliescu once again as president; and, finally, in 2004 Traian Băsescu was elected president, with an electoral coalition called Justice and Truth Alliance. Băsescu was narrowly re-elected in 2009.[104]

After the Cold War Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe and the United States, eventually joining NATO in 2004, and hosting the 2008 summit in Bucharest.[105] The country applied in June 1993 for membership in the European Union and became an Associated State of the EU in 1995, an Acceding Country in 2004, and a full member on 1 January 2007.[106] Because of the European "free travel agreement", the reaction to the Cold War period[clarification needed] and economic instability throughout the 1990s, Romania has an increasingly large diaspora, estimated at over two million people. The main emigration targets are Western Europe and North America, with particularly large communities in Italy and Spain.[107]

During the 2000s, Romania enjoyed one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe and has been referred to as "the Tiger of Eastern Europe".[108] This has been accompanied by a significant improvement in living standards as the country successfully reduced internal poverty and established a functional democratic state.[109][110] However, Romania's development suffered a major setback during the late-2000s recession which led to a large gross domestic product contraction and a large budget deficit in 2009 which led to Romania borrowing heavily,[111] eventually becoming the largest debtor to the International Monetary Fund in 2010.[112] Worsening economic conditions led to unrest and triggered a political crisis in 2012.[113] Romania still faces issues related to infrastructure,[114] medical services,[115] education,[116] and corruption.[117] Another major concern is emigration, which has kept unemployment low but is seen as a threat to the country's future.

Geography[edit]

Main article: Geography of Romania
A general map of Romania

With a surface area of 238,391 square kilometres (92,043 sq mi), Romania is the largest country in southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe.[118] It lies between latitudes 43° and 49° N, and longitudes 20° and 30° E.

Romania's terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountainous, hilly and lowland territories. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the centre of Romania, with 14 mountain ranges reaching above 2,000 m or 6,600 ft, and the highest point at Moldoveanu Peak (2,544 m or 8,346 ft).[118] These are surrounded by the Moldavian and Transylvanian plateaus and Pannonian and Wallachian plains. Romania's geographical diversity has led to an accompanying diversity of flora and fauna.[118]

A large part of Romania's border with Serbia and Bulgaria is formed by the Danube. The Prut River, one of its major tributaries, forms the border with the Republic of Moldova.[118] The Danube flows into the Black Sea within Romania's territory forming the Danube Delta, the second largest and best preserved delta in Europe, and also a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site.[119] Other major rivers are the Siret (596 km), the Olt (614 km), the Someș (388 km), and the Mureș (761 km).[118]

Lakes and lake complexes have a low share throughout Romania, occupying only 1.1% of total land area. The largest lake complex in size is Razelm-Sinoe (731 km²), located on the Black Sea seaside. Glacial lakes exist in the Făgăraș Mountains, a result of quaternary glaciation, of which the largest are: Lake Avrig (14,700 m²), Bâlea Lake (46,500 m²), Capra Lake (18,000 m²), etc. Other notable lakes are Lake Sfânta Ana, the only volcanic lake in Romania, and Red Lake, a natural dam lake, both situated in Harghita County.[120]

Climate[edit]

Satellite image of Romania in December 2001, showing most of its territory under snow.
Main 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 temperate and continental, with four distinct seasons. The average annual temperature is 11 °C (52 °F) in the south and 8 °C (46 °F) in the north.[121] The extreme recorded temperatures were 44.5 °C (112.1 °F) at Ion Sion in 1951 and −38.5 °C (−37.3 °F) at Bod in 1942.[122]

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 rising to 28 °C (82 °F), and temperatures over 35 °C (95 °F) fairly common in the lower-lying areas of the country. Minima in Bucharest and other lower-lying areas are around 16 °C (61 °F). Autumn is rainy and cool, with fields and trees producing colorful foliage.[123]

Winters can be cold, with average maximum even in lower-lying areas reaching no more than 2 °C (36 °F) and below −15 °C (5 °F) in the highest mountains.[123] Precipitation is average with over 750 mm (30 in) per year only on the highest western mountains—much of it falling as snow, which allows for an extensive skiing industry. In the south-central parts of the country (around Bucharest) the level of precipitation drops to around 600 mm (24 in),[124] while in the Danube Delta, rainfall levels are very low, and average only around 370 mm (15 in).

Because of Romania's geographic location, respectively the regional orographic peculiarities, there exists a varied range of local winds. Humid winds from the northwest are most common, but often the drier winds from the northeast are strongest. A hot southwesterly wind, the austru (cf. lat. Auster), blows over western Romania, particularly in summer. In winter, cold and dense air masses encircle the eastern portions of the country, with the cold northeasterly known as the crivăț blowing in from the Russian Plain, and oceanic air masses from the Azores, in the west, bring rain and mitigate the severity of the cold. Other wind types present locally are nemirul, black wind, foehn, băltărețul, zephyr, cosava etc. Romania enjoys four seasons, though there is a rapid transition from winter to summer. Autumn is frequently longer, with dry warm weather from September to late November.[125]

Natural environment[edit]

Although presently in decline, Romania's population of brown bears is the largest in Europe (over 5,000 individuals).[126]

A high percentage (47% of the land area) of the country is covered with natural and semi-natural ecosystems.[127] 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.[127] 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.[128] There are also almost 400 unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in Romania.[129] The fauna consists of 33,792 species of animals, 33,085 invertebrate and 707 vertebrate.[130]

Some 3,700 plant species have been identified in the country, from which to date 23 have been declared natural monuments, 74 missing, 39 endangered, 171 vulnerable and 1,253 rare.[130] The three major vegetation areas in Romania are the alpine zone, the forest zone and the steppe zone.[131][132] The latter can be subdivided (depending on soil, climate, and altitude) into regions dominated by the Norway Spruce, European Beech, and various species of Oak,[133] together with less widespread vegetation types such as the Dinaric calcareous block fir forest. The Danube Delta is the largest continuous marshland in Europe.[134] Vegetation in the marshland is dominated by reeds, with Willow, Poplar, Alder, and Oak on the higher ground.[134] The delta supports 1,688 different plant species.[135]

There are almost 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) (about 5% of the total area) of protected areas in Romania covering 13 national parks and three biosphere reserves: the Danube Delta, Retezat National Park, and Rodna National Park.[136] The Danube Delta Reserve Biosphere is the largest and least damaged wetland complex in Europe, covering a total area of 5,800 km2 (2,200 sq mi).[137] 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.[134] Within its boundaries lies one of the most extensive reed bed systems in the world.[138]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Romania is divided into 41 counties and the municipality of Bucharest. Each county is administered by a county council, responsible for local affairs, as well as a prefect responsible for the administration of national affairs at the county level. The prefect is appointed by the central government but cannot be a member of any political party.[139]

Each county is further subdivided into cities and communes, which have their own mayor and local council. There are a total of 319 cities and 2,686 communes in Romania.[140] A total of 103 of the larger cities have municipality statuses, which gives them greater administrative power over local affairs. The municipality of Bucharest is a special case as it enjoys a status on par to that of a county. It is further divided into six sectors and has a prefect, a general mayor, and a general city council.[140]

The NUTS-3 (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) level divisions of European Union reflect Romania's administrative-territorial structure, and correspond to the 41 counties plus Bucharest.[141] The cities and communes correspond to the NUTS-5 level divisions, but there are no current NUTS-4 level divisions. The NUTS-1 (four macroregions) and NUTS-2[142] (eight development regions) divisions exist but have no administrative capacity, and are instead used for coordinating regional development projects and statistical purposes.[141]

Development regionArea (km2)Population (2011)[143]Most populous urban center1[144]
Northwest34,1592,600,132Cluj-Napoca (411,379)
Center34,0822,360,805Brașov (369,896)
Northeast36,8503,302,217Iași (382,484)
Southeast35,7622,545,923Constanța (425,916)
South34,4893,136,446Ploiești (276,279)
Bucharest-Ilfov1,8112,272,163Bucharest (2,272,163)
Southwest29,2122,075,642Craiova (285,098)
West32,0281,828,313Timișoara (384,809)

Politics[edit]

Government[edit]

Victor Ponta (left), the current Prime Minister of Romania and leader of the Social Democratic Party.
Main article: Government of Romania

The Constitution of Romania is based on the Constitution of France's Fifth Republic[145] and was approved in a national referendum on 8 December 1991.[145] A plebiscite held in October 2003 approved 79 amendments to the Constitution, bringing it into conformity with European Union legislation.[145] The country is governed on the basis of multi-party democratic system and of the segregation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers.[145]

Romania is a semi-presidential republic where executive functions are held by both government and the president. The president is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two terms, and since the amendments in 2003, each term lasts five years.[145] He appoints the prime minister, who in turn appoints the Council of Ministers (based at Victoria Palace).[145] The legislative branch of the government, collectively known as the Parliament (residing at the Palace of the Parliament), consists of two chambers – the Senate with 140 members, and the Chamber of Deputies with 346 members.[145] The members of both chambers are elected every four years by simple plurality.[146]

Traian Băsescu, current President of Romania, with George W. Bush, former President of the United States, 27 July 2006.

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.[147] There are also courts of appeal, county courts and local courts. The Romanian judicial system is strongly influenced by the French model,[145][148] considering that it is based on civil law and is inquisitorial in nature. The Constitutional Court (Curtea Constituțională) 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 be amended by only a public referendum, the last of which took place 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[149] 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 2013 Brussels report, Romania was described as the 9th most corrupt country in the EU (after Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Portugal, Hungary and Spain).[150]

Foreign relations[edit]

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 29 March 2004, the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007, while it had joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972, and is a founding member of the World Trade Organization.[151]

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.[152] Romania has also made clear since the late 1990s that it supports NATO and EU membership for the democratic former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.[152] Romania also declared its public support for Turkey, and Croatia joining the European Union.[152] With Turkey, Romania shares a privileged economic relation.[153] Because it has a large Hungarian minority, Romania has also developed strong relations with Hungary. Romania opted on 1 January 2007, to adhere the Schengen Area, an area of free movement in Europe that comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries. Romania's bid to join the Schengen Area was approved by the European Parliament in June 2011, but was rejected by the Council of Ministers in September 2011.

In December 2005, President Traian Băsescu and United States 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.[154] In May 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that "Romania is one of the most trustworthy and respectable partners of the USA" during a visit of the Romanian foreign minister.[155]

Relations with Moldova are a special case, considering that the two countries practically share the same language, and a fairly common historical background.[152] A movement for unification of Romania and Moldova appeared in the early 1990s after both countries achieved emancipation from communist rule,[156] but lost ground in the mid-1990s when a new Moldovan government pursued an agenda towards preserving a Moldovan republic independent of Romania.[157] Romania remains interested in Moldovan affairs and has officially rejected the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,[156] but the two countries have been unable so far to reach agreement on a basic bilateral treaty.[158] After the 2009 protests in Moldova and subsequent removal of Communists from power, relations between the two countries have improved considerably.[159] On 3 May 2011, after the stabilisation of the Moldovan political situation, the Romanian prime – minister M.R. Ungureanu and the Moldovan premier Vladimir Filat held a joint governmment meeting in Iași, where they signed 8 bilateral strategic military and economic agreements.

Military[edit]

Romanian soldiers in Afghanistan during a joint operation in 2003.
Main article: Romanian Armed Forces

The Romanian Armed Forces consist of Land, Air, and Naval Forces, and are led by a Commander-in-chief who is managed by the Ministry of Defense. The president is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces during wartime.

Starting in 2015, Romania will host Europe's first NATO anti-missile shield.

Of the 90,000 men and women that comprise the Armed Forces, approximately 15,000 are civilians and 75,000 are military personnel—45,800 for land, 13,250 for air, 6,800 for naval forces, and 8,800 in other fields.[160] The total defence spending in 2007 accounted for 2.05% of total national GDP, or approximately US$2.9 billion (59th in the world), and a total of about 11 billion were spent between 2006 and 2011 for modernization and acquisition of new equipment.[161]

The Land Forces have overhauled their equipment in the past few years, and are actively participating in the War in Afghanistan.[162] The Air Force currently operates modernized Soviet MiG-21 Lancer fighters which are due to be replaced by twelve F-16s, purchased from Portugal, in a deal finalized in October 2013.[163] The Air Force purchased seven new C-27J Spartan tactical airlift to replace the bulk of the old transport force.[164] Two modernized Type 22 frigates were acquired by the Naval Forces in 2004 from the Royal Navy, and a further four modern missile corvettes have been commissioned by 2010.[165]

Romanian troops participated in the occupation of Iraq, reaching a peak of 730 soldiers before being slowly drawn down to 350 soldiers. Romania terminated its mission in Iraq and withdrew its last troops on 24 July 2009, among the last countries to do so. Romania currently has some 1,900 troops deployed in Afghanistan.[166] The Regele Ferdinand frigate participated in the 2011 military intervention in Libya.[167]

In December 2011, the Romanian Senate unanimously adopted the draft law ratifying the Romania-United States agreement signed in September of the same year that would allow the establishment and operation of a US land-based ballistic missile defence system in Romania as part of NATO's efforts to build a continental missile shield.[168]

Social welfare[edit]

In 1990, after the fall of the communist regime, the whole system was reformed. It was divided into multiple categories (healthcare, child care, adults and elderly), and the concept of generalized social welfare became reduced in scale.[169]

Families or mothers do not pay for giving birth, which is subsidized by state tax revenues. As soon as mothers give birth, they are entitled to vacation. They receive aid which amounts 75% of their net income, with a minimum set at 600 RON and limited to 3400 RON.[170] After the age of two, children receive an allowance of approximately €9 per month[171] up until the age of 18, although they must attend school in order to receive it.[172]

Adults are also able to apply for unemployment aid. The amount varies from case to case, but is generally comparable to the minimum wage. The unemployment aid can be granted if the payer has contributed and if they can prove they are actively seeking for a job. The unemployment aid is granted on a time-limited, individually determined basis.[173] The unemployment rate in Romania has been relatively low in recent years and stands at around 5% in 2011.[174]

The pension system was also reformed.[175][176][177] The current average retirement age (55 years for women and 57 years for men) will be gradually increased until 2014 to 60 years for women and 65 years for men. Pension is granted nonetheless of the contributions made during one's lifetime. It increases proportionally with the contribution a person made during their working age. Some retirees have pensions that overcome the medium salary, but a third of them live off with a pension equal to or under the minimum wage.[178] Pension is provided by the state.

Economy[edit]

Dacia Duster concept at the Geneva Motor Show (2009).
Main article: Economy of Romania
Further information: List of Romanian companies

With a GDP according to CIA's The World Factbook of around $274 billion in 2012 and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $12,800 for the year 2012, Romania is an upper-middle income country economy[179] and has been part of the European Union since 1 January 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.[180]

The Financial Center in Bucharest

Growth dampened to 6.1% in 2007,[181] but was expected to exceed 8% in 2008 because of a high production forecast in agriculture (30–50% higher than in 2007). The GDP grew by 8.9% in the first nine months of 2008, but growth fell to 2.9% in the fourth quarter and stood at 7.1% for the whole 2008 because of the financial crisis.[182] Thereafter, the country fell into a recession in 2009 and 2010, where the GDP contracted −7.1% and −1.3% respectively, and a group including the IMF needed to finance a €20bn bailout program.[183] However, the GDP grew again by 2.2% in 2011 and 0.7% in 2012.[184] It is estimated the GDP will continue to grow by 1.6% in 2013 and 2.2% in 2014.[184]

This table shows the GDP PPP and growth between 2007 to 2014, calculated by the IMF as of April 2014:[185]

YearGDP
in billions of USD PPP
GDP PPP per capita (USD)GDP growth (%)
2007246.75011,449Increase 6.317
2008270.05612,551Increase 7.349
2009254.24011,833Decrease 6.576
2010254.36111,860Decrease 1.149
2011264.95312,390Increase 2.158
2012271.44112,722Increase 0.689
2013285.13113,396 (est.)Increase 3.480
2014 (est.)295.97913,932Increase 2.243

According to Eurostat data, the Romanian PPS GDP per capita stood at 50% of the EU average in 2012.[186] In March 2013, the net average monthly wage in the country was €387 – one of the lowest in the EU. Inflation in October 2013 was 3.7%.[187] Unemployment in Romania was at 7% in 2012,[188] which is very low compared to other middle-sized or large European countries such as Poland, France and Spain. General government gross debt is also comparatively low, at 37.8% of GDP, and the government budget deficit is at −2.7%[189]

Industrial output growth reached 6.5% year-on-year in February 2013, the highest in the EU-27.[190] Exports have increased substantially in the past few years, with a 13% annual rise in exports in 2010. Romania's main exports are cars, software, clothing and textiles, industrial machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, metallurgic products, raw materials, military equipment, 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 current account balance in 2012 is estimated to have held a deficit of $6.474 billion and −4.52% of the GDP.[191]

After a series of privatisations and reforms in the late 1990s and 2000s (decade), government intervention in the Romanian economy is somewhat lower than in other European economies.[192] In 2005, the government replaced Romania's progressive tax system with a flat tax of 16% for both personal income and corporate profit, among the lowest rates in the European Union,[193] a factor which has contributed to the growth of the private sector. The economy is predominantly based on services, which account for 51.2% of GDP, even though industry and agriculture also have significant contributions, making up 36% and 12.8% of GDP, respectively. Additionally, 29.6% of the Romanian population was employed in 2006 in agriculture and primary production, one of the highest rates in Europe.[194]

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.[195] According to a 2011 World Bank report, Romania currently ranks 72nd out of 175 economies in the ease of doing business, scoring lower than other countries in the region such as the Czech Republic.[196] Additionally, a study in 2006 judged it to be the world's second-fastest economic reformer (after Georgia).[197]

National currency[edit]

Bank-note of 100 lei, picturing Ion Luca Caragiale

The official currency in Romania is (since 1867) leu (Romanian leu). The name (homonymous with the Romanian word for lion) comes from Leeuwendaalder (which had the figure of a lion on the reverse),a silver coin originally circulated in the Netherlands from the 16th century, that became a dominant currency in the Romanian states starting with the 17th century. Though the Leeuwendaalder eventually fell into disuse, the name Leu remained as a generic term. For the same reason, other regional currency, like the Bulgarian Lev and the Moldovan Leu are similarly named. The subdivision of leu is ban (plural: bani), 1 leu = 100 bani.

Between 1991 and 1997, high inflation (up to 256% in 1993)[198] practically rendered the subdivision of leu irrelevant and its use ceased until a denomination occurred in 2005. As of 1 July 2005, the new leu, sometimes called ron, has been placed in service, obtained by removing four zeros from the leu (1 ron = 10,000 lei), in an effort to increase the competitiveness and improve trade against regional currencies, as well as the Euro. The subdivision of leuban was also reintroduced. There are coins of 1, 5, 10 and 50 bani and notes of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 200 and 500 lei.

Romania joined the European Union on 1 January 2007 and is expected to adopt the euro in 2015.[199]

Transportation[edit]

Romania's road network.
Main article: Transport in Romania

All transportation infrastructure in Romania is administered by the Ministry of Transports, Constructions and Tourism, except when operated as a concession, in which case the concessions are made by the Ministry of Administration and Interior.[200]

According to the CIA Factbook, Romania total road network is estimated to be 81,713 kilometres (50,774 mi) long (excluding urban areas), out of which 66,632 km (41,403 mi) are paved and 15,081 km (9,371 mi) (2009) are unpaved.[201] The World Bank estimates that the road network that is outside of cities and communes (i.e. excluding streets and village roads) is about 78,000 km (48,467 mi) long.[200] There are plans to build a 2,262.7 km (1,406.0 mi) long motorway system, consisting of six main motorways and six bypass motorways. As of December 2013, 635.9 km (395.1 mi) have already been built with 419 km (260 mi) being under construction or in tendering stages.[202]

Because of 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.[203] 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.[203]

The Transfăgărășan in the Southern Carpathians. Built in the early 1970s, it is one of the highest and most dramatic roads in Romania.
Henri Coandă International Airport in Bucharest is the largest airport in Romania in terms of passenger transport.
CFR's icon, the "Blue Arrow" (Săgeata Albastră) at Gara de Nord in Bucharest.

Romania has a relatively well-developed airport infrastructure compared to other countries in Eastern Europe, but still underdeveloped compared to Western European standards. There are 17 commercial airports in service today, most of them opened for international traffic. Five of the airports (OTP, BBU, TSR, CND, SBZ) have runways of over 3,000 meters in length and are capable of handling wide-body aircraft. Three of the airports (BCM, CRA, SUJ) have runways of 2,500 meters in length, while the rest of them have runways of 1,800 to 2,000 meters. As of December 2006, TCE and CSB are the only airports with no regular flights. Almost all the airports have experienced traffic growth in the last 4 years.

The World Bank estimates that the railway network in Romania comprised 22,298 kilometres (13,855 mi) of track in 2004, which would make it the fourth-largest railroad network in Europe.[204] The railway transport experienced a dramatic fall in freight and passenger volumes from the peak volumes recorded in 1989 mainly because of 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 tonnes, or 17 billion ton-km of freight.[145] The combined total transportation by rail constituted around 45% of all passenger and freight movement in the country.[145] Since 2005, was liberalized the passenger rail, several secondary lines being leased to private operators.[205]

Bucharest is the only city in Romania which has an underground railway system. The Bucharest Metro was opened in 16 November 1979 and is now one of the most accessed systems of the Bucharest public transport network with an average ridership of 600,000 passengers during the workweek. Currently, the Bucharest Metro measures 61.41 km (38.16 mi) lengthwise and includes five metro lines, one proposed and one under construction.[206]

Romania has 16 international airports, of which the busiest are Henri Coandă International Airport (7,643,467 passengers, 2013) and Cluj International Airport (1,035,438 passengers, 2013). Also, Romania disposes of an unworkable international airport (Caransebeș Airport) and 16 under construction or planned airports, whose construction will be completed until 2020. Romania has about 200 flight corridors, as much as any other European country. Five of the airports (OTP, BBU, TSR, CND, SBZ) have runways of over 3,000 meters in length and are capable of handling wide-body aircraft. Three of the airports (BCM, CRA, SUJ) have runways of 2,500 meters in length, while the rest of them have runways of 1,800 to 2,000 meters. As of December 2006, TCE and CSB are the only airports with no regular flights. The air traffic has doubled in the last 20 years; in the summer of 2010, Romania was crossed by as many as 150 aircraft simultaneously, bringing considerable incomes to TAROM airline. As of May 2011, TAROM flies to 47 destinations (including the seasonal destinations), such as: Cairo, Tel Aviv, Dubai, Vienna, Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Athens, Budapest, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Istanbul and London.[207]

Tourism[edit]

Main article: Tourism in Romania

Tourism focuses on the country's natural landscapes and its rich history and is a significant contributor to the Romanian economy. In 2006, domestic and international tourism generated about 4.8% of gross domestic product and 5.8% of the total jobs (about half a million jobs).[208] 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 is characterized by a huge potential for development.

Bran Castle near Brașov, sometimes advertised as "Dracula's castle".

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 to 2016.[209] The number of tourists grew from 4.8 million in 2002 to 6.6 million in 2004.[145] Similarly, the revenues grew from 400 million[clarification needed] in 2002 to 607 in 2004.[145] In 2006, Romania registered 20 million overnight stays by international tourists, an all-time record,[210] but the number for 2007 is expected to increase even more.[clarification needed][211] Tourism in Romania attracted €400 million in investments in 2005.[212]

Over the past few years,[clarification needed] Romania has emerged as a popular tourist destination for many Europeans (more than 60% of the foreign visitors in 2007 were from EU countries),[211] thus attempting to compete with Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Spain. Destinations such as Mangalia, Saturn, Venus, Neptun, Olimp, Constanța and Mamaia (sometimes called the Romanian Riviera) are among the most popular attractions during summer.[213] During winter, the skiing resorts along the Valea Prahovei and Poiana Brașov are popular with foreign visitors. Făgăraș and Bucegi Mountains, with its iconic Sphinx, are ideal trails for hikers. Most of Romania's national parks have arrangements for outdoor activities with a network of marked paths and trails and overnight accommodation in either staffed lodges or local guesthouses.[214]

For their medieval atmosphere and castles, Transylvanian cities such as Sibiu, Brașov, Sighișoara, Cluj-Napoca, Târgu Mureș or Miercurea Ciuc have become major tourist attractions for foreigners. Rural tourism, focusing on folklore and traditions, has become an important alternative recently,[215] and is targeted to promote such sites as Bran and its Dracula's Castle, the Painted churches of Northern Moldavia, the Wooden churches of Maramureș and Sălaj, or the Merry Cemetery in Maramureș County (at Săpânța).[216] Other major natural attractions, such as the Danube Delta,[145] the Iron Gates (Danube Gorge), Scărișoara Cave and several other caves in the Apuseni Mountains have yet to receive great attention.

In terms of tourism potential, Romania benefits from splendid cities, scattered on the smooth plains or high peaks. These include Sibiu, a city built by Saxons, with cobblestone streets and colorful houses. The Hunyad Castle, one of the most important monuments of Gothic architecture in Transylvania, can be visited in Hunedoara. Also, resorts such as Băile Felix, Băile Herculane and Băile Tușnad are points of interest for local and foreign tourists.[217]

The Romanian seaside is the most developed tourist area of Romania. In 2009, Romania's Black Sea seaside was visited by 1.3 million tourists, of whom 40,000 were foreign.[218] The shore is very varied, formed by slightly wavy shapes, with emphasized capes and deep bays extending into the Dobruja valleys, with cliffs, beaches and sand cords. In Târgu Jiu one can see the sculptures of Constantin Brâncuși (1876–1957), a Romanian sculptor with overwhelming contributions to the renewal of plastic language and vision in contemporary sculpture.[219] These include The Endless Column, The Gate of the Kiss and The Table of Silence, which together represent the three parts of a monumental sculptural ensemble.[220]

Science and technology[edit]

Coandă-1910 was an early aircraft with ducted fan propulsion.

During the 1990s and 2000s, the development of Romanian science was hampered by several factors, including corruption, low funding and a considerable brain drain.[221] However, since the country's accession to the European Union, this has begun to change. After being slashed by 50% in 2009 because of the global recession, R&D spending was increased by 44% in 2010 and now stands at $0.5 billion (1.5 billion lei).[222] In January 2011, the Parliament also passed a law that enforces "strict quality control on universities and introduces tough rules for funding evaluation and peer review".[223] The country has joined or is about to join several major international organizations such as CERN and the European Space Agency.[224][225] Overall, the situation has been characterized as "rapidly improving", albeit from a low base.[226]

The early flight pioneer Traian Vuia

Historically, Romanian researchers and inventors have made notable contributions to several fields, such as: aeronautics, medicine, mathematics, computer science/engineering, physics, biophysics, chemistry, biochemistry and biology. In the history of flight, Traian Vuia made the first airplane to take off on its own power[227] and Aurel Vlaicu built and flew some of the earliest successful aircraft. Also, Henri Coandă discovered the Coandă effect of fluidics. Preceding him, Elie Carafoli was a pioneering contributor to the field of aerodynamics in the world. It should also be noted that Hermann Oberth, the founding father of astronautics, was born in Sibiu.

Victor Babeș discovered more than 50 types of bacteria and a cure for a disease named after him, babesiosis; biologist Nicolae Paulescu discovered insulin. Another biologist, Emil Palade, received the Nobel Prize for his contributions to cell biology. George Constantinescu created the theory of sonics, while Lazăr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine and also invented the modern method of refining crude oil. Costin Nenițescu found new methods for the synthesis of pirilium salts, of carbenes, tryptamine, serotonin, two new syntheses for the indole nucleus[disambiguation needed], and a new method of polymerisation of ethylene.

Several mathematicians distinguished themselves as well, among them: Gheorghe Țițeica, Spiru Haret, Grigore Moisil, Miron Nicolescu, Nicolae Popescu and Ștefan Odobleja; the latter is also regarded as the ideological father behind cybernetics.

Notable physicists and inventors also include: Horia Hulubei in atomic physics, Șerban Țițeica in theoretical physics, Mihai Gavrilă specialized in quantum theory[disambiguation needed] and discoverer of the atomic dichotomy phenomenon, Alexandru Proca (known for the first meson theory of nuclear forces and Proca's equations of the vectorial mesonic field), Ștefan Procopiu known for the first theory of the magnetic moment of the electron in 1911 (now known as the Bohr-Procopiu magneton), Theodor V. Ionescu, the inventor of a multiple-cavity magnetron (1935), a hydrogen maser in 1947, 3D imaging for cinema/television in 1924 and hot deuterium plasma studies for controlled nuclear fusion, Ionel Solomon known for the nuclear magnetic resonance theory in solids, Solomon equations[228][229] and photovoltaic devices, Petrache Poenaru, Nicolae Teclu and Victor Toma, with the latter known for the invention and construction of the first Romanian computer, the CIFA-1 in 1955.[230]

The nuclear physics facility of the European Union's proposed Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) laser will be built in Romania.[231] Romania currently has 1,400 MW of nuclear power capacity by means of one active nuclear power plant (Cernavodă) with 2 reactors, which constitutes around 18% of the national power generation capacity of the country. This makes Romania the 23rd largest user of nuclear power in the world.

In early 2012, Romania launched its first satellite from the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guyana.[232]

Telecommunications[edit]

In Romania there are 12.9 million connections to the Internet (June 2012).[233] There were over 600,000 domains registered under .ro at the end of 2012.[234]

In most international rankings, Romania is among the first places in the world based on the speed of its internet service. According to a top made by Bloomberg in 2013, Romania is ranked 5th in the world and 2nd in Europe in terms of internet connection speed, being surpassed by Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Latvia. Average peak speed: 37.4 Mbit/s.[235] In Akamai's The State of the Internet Report covering the fourth quarter of 2012, Romania came 4th on average peak connection speed by EMEA country/region.[236]

Based on Net Index report at the end of first half of 2013, Timișoara has become the city with the highest download speed in the world. Timișoara had a download speed of 89.91 Mbit/s, while the second ranking city Vilnius had a download speed of 52.09 Mbit/s. The second Romanian city which appeared in the ranking was Constanța, on the 14th place, with a speed of 34.45 Mbit/s. Bucharest came 19th, with a speed of 33.57 Mbit/s, and Brașov, 27th, with 31.01 Mbit/s. World City Ranking requires at least 75,000 unique IP addresses for a given city.[236]

Demographics[edit]

Demographic evolution[edit]

Historical population
YearPop.  ±%  
18664,424,961—    
18875,500,000+24.3%
18995,956,690+8.3%
19127,234,919+21.5%
193018,057,028+149.6%
193919,934,000+10.4%
194113,535,757−32.1%
194815,872,624+17.3%
195617,489,450+10.2%
196619,103,163+9.2%
197721,559,910+12.9%
199222,760,449+5.6%
200221,680,974−4.7%
201120,121,641−7.2%
Figures prior to 1948 do not reflect current borders.
Ethnic map of Romania based on 2011 census data

According to the 2011 census, Romania's population is 20,121,641.[2] Like other countries in the region, its population is expected to gradually decline in the coming years as a result of sub-replacement fertility rates and negative net migration rate. In October 2011 Romanians made up 88.6% of the population. The largest ethnic minorities are the Hungarians, who make up 6.5% of the population and Roma, who make up 3.2% of the population.[note 4][237]

Hungarians 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.[238]

In 1930, there were 745,421 Germans in Romania,[239] but only about 36,884 remain today, according to the 2011 census.[240] In 1924, there were 796,056 Jews in the Kingdom of Romania.[241] As of 2009, there were also approximately 133,000 immigrants living in Romania,[109] primarily from Moldova and China.

The total fertility rate (TFR) in 2013 was estimated at 1.31 children born/woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1, and one of the lowest in the world.[242] In 2012, 31% of births were to unmarried women.[243] The life expectancy in 2013 was estimated at 74.45 years (70.99 years male, 78.13 years female).[242] The birth rate (9.49‰, 2012) is much lower than the mortality rate (11.84‰, 2012), resulting in a shrinking (−0.26% per year, 2012) and aging population (median age: 39.1, 2012), with approximately 14.9% of total population aged 65 years and over.[244][245][246]

The number of Romanians and individuals with ancestors born in Romania living abroad is estimated at around 12 million.[107] After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, a significant number of Romanians emigrated to other European countries, North America or Australia, because of better working conditions and academic possibilities offered abroad. Some 45,000 foreigners are present on the local labor market, of which about 30,000 workers.

Languages[edit]

Main article: Romanian language

The official language of Romania is Romanian, a Romance language related to Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Romanian is spoken as a first language by 91% of the population. Hungarian and Vlax Romani are the most important minority languages, spoken by 6.7% and 1.1% of the population, respectively.[238] Until the early 1990s, there were also a substantial number of German-speaking Transylvanian Saxons, even though most have since emigrated to Germany, leaving only 45,000 native German speakers in Romania. There are approximately 32,000 Turkish speakers in Romania.[247]

Trilingual sign in Târgu Mureș showing the city's name in Romanian, Hungarian and German.

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 5–6 million Romanians, French is spoken by 4–5 million, and German, Italian and Spanish are each spoken by 1–2 million people.[citation needed]

Historically, French was the predominant foreign language spoken in Romania, but 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.[248] German has been taught predominantly in Transylvania, because of traditions tracing back to the Austro-Hungarian rule in this province.

The Romanian language remains, according to the Constitution of Romania, the only official language of Romania, but local councils ensure linguistic rights to all minorities, who form over 11% of the total population. Foreign citizens and stateless persons that live in Romania have access to justice and education in their own language.[249]

Religion[edit]

The Iași Metropolitan Cathedral, founded in 1833, is the largest Orthodox church in Romania.
The Cluj-Napoca St. Michael's Church, one of the most important Roman Catholic places of worship in Romania.
Religion in Romania
ReligionPercentage
(2011 census)
Orthodox
  
86.5%
Roman Catholic
  
4.6%
Reformed
  
3.2%
Pentecostal
  
1.9%
Greek Catholic
  
0.8%
Baptist
  
0.6%
Seventh-day Adventist
  
0.4%
Other
  
1.8%
Atheist
  
0.2%

Romania is a secular state and has no state religion. However, an overwhelming majority of the country's citizens identify themselves as Christians. 86.7% of the country's population identified as Orthodox Christian according to the 2002 census, the vast majority of which belongs to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Other major Christian denominations include Protestantism (5.2%), Roman Catholicism (4.7%) and the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church (0.9%).[238] The latter two religious organizations suffered most severely under the Communist regime. The Greek-Catholic Church was outlawed by the Communist government in 1948;[250] later, under the Ceaușescu regime, several churches in Transylvania were demolished. Protestants and Roman Catholics are also concentrated in Transylvania.

The foundation of the oldest-known Romanian Orthodox church is still visible at Drobeta-Turnu Severin today, and dates from the 14th century; however, much earlier crypts with unearthed relics of Christian martyrs executed at the orders of the Roman emperor Diocletian were found in local church records dating as far back as the 3rd century AD. Thus, the relics of Saint Sava the Goth who was martyred by drowning in the river Buzău in Romania, under Athanaric, on 12 April 372, were reverently received by St. Basil the Great. Earlier still, the first known Daco-Roman Christian priest Montanus and his wife Maxima were drowned because of their Christian faith, as martyrs, on 26 March 304.

Romania also has a Muslim minority concentrated in Dobruja, mostly of Turkish and Tatar ethnicity and numbering 67,500 people.[251] According to the results of the 2002 census, there are 66,846 Romanian citizens of the Unitarian faith (0.3% of the total population). Of the total Hungarian-speaking minority in Romania, Unitarians represent 4.55%, being the third denominational group after members of the Reformed Church in Romania (47.10%) and Roman Catholics (41.20%). Since 1700, the Unitarian Church has had 125 parishes—in 2006, there were 110 Unitarian ministers and 141 places of worship in Romania.[citation needed]

According to the 2002 census, there were 6,179 Jews, 23,105 people who are of no religion and/or atheist, and 11,734 who refused to answer. On 27 December 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% of Romania's total population.[252]

The Romanian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Orthodox church. It is in full communion with other Orthodox churches, and is ranked seventh in order of precedence. The Primate of the church has the title of Patriarch. Its jurisdiction covers the territory of Romania, with dioceses for Romanians living in nearby Moldova, Serbia and Hungary, as well as diaspora communities in Central and Western Europe, North America and Oceania.

It is the only Orthodox church using a Romance language. The majority of people in Romania (18,817,975, or 86.8% of the population, according to the 2002 census data[253]) belong to it, as well as some 720,000 Moldovans.[254] The Romanian Orthodox Church is the second-largest in size after the Russian Orthodox Church.

The most significant holidays of the Romanian Orthodox Church are:

Urbanisation[edit]

In the years following the Revolution has been a massive migration from village to city, but since 1996, the trend was reversed, and after 2005 was even stronger. Between 2005 and 2008, the number of people who have changed residence from rural to urban was 294,000, while the number of people who have changed residence from urban to rural was 418,000, difference being of over 120,000 people. Between 1996 and 2008, the difference was 313,000.[255] According to statistics compiled in 2004, 11,895,600 citizens (54.88%) lived in the urban environment, and 9,777,728 citizens (45.12%) lived in the rural environment. The most urbanised counties are Hunedoara County (76.87%), Brașov County (74.91%) and Constanța County (71.12%), while the most sparsely urbanised counties are Ilfov County (26.09%), Dâmbovița County (30.06%) and Giurgiu County (30.95%).[256] According to CIA World Factbook, the rate of urban population grows by 0.6 percent each year.

Bucharest is the capital and the largest city in Romania. At the census in 2011, its population was over 1.8 million. The LUZ area of Bucharest has a population of 2,192,372 inhabitants.[257] As of 2011, there are plans to establish a metropolitan area up to 20 times the area of the city proper.[258][259][260]

Romania has six other cities with more than 250,000 inhabitants: Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov. Other cities with populations over 200,000 are Galați and Ploiești. Another 11 cities have a population of over 100,000.[144]

At present, several of the largest cities have a metropolitan area: Constanța (425,916 inhab.), Cluj-Napoca (411,379 inhab.), Timișoara (384,809 inhab.), Iași (382,484 inhab.), Brașov (369,896 inhab.), Craiova (285,098 inhab.), Oradea (235,462 inhab.) and Târgu Mureș (212,752 inhab.), and several others are planned: Bucharest (2.3 mil. inhab.), Brăila-Galați (496,844 inhab.), Ploiești (276,279 inhab.) and Bacău (188,709 inhab.).[144][261]

Rural areas represent about 90% of total area of the country[citation needed], and their share – among the highest in Europe – amounts to 47.3% of the total population. In December 2006 Romania had 2,854 communes, consisting of 12,951 villages. The average population of a Romanian village is about 800 people.[citation needed]

Education[edit]

Main building of the University of Bucharest

Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Romanian educational system has been in a continuous process of reform that has been both praised and criticized.[262] 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 legislation. Kindergarten is optional for children 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).[263] Primary and secondary education are divided into 12 grades. Higher education is aligned with the European higher education area.

Aside from the official schooling system, and the added private equivalents after the fall of communist regime, there exists a semi-legal, informal, fully private tutoring system. Tutoring is mostly used during secondary as a preparation for the various examinations, which are notoriously difficult. Tutoring has subsisted and even prospered during the Communist regime.[264]

In 2004, some 4.4 million of the population were 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).[265] 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).[266]

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.[267]

In 2012, according to the prestigious QS World University Rankings, University of Bucharest, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca and West University of Timișoara were included in Top 700 universities of the world.[268]

Healthcare[edit]

Main article: Healthcare in Romania
Colțea Hospital has been re-equipped after a 90-million-euro investment in 2011.

Romania has a universal healthcare system. As of 2011, total health expenditures were equal to 5.6 percent of gross domestic product.[269] Romania has a comprehensive universal health care system, which covers medical examinations, any surgical interventions, and any post-operator medical care, and provides free or subsidized medicine for a range of diseases. The state is obliged to fund public hospitals and clinics. The Romanian Ministry of Health is in charge of administrating and funding the system. For 2012, the allocated budget for the healthcare sector is 12 billion euros, or roughly 5% of the GDP.[270]

The most common causes of death are cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Transmissible diseases, such as tuberculosis, syphilis or viral hepatitis, are more common than in Western Europe.[271] The incidence of HIV/AIDS is less than 0.1%. In 2010, Romania had 428 state hospitals and another 25 private.[272] Only seven medical units in Romania have the highest level of competence, level 1, most of them in the capital city.[273] For each 1,000 people, there are 6.2 hospital beds available.[274] Romania makes use of approximately 2,600 ambulances, and by 2015, the government is planning on purchasing an additional 1,250 ambulances.[275]

Romania also has a professional emergency response unit, SMURD, which operates at major emergencies. It has been created and coordinated since its inception by Raed Arafat. SMURD operates independently from the regular emergency response services, but it can be dialed and asked for by calling 112.

Romania has one of the highest success rates for organs transplantation surgeries in Europe

As of 2012, Romania has 206,258 medical staff, of which 52,525 are doctors, 13,772 dentists and 15,511 pharmacists.[276] Since 2007, more than 20,000 Romanian doctors went abroad due to higher salaries.[277] This results in a migration rate of doctors of 9%, while the European average is 2.5%.[278] The counties most affected by the lack of specialists are, according to the Medical College of Romania, Călărași and Giurgiu, with 1 doctor per 1,000 people, followed by Ialomița (1.1 doctors per 1,000 people) and Tulcea (1.2 doctors per 1,000 people).

Romania is one of the nations with the highest success rate of organs transplantation surgeries, especially kidneys and liver. In 2013, the country joined the list of countries with the highest number of organ transplants performed.[279] Romania was the top leader with the highest number of transplants achieved at European level, with a record of 60 donors in the first 4 months of 2013, when 120 kidney transplants and 53 liver transplants have been performed.[279] According to Irinel Popescu MD, 2013 will probably be the best year in the Romanian transplants history[279] and according to Mediafax, another 32 hospitals have joined the Transplant Program, being involved in the identification of potential donors and maintaining suitable brain-dead candidates in a stable condition.[280]

Culture[edit]

Mihai Eminescu is the national poet of Romania and Moldova

Romania has a 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.[281]

Arts, literature and philosophy[edit]

A unified Romanian literature began to develop with the revolutions of 1848 and the union of the two Danubian Principalities in 1859. The origin of the Romanians began to be discussed and by the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, Romanian Transylvanian scholars along with Romanian scholars from Moldavia and Wallachia began studying in France, Italy and Germany.[282]

The Palace of Culture in Iași, built on the ruins of the Royal Court of Moldavia, hosts the largest art collection in Romania.

German philosophy and French culture were integrated into modern Romanian literature, and a new elite of artists led to the appearance of some of the classics of Romanian literature such as Mihai Eminescu, George Coșbuc, Ioan Slavici. Although not particularly renowned outside the country, these writers are widely appreciated within Romania for giving birth to modern Romanian literature. Eminescu is considered the greatest and most influential Romanian poet, particularly for the poem Luceafărul.[283] Among other writers that rose to prominence in the second half of 19th century are Mihail Kogălniceanu, Vasile Alecsandri, Nicolae Bălcescu, Ion Luca Caragiale, and Ion Creangă.

The first half of the 20th century is regarded by many scholars as the Golden Age of Romanian culture, as it is the period when it reached its greatest level of international affirmation and enjoyed a strong connection to Western European cultural trends.[284] Notably, figures such as Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco pioneered the anti-war Dada movement beginning with the First World War.[285] The most prominent Romanian artist of this time, however, was sculptor Constantin Brâncuși, a central figure of the modern movement and a pioneer of abstraction. His works present a blend of simplicity and sophistication that led the way for modernist sculptors.[286] 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.[287][288] In the interwar years, Romanian literature was greatly expanded through the works of, among others, Tudor Arghezi, Mircea Eliade, Lucian Blaga, George Bacovia, Eugen Barbu and Liviu Rebreanu.

Constantin Brâncuși, a prominent Romanian sculptor.

After the World Wars, Communism brought 'absolute' censorship, and used the cultural world as part of the tight control of the population exerted by the much feared "Securitate" paramilitary organization and its numerous informers. Freedom of expression was constantly restricted in various ways, but rebels, exemplified by Gellu Naum, Nichita Stănescu, Marin Sorescu and Marin Preda, managed to escape censorship, broke with "socialist realism" and were the leaders of a small "Renaissance" in Romanian literature.[289] While not many of them managed to obtain international acclaim because of censorship, some, like Constantin Noica and Paul Goma had their works published abroad even though they were jailed for various political reasons.

Some artists chose to leave the country for good and continued to make contributions in exile. Among them Eugen Ionescu, Mircea Eliade and Emil Cioran became renowned internationally 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. The novelist, poet and essayist Herta Müller also received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009.

Romanian contemporary cinema has achieved worldwide acclaim with the appearance of such films as The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu, 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).[290] The latter, according to Variety, is "further proof of Romania's new prominence in the film world." Also, the cinematographic drama If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle directed by Florin Șerban was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival and won the Jury Grand Prix (the Silver Bear).[291][292] It should be also noted that the cinematographic production Beyond the Hills of Romanian director Cristian Mungiu won two prizes at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and it has been selected as the Romanian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards.[293][294] Another notable prize that joins the collection of Romanian directors is the Golden Bear of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, won by Călin Peter Netzer with his drama film "Child's Pose".[295]

Music[edit]

Main article: Music of Romania
George Enescu is generally regarded as Romania's greatest composer.

Debuting in the late 19th century, Hariclea Darclée sang leading roles in premiere performances.

The first half of the 20th century saw the rise of George Enescu, Romania's greatest composer.[296] A child prodigy, Enescu created his first musical composition at the age of five and became an accomplished composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and teacher.[297] The annual George Enescu Festival is held in Bucharest in his honor. Also active in this period was Dinu Lipatti, a pianist notable for his interpretations of Chopin, Mozart and Bach.

Some famous postwar Romanian musicians are conductor Sergiu Celibidache, operatic singers Angela Gheorghiu, Ileana Cotrubaș, Mariana Nicolesco, Ruxandra Donose, Leontina Vaduva, folk artists Maria Tănase, Tudor Gheorghe, record producer Michael Cretu (Sandra, Enigma), and virtuoso of the pan flute Gheorghe Zamfir, the latter having sold over 120 million albums worldwide.[298][299]

Artists from Romania have recently begun to inch their way onto the international pop music scene, scoring millions of views on YouTube and selling hundreds of thousands of singles. Among the best known are Inna, Edward Maya, Akcent and Alexandra Stan.

Inna, the first European female singer to surpass one billion hits on YouTube.

Maya's "Stereo Love" became the first number one song in Billboard's year-end Dance Airplay chart to have reached number one three times in its chart run. Since the 2009 release of "Stereo Love", the Bucharest-born composer has won gold and platinum albums from Canada to Spain and toured clubs as far away as India and Pakistan.[300]

Inna, however, has been the most successful, having sold nearly two million singles worldwide, notably in the United States and United Kingdom. According to the BBC, Inna was the first European female singer to surpass one billion hits on YouTube.[301]

Romania joined the Eurovision Song Contest 1994, after an unsuccessful attempt the year before. Their best result is third overall (first in the 2005 semi final) while their worst finish is in twenty-second place. Mihai Trăistariu is the Romanian singer with most international performances. His song "Tornerò" scored 172 points at the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in fourth place. He has sold over 1.5 million albums in Romania and abroad. Also, Paula Seling and Ovidiu Cernăuțeanu were ranked third following the televoting stage of the 2010 contest, with 162 points.[302]

Monuments[edit]

The Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest was opened in 1888.

The list of World Heritage Sites[303] 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 Maramureș unique examples that combine Gothic style with traditional timber construction, the Monastery of Horezu, the citadel of Sighișoara, and the Dacian Fortresses of the Orăștie Mountains.[304]

Peleș Castle (Sinaia), built between 1873–1914, is considered one of the most beautiful castles in Romania and Eastern Europe.[305] Unique architecture and gold gilded rooms attract thousands of visitors daily. Voroneț Monastery, built in 1488, is one of the most valuable foundations of Stephen the Great, reason for that it's often called "the Sistine Chapel of the East".[306] Also, Unirii Square is the treasure in the heart of Cluj-Napoca, on which rises the St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, guarded by two "twin" buildings on the eastern side. Located at 29.7 km (18 mi) from Brașov, between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, Bran Castle is a major national monument and tourist landmark. Built by Saxons in the 14th century, today it hosts an art and furniture collection by Queen Marie, but is also marketed as the legendary residence of Bram Stoker's Dracula.[307]

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.[308] Also, in 2007, the city of Sibiu, famous for its Brukenthal National Museum, was the European Capital of Culture alongside the city of Luxembourg.[309]

Sports[edit]

Main article: Sport in Romania
Gheorghe Hagi, the greatest Romanian footballer of all time
Arena Națională was opened in 2011.

Oină is a traditional Romanian sporting game continuously practiced at least since the 14th century, pursuant to chronicles and charters, first official documentary attestation dating since 1364, during the reign of Vladislav I of Wallachia.[310] Oină is a sporting game practiced outdoors, on a rectangular field, preferably covered with grass, between two teams of eleven players. The game requires for complex sports skills and is similar to sports common in other countries, such as German Schlagball, Finnish pesäpallo, French jeu de paume, respectively Irish cluiche corr. Oină resembles the baseball, being borrowed from the times when it was simpler than nowadays, while the "oină" represents an extremely complex game.

Association football is the most popular sport in Romania today.[311] The governing body is the Romanian Football Federation, which belongs to UEFA. On the international level, the Romania national football team has taken part seven times in the FIFA World Cup games. It had its most successful period in the 1990s, when during the 1994 FIFA World Cup games in the United States, Romania reached the quarter-finals and was ranked sixth by FIFA. The core player of this "Golden Generation"[312] and perhaps the best known Romanian player internationally is Gheorghe Hagi (nicknamed the Maradona of the Carpathians).[313] Famous currently active players are Adrian Mutu, Cristian Chivu, Ciprian Marica and Răzvan Raț. Rising stars Ștefan Radu, Vlad Chiricheș, Costel Pantilimon or Alexandru Maxim.

The most famous football club is Steaua București, which in the 1986 games became the first Eastern European club ever to win the prestigious European Champions Cup title and played the final again in 1989. Another successful Romanian team Dinamo București played and won the victory in the semifinal European Champions' Cup of 1984, and also the Cup Winners' Cup semifinal in the 1990. Other important Romanian football clubs are Rapid București, UTA Arad, Universitatea Craiova, CFR Cluj and Petrolul Ploiești.

Simona Halep, highest ranked WTA player in Romanian history

Tennis is the second most popular sport in terms of registered sportsmen.[311] Romania reached the Davis Cup finals three times (1969, 1971, 1972). The tennis player Ilie Năstase won several Grand Slam titles and dozens of other tournaments, and was the first player to be ranked as number 1 by ATP between 1973 and 1974. His double, and Davis Cup Partner, as well as his mentor, Ion Țiriac is now the most successful businessman in the country. Virginia Ruzici won the French Open in 1978, while in 1980 she was a runner-up. Florența Mihai was another female tennis player from Romania who played the final in the French Open in 1977. The BRD Năstase Țiriac Trophy, since 1993, and the Bucharest Open, since 2014, are both held in the capital of Romania annually.

Irina Spîrlea was number 7 in the world in the WTA and Andrei Pavel top 15 of the ATP, both in the 90s. Famous currently active players are Simona Halep, ranking 4th WTA,[314] Sorana Cîrstea and Horia Tecău.

Popular team sport clubs are also rugby union (national rugby team has so far competed at every Rugby World Cup) and handball.[311] The Romania national handball team is a four-time world champion team, with Sweden and France (record holder), while Oltchim Râmnicu Vâlcea is a top team in women's handball. And on 13 January 2010, Cristina Neagu has become the first Romanian in handball to win the IHF World Player of the Year award.[315]

Some popular individual sports are: athletics, chess, sport dance, and combat sports.[311] Fighting sports are actually popular in Romania, especially in the TV broadcastings. Famous boxers include Nicolae Linca, Francisc Vaștag, Mihai Leu, Leonard Doroftei, Adrian Diaconu and Lucian Bute, while Daniel Ghiță became one of the best kickboxers in the world. Famous athletes with outstanding results in this sport were: Iolanda Balaș, Lia Manoliu, Doina Melinte, Viorica Viscopoleanu, Mihaela Peneș, Argentina Menis, Ileana Silai, Anișoara Cușmir, Maricica Puică, Paula Ivan, Gabriela Szabo, Lidia Simon and lately Monica Iagăr, Marian Oprea, Mihaela Melinte or Constantina Diță-Tomescu.

Romanian gymnastics has had a large number of successes – for which the country became known worldwide.[316] In the 1976 Summer Olympics, the gymnast Nadia Comăneci became the first gymnast ever to score a perfect ten in an Olympic event. She also won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze, all at the age of fifteen.[317] Her success continued in the 1980 Summer Olympics, where she was awarded two gold medals and two silver medals. In her career she won 30 medals, of which 21 were gold.

Fencing has brought Romania eight Olympic team medals and seven Olympic individual medals, including three golds: Ion Drîmbă (foil) at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, Laura Badea (foil) at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and Mihai Covaliu (sabre) at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Romanian fencers also earned 13 gold medals in World Fencing Championships and 13 gold medals in European Fencing Championships. Six Romanians feature in the Hall of Fame of the International Fencing Federation: Laura Badea, Mihai Covaliu, Ana Pascu, Petru Kuki, Ioan Pop and Reka Szabo. Two Romanian athletes are currently amongst top-ranked fencers: Ana Maria Brânză, number one in women's épée, and Tiberiu Dolniceanu, number one in men's sabre.

Romania participated 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 at the Summer Olympic Games (15th overall) with a total of 283 medals won throughout the years, 82 of which are gold medals.[318] They were noted for participating in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in defiance of a Warsaw Pact boycott, finishing second in gold medals (20) and third in total medal count (53).

Traditions[edit]

Painted Easter eggs.
Traditional Romanian folk masks, Bucharest.

In addition to the religious aspects, in Romania Easter symbolizes also the rebirth and the renewal of daily life. It is usual on Easter morning, after the return of villagers from churches, for children to go to neighbors' homes, to "bring wishes for luck and wealth" in exchange for a red egg. On Christmas Eve, young people carol their village homes, hosts giving in exchange nuts, sponge cakes, apples, pretzels and other delicacies. The Star boys' singing procession is a very important part of the Romanian Christmas festivity. During the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve, in all villages groups of lads prepare for "bid", a complex system of customs and habits. In the evening, on the eve of the respective year which arises promising, are expected folklore dances/games: "Ursul", "Capra", "Bunghierii", "Căiuții", "Malanca", "Jienii", "Mascații" and others.[319]

Folkloric dance group wearing Romanian traditional costumes in Cluj-Napoca

The Romanian folkloric costumes characterize own attributes of the Romanian people and contribute essentially to the definition of the ethnic specificity. Closely related to the human existence, the folkloric costumes reflect over time, as they reflect nowadays, the mentality and artistic conception of the people. The folkloric costume has been developed along the people's history, being a genuine expression of coherent traditions throughout centuries. Distinct clothing ornamentation, traditional methods used for sewing and tailoring the pieces of clothing, and a wide variety of costumes from one region to another customize the defining spirit of the Romanian people.

For women, one of the most important parts of the celebration costume is a kerchief called "maramă". A "maramă" is made from a special fabric called "borangic", which resembles silk, so that the texture of the material is very nice and soft. An important aspect is its transparency, given by the weaver in which it is made. The "borangic" is obtained from silkworms' cocoons. Every woman grows the silkworms in her own yard, feeding them with mullberry leaves. After approximately 6 weeks, the worms would hide in their cocoons and the person who's in charge of them should move the cocoons into the sun so the worms die and the silk filament can be extracted. Once all the filaments are extracted, they're put into a weaver and one woman starts making the "maramă".[320]

Also, the folklore of Romania is defined by its mythology, branch of folk literature that integrates a variety of ancestral habits, tales, fables and ballads, whose authors are anonymous. The rural character of the Romanian communities resulted in an exceptionally vital and creative traditional culture. So, in the Romanian mythology were conceived fabulous beings, unreal characters endowed with supernatural powers. These include Baba Cloanța, a misshapen and recondite witch, Iele, inconstant virgins endowed with unapproachable ability of seduction and superhuman features, Muma Pădurii, a hag that lives in deep forest, Strigoi, troubled souls of the dead rising from the graves and Făt-Frumos, a Prince-Charm hero that fights the griffons, dragons and witches to liberate his heart chosen, Ileana Cosânzeana.[321]

The words "longing" and "mourning" do have correspondents in other language, but the nonfigurative character remains undecipherable and defines the specificity of the Romanian soul. Doina, characteristic only to the Romanian literary folklore, represents the lyric creation of the Romanian language, the most varied and complex range of feelings, strongly rooted in its spiritual structure. In the Romanian folkloric tradition, "doina" was played mainly orally or accompanied by a single instrument, being the song of elegy, played for self comforting and not intended for festive events because of its sober nature.

Cuisine[edit]

Main article: Romanian cuisine
A popular Romanian dish of stuffed cabbage rolls (sarmale), sprinkled with parsley and cheese
The cozonac is a dessert very appreciated by Romanians, customary in their Christmas meal.

Romanian cuisine is a diverse blend of different dishes from several traditions with which it has come into contact, but it also maintains its own character. It has been greatly influenced by Ottoman cuisine but also includes influences from the cuisines of other neighbours, such as the Greeks (musaca), Bulgarians (zacuscă), Turks (pilaf), and Hungarians (langoși). Quite different types of dishes are sometimes included under a generic term; for example, the category ciorbă includes a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These may be meat and vegetable soups, tripe and calf foot soups, or fish soups, all of which are soured by lemon juice, sauerkraut juice, sour cherry plums, vinegar, or traditionally borș (fermented wheat bran). Popular main courses include mititei, frigărui and the șnițel. One of the most common dishes is mămăliga (similar to the Italian polenta), and is served on its own or as a side dish. Pork and chicken are the preferred meats, but beef, lamb and fish are also popular.

Sarmale are prepared from minced meat (pork, beef, mutton, poultry or fish meat, especially in the Danube Delta), mixed with rice and other aliments (pap, couscous etc.) and wrapped in cabbage (fresh or sour) or vine leaves in the form of rolls. Usually, they are served with polenta and sour cream, but can be served with a spoonful of fresh butter.

The list of desserts includes names like amandine, clătite, chec(cake), cozonac, gogoși, griș cu lapte, lapte de pasăre etc. In the north-western Romania, are prepared so-called ciureghe, gomboți cu prune, pancove, plăcinte crețe, while in north-eastern Romania, the traditional desserts are chec cu vișine, tartă cu mere, alivenci moldovenești.[322]

Țuică is a strong plum brandy that is widely regarded as the country's traditional alcoholic beverage, along with the wine. Romania is the world's second largest plum producer (after the United States)[323] and as much as 75% of Romania's plum production is processed into the famous țuică, a plum brandy obtained through one or more distillation steps reaching (but not limited to) a 70% alcohol concentration (depending on the number of steps of distillation).[324] Alcoholic beverages are also obtained from other fruits (see rachiu, palincă and vișinată).[325]

Wine, however, is the preferred drink, and Romanian wines have a tradition of over three millennia.[325] Romania is currently the world's 9th largest wine producer, and recently[when?] the export market has started to grow.[325] Romania produces a wide selection of domestic varieties (Fetească[disambiguation needed], Grasă, Tamâioasă, Băbească), as well as varieties from across the world (Italian Riesling, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel).

Beer is also highly regarded, like the blonde pilsener beer, the traditional methods of preparation being generally influenced by German wheat beers. There are some Romanian breweries with a long tradition, such as Timișoreana, Ursus and Azuga. Since the 19th century, beer has become increasingly popular, and today Romanians are amongst the heaviest beer drinkers in the world.[326]

Certain recipes are made in direct connection with the season's holidays. At Christmas, each family usually sacrifices a pig and prepares a large variety of dishes from its meat and internal organs, like (cârnați, caltaboși, chiftele, tobă,sarmale tochitura). At Easter, it is customary to sacrifice a lamb, preparing from its meat drob de miel and roast lamb with thyme, as dessert being served pască cu brânză and cozonac cu nucă.[327]

Holidays[edit]

National Day Parade (1 December)

Since 2013, there are 14 non-working holidays.[328] In Romanian language, the consecrate Christian holidays have untranslatable correspondents, such as Rusalii (Pentecost), Dragobete (Valentine's Day) and Florii (Palm Sunday). Nowadays, the National Day of Romania, a legal non-working holiday, is December the 1st, celebrated by military marches and manifestations across the country. It commemorates the 1918 assembly of the delegates of all ethnic Romanians held in Alba Iulia, when the Union of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania was declared upon. During the communist regime, the national day was August the 23rd, marking the 1944 royal coup d'état by King Michael I when he decided about the dismissal and arrest of general Ion Antonescu, Romanian Prime Minister and Leader of the State. On the same day he ordered the immediate cessation of Romania's collaboration with the Axis Powers, the beginning of negotiations for an armistice with the Allies and a military cooperation with the Soviet Union.[329] A certain segment of Romanians, who support the reinstatement of the monarchy, prefers the date of May 10 to be the National Day, as it used to be between 1866–1947. On May 9, 1877, prime minister Kogălniceanu proclaimed the Principality of Romania's independence from the Ottoman Empire, a status recognized by the European powers in the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.[330]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "am scris aceste sfente cǎrți de învățături, sǎ fie popilor rumânesti... sǎ înțeleagǎ toți oamenii cine-s rumâni creștini" "Întrebare creștineascǎ" (1559), Bibliografia româneascǎ veche, IV, 1944, p. 6.
    "...că văzum cum toate limbile au și înfluresc întru cuvintele slǎvite a lui Dumnezeu numai noi românii pre limbă nu avem. Pentru aceia cu mare muncǎ scoasem de limba jidoveascǎ si greceascǎ si srâbeascǎ pre limba româneascǎ 5 cărți ale lui Moisi prorocul si patru cărți și le dăruim voo frați rumâni și le-au scris în cheltuială multǎ... și le-au dăruit voo fraților români,... și le-au scris voo fraților români" Palia de la Orǎștie (1581–1582), București, 1968.
    În Țara Ardealului nu lăcuiesc numai unguri, ce și sași peste seamă de mulți și români peste tot locul..., Grigore Ureche, Letopisețul Țării Moldovei, p. 133–134.
  2. ^ In his well known literary testament Ienăchiță Văcărescu writes: "Urmașilor mei Văcărești!/Las vouă moștenire:/Creșterea limbei românești/Ș-a patriei cinstire."
    In the "Istoria faptelor lui Mavroghene-Vodă și a răzmeriței din timpul lui pe la 1790" a Pitar Hristache writes: "Încep după-a mea ideie/Cu vreo câteva condeie/Povestea mavroghenească/Dela Țara Românească.
  3. ^ In 1816, the Greek scholar Dimitrie Daniel Philippide published in Leipzig his work The History of Romania, followed by The Geography of Romania.
    On the tombstone of Gheorghe Lazăr in Avrig (built in 1823) there is the inscription: "Precum Hristos pe Lazăr din morți a înviat/Așa tu România din somn ai deșteptat."
  4. ^ 2002 census data, based on Population by ethnicity, gave a total of 535,250 Roma in Romania. Many ethnicities not recorded at all, since they do not have ID cards. International sources give higher figures than the official census(UNDP's Regional Bureau for Europe, World Bank, "International Association for Official Statistics" (PDF). Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. [dead link]

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