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Romania

The best hotels in Romania are featured in our Hotels section.
Romanian Currency
Romania Dracula
Romania Geography

This virgin entry into Europe has much to offer every taveller. Rich in history and culture and of course its famed Transylvania region, home of the character Dracula. You can still visit the house where the dreaded 'impaler' lived. Hardly suprising they called him 'Dracu' meaning evil devil. He ruled with fear and lived within a fort, not a castle.

The people are friendly and humble and anxious to learn about European ways making it ideal for tourism or business.

Romania Currency
What is the unit of money in Romania?

Currency in Romania: Romanian New Leu (RON)

The Romanian Leu (plural: lei; ISO 4217 code RON) is the national currency of Romania. One leu is subdivided into 100 bani (singular: ban).

The leu was established in 1880 by the National Bank of Romania / BANCA NAŢIONALĂ A ROMÂNIEI (BNR).

On 1 July 2005, Romania had a currency reform, redenominated its currency; Romania switched from the old leu (ROL) to the new leu (RON). 1 RON = 10,000 ROL.

More about the New Romanian Leu  

Romanian Cities

Bucharest

Bucharest (Romanian: Bucureşti) is the capital city and the commercial centre of Romania. It is located in the southeast of the country, at 44°25′N 26°06′E, and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovita River.
The city was first mentioned in 1459 and became the capital of Romania in 1862. Since then, it has gone through a variety of changes and has become the centre of the Romanian mass media, cultural and arts scene. Its eclectic architecture, which is a mix of historical, Ceausescu-era and modern, also reflects the city's varied history. In the period between the two World Wars, the city's elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite gave Bucharest the nickname of the "Paris of the East" or "Little Paris" Although much of the historic center was damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes and Nicolae Ceausescu's program of systematization, much survived, and in recent years the city is experiencing an economic and cultural boom.

The City of Cluj-Napoca

Cluj-Napoca - The capital city of Transylvania

The city of Cluj-Napoca (Hungarian: Kolozsvár, German: Klausenburg) can trace its origins back to the 2nd century AD, when the Dacian settelement "Napuca" is first mentioned. After the Romans conquered Dacia, they renamed the city "Napoca", which received the rank of "municipium" in 124 AD. The city quickly advanced socially and economically, and during Marcus Aurelius' reign, Napoca received the title "colonia", the highest possible urban status in the Roman Empire.

The City of Iasi

Iasi, the former capital of Moldavia, is is said to have a real vocation for history.
Iasi is the political, economic and cultural centre of Moldavia and one of the oldest cities in Romania. Situated in the North-East of Romania, between the Moldavian Plateau and Jijia Plain, on the River Bahlui, it used to be the crossing place of the most important commercial roads that passed through Moldavia coming from Poland, Hungary, Russia and Constantinopole.
Archaelogical investigations attest the presence of human communities on the present territory of the city and around it as far back as the prehistoric age. But the beginnings of urban life in lasi are to be found in the second half of the 14th century, the name of the city being mentioned for the first time in a document about commercial privilege granted by the Moldavian ruler Alexandru cel Bun to the Polish merchants of Lvov in 1408.

The City of Timisoara

Timisoara is located in the Banat region in western Romania. Known in German as Temschwar and/or Temeschburg and frequently referred to as 'Little Vienna', Timisoara has always been a progressive, cosmopolitan city,facing West rather than East, so it was no surprise that the spark of the Romanian 1989 Revolution was ignited here. Other claims include the first city with trams, the first in continental Europe with electric street lighting and the oldest hydro-electric station in Europe. It is also a very beautiful city with open squares, parks and gardens, elegant boutiques, cafes and and restaurants and a wide variety of architecture, principally baroque, neo-classical and 'art nouveau'. The focal point is the tall orthodox cathedral standing at the end of the main square, Piata Victoriei, overlooking the Bega Canal. The square is lined with impressive late secessionist apartment 'palaces'.

The City of Sibiu

Known in German as Hermannstadt, Sibiu has always been the centre of Romania's German minority since medieval times. Even today, it contains Romania's largest German community, and, due to initiatives by the local government, the Germanic feel of the area has been maintained. Sibiu also has a significant Hungarian minority, remnants of Transylvania's past as part of the Hungarian Empire and, later, Austria-Hungary. Despite this, Sibiu is also distinctly Romanian (95% of the population are ethnic Romanians) and manages to fuse these three cultures, as well as smaller minorities of Roma, Slovaks and Ukrainians into a city that is as wonderful as it is vibrant.

Brasov

Situated in the heart of Romania, the city of Brasov (German: Kronstadt) benefits from the influence of an ancient history.

Much before the discovery of written documents, the archaeologists discovered traces of civilisation going back to the Bronze Age. Therefore the site discovered on Dealul Melcilor became well known in Europe. Other archaeological sites found in different places around Brasov prove that there lived a strong community of native population, mixed later on with Roman colonists developing into the Romanian population.

Constanta

Constanta is located in a region of Romania called Dobrogea (http://www.dobrogea.ro) which is the land between the Danube River to the west and Black Sea to the east. The history of the city goes back to 657 BC when it was the Greek controlled town of Tomis. When Romania became a Province of the Roman Empire in 106 AD the Romans later renamed the city after emperor Constantine who fortified and developed the city from 320 - 350 AD. The city was later destroyed in the 8th century by invading Slavs and Avars and then fell under Byzantine control. In 1418 the Turks had there turn at the region until the mid 1800s when the national state of Romania was created in 1862. Constanta was taken by Romania in 1877 after the Romanian War of Independence.

Demographics of Romania

Ethnicities

According to the 2002 census, Romania has a population of 21,680,974 and, similarly to other countries in the region, is expected to gently decline in the coming years as a result of sub-replacement fertility rates. Romanians make up 89.5% of the population. The largest ethnic minorities are Hungarians, who make up 6.6% of the population and Roma, who make up 2.5% of the population. Hungarians, who are a sizeable minority in Transylvania, constitute a majority in the counties of Harghita and Covasna. Ukrainians, Germans, Russians, Bulgarians, Turks, Tatars, Serbs, Slovaks and Poles, as well as other ethnic groups, account for the remaning 1.4% of the population.[21] The population density of the country as a whole has doubled since 1900 although, in contrast to other central European states, there is still considerable room for further growth. The overall density figures, however, conceal considerable regional variation. Population densities are naturally highest in the towns, with the plains (up to altitudes of some 700 feet) having the next highest density, especially in areas with intensive agriculture or a traditionally high birth rate (e.g., northern Moldavia and the “contact” zone with the Subcarpathians); areas at altitudes of 700 to 2,000 feet, rich in mineral resources, orchards, vineyards, and pastures, support the lowest densities.

Languages

The official language of Romania is Romanian, an Eastern Romance language related to French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Romanian is spoken as a first language by 91% of the population, with Hungarian and Romani being the most important minority languages, spoken by 6.7% and 1.1% of the population, respectively.[21] Until the 1990s, there was also a substantial number of German-speaking Transylvanian Saxons, even though many have since emigrated to Germany, leaving only 45,000 native German speakers in Romania. In localities where a given ethnic minority makes up more than 20% of the population, that minority's language can be used in the public administration and justice system, while native-language education and signage is also provided.

English and French are the main foreign languages taught in schools. English is spoken by 5 million Romanians, French is spoken by 4-5 million, and German, Italian and Spanish are each spoken by 1-2 million people.[22] Historically, French was the predominant foreign language spoken in Romania, even though English has since superseded it. Consequently, Romanian English-speakers tend to be younger than Romanian French-speakers. Romania is, however, a full member of La Francophonie, and hosted the Francophonie Summit in 2006.

Religions

Romania is a secular state, thus having no national religion. The dominant religious body is the Romanian Orthodox Church, its members making up 86.7% of the population according to the 2002 census. Other important religions include Roman Catholicism (4.7%), Protestantism (3.7%), Pentecostal denominations (1.5%) and the Romanian Greek-Catholic Uniate Church (0.9%).[21] Romania also has a small but historically significant Muslim minority, concentrated in Dobrogea, who are mostly of Turkish ethnicity and number 67,500 people. Based on the 2002 census data, there are also 6,179 Jews, 23,105 people who are of no religion and/or atheist, and 11,734 that refused to answer.

National holidays

The Christian holidays of Christmas and (Orthodox) Easter are celebrated (they are official, non-working, holidays). Unlike some other Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Romanian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on 25 December; however, they follow the usual Eastern Orthodox practice for the date of Easter. Other official holidays (non-working) are New Year's Day (January 1), Labour Day (May 1), and the National Day of Romania (December 1, the Union Day). For Christmas and for Labour Day, it is common for businesses to shut down more than a single day.

Minor, but widely observed, holidays include Ma(rt,is,or (March 1), marking the start of spring, and International Women's Day (March 8). Many businesses give women employees the day off for International Women's Day. Some holidays celebrated in the United States or in other parts of Europe have recently been gaining some currency in Romania, for example Valentine's Day (February 14).

Culture

The culture of Romania is rich and varied. Like Romanians themselves, it is fundamentally defined as the meeting point of three regions: Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, but cannot be fully included in any of them.

Literature

The older classics of Romanian literature remain very little known outside Romania. Mihai Eminescu, a famous 19th century Romanian poet is still very much loved in Romania (especially his poems), along with several other "true classics" like George Cos,buc. The revolutionary year 1848 had its echoes in the Romanian principalities and in Transylvania, and a new elite from the middle of the 19th century emerged from the revolutions: Mihail Koga(lniceanu (writer, politician and the first prime minister of Romania), Vasile Alecsandri (politician, playwright and poet), Andrei Mures,anu (publicist and the writer of the current Romanian National Anthem) and Nicolae Ba(lcescu (historian, writer and revolutionary).

Other classic Romanian writers whose works are still widely read in their native country are playwright Ion Luca Caragiale (the National Theatre Bucharest is officially named in his honor) and Ion Creanga( (best known for his children's stories).

The works of composer George Enescu are well-known to Romanians, many of whom consider him their national musician. The symphony orchestra of Bucharest is named in Enescu's honor. One of the most well-regarded modern poets is Nicolae Badilescu, a prominent December Revolutionary leader from Timisoara is renowned for his books that are reflective and very existential in nature.

Romanian literature has recently gained some renown outside the borders of Romania (mostly through translations into German, French and English). Some modern Romanian authors became increasingly popular in Germany, France and Italy, especially Eugen Ionescu, Mircea Eliade, Emil Cioran and Mircea Ca.

Architecture

On the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites there are some of Romania's most unique places such as the Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, the Painted churches of northern Moldavia with their fine exterior and interior frescoes, the Wooden Churches of Maramures unique examples that combine Gothic style with traditional timber construction, the citadel of Sighis,oara and the Dacian Fortresses of the Ora(s,tie Mountains. Also, in 2007, the city of Sibiu will be the European Capital of Culture alongside the city of Luxembourg.

Media and television

Reporters Without Borders ranks Romania 58th in its Worldwide Press Freedom Index, the same level as Poland and Hong-Kong

The public television company Televiziunea Româna( and the public radio Societatea Româna( de Radiodifuziune cover all the country and have also international programs. The state also owns a public news agency ROMPRES. The private media is grouped in media companies such as Intact Media Group, Media Pro, Realitatea Media, Ringier, SBS Broadcasting Group, Centrul Nat,ional Media and other smaller independent companies. Cable television is widely available even in some villages and offers besides the national channels a great number of international and specialized channels. FM stations cover most cities and most of them belong to national radio networks. Overall readership of most newspapers is slowly declining due to increasing competition from television and the Internet. Tabloids and sport newspapers are among the most read national newspapers. In every large city there is at least one local newspaper, which usually covers the rest of the county. An Audit Bureau of Circulations exists since 1998 and a large number of publications are its members.

Sports in Romania

The gymnast Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to score a perfect "ten" in the 1976 Summer Olympics. She also won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze, all at the age of fifteen. Her success continued in the 1980 Summer Olympics, where she was awarded two gold medals and two silver medals.

Ilie Na(stase, the tennis player, is another internationally known Romanian sports star. He won several Grand Slam titles and dozens of other tournaments; he also was a successful doubles player. Romania has also reached the Davis Cup finals three times.

Football is popular in Romania, the most internationally known player being Gheorghe Hagi who played for Steaua Bucures,ti (Romania), Real Madrid, FC Barcelona (Spain) and Galatasaray (Turkey) among others. The Romanian soccer club Steaua Bucures,ti was the first Eastern European club to ever win the prestigious European Champions Cup title (1986).

Though maybe not the force they once were, the Romanian national rugby team has so far competed at every Rugby World Cup.

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