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Monday, April 10, 2017

Travel to Romania "The Place Where History Began"

Romania (România)  is situated in the north of the Balkan Peninsula on the western shores of the Black Sea. It enjoys great natural beauty and diversity and a rich cultural heritage. Romania enchants visitors with its scenic mountain landscapes and unspoiled countryside areas, and also with its historic cities and its busy capital. Over the last decade Romania had undergone a significant development and it is one of the recent members of the European Union. 
Tourists from western countries might still, even today, enjoy some surprising experiences in Romania. This is a large country which can sometimes be shocking with contrasts: some cities are truly Western Europe; some villages can seem to have been brought back from the past. While it has significant cultural similarities with other Balkan states, it is regarded as unique due to its strong Latin heritage. Things for which Romania is famous include: the Carpathian mountains, sculptor Constantin Brancusi, wine, salt mines, George Enescu,
medieval fortresses, Eugene Ionesco, "Dacia" cars, Dracula, stuffed cabbage leaves, Nadia Comaneci, primeval dense forests, the Black Sea, Gheorghe Hagi, sunflower fields, wolves and bears, painted monasteries, the Danube Delta, etc. etc.


With a Black Sea coast to the south-east, it is bordered by Bulgaria to the south, Serbia to the southwest, Hungary to the northwest, Moldova to the northeast and Ukraine in both the north and the east. While its southern regions are usually seen as part of South-east European Balkans, Transylvania, its central and largest region, has a more western-central European look.


History




The Cucuteni culture, is a Neolithic–Eneolithic archaeological culture (c. 5200 to 3500 BC) in Eastern Europe.

It extends from the Carpathian Mountains to the Dniester and Dnieper regions, centered on modern-day Moldova and covering substantial parts of western Ukraine and northeastern Romania, encompassing an area of 350,000 km2(140,000 sq mi)

The majority of Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements consisted of high-density, small settlements (spaced 3 to 4 kilometers apart), concentrated mainly in the Siret, Prut, and Dniester river valleys.During the Middle Trypillia phase (c. 4000 to 3500 BC), populations belonging to the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture built the largest settlements in Neolithic Europe, some of which contained as many as 3,000 structures and were possibly inhabited by 20,000 to 46,000 people.
One of the most notable aspects of this culture was the periodic destruction of settlements, with each single-habitation site having a lifetime of roughly 60 to 80 years. The purpose of burning these settlements is a subject of debate among scholars; some of the settlements were reconstructed several times on top of earlier habitational levels, preserving the shape and the orientation of the older buildings. One particular location, the Poduri site in Romania, revealed thirteen habitation levels that were constructed on top of each other over many years.
In ancient times the territory of present day Romania was inhabited mainly by Dacian tribes, who had aBurebista ruled from his power base in the Carpathian Mountains over a vast territory stretching from Central Europe to the Black Sea. The intriguing network of fortifications and shrines built around the historical Dacian capital Sarmizegetusa, in today's south-western Transylvania, has been relatively well preserved through the ages and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
remarkable, although not very well known, culture. The Dacian kingdom reached its peak in the 1st century BC, when their king Decebal ..
In 106 AD the Dacians were defeated by the Romans, most of their homeland becoming a province of the Roman Empire. Being quite rich in natural resources (including gold, silver, salt, etc.), the region prospered under the Roman administration: cities developed rapidly, imperial roads were built and people from all over the Empire settled there. That's why, despite the fact that Roman administration lasted in Dacia less than 200 years, a population with a distinctive Latin character and language emerged there. Naturally, later on they were influenced by the neighbouring Slavic peoples with whom they were in contact.
In the Early Middle Ages Hungarians began settling in the area today known as Transylvania, which would eventually become after years a part of the Kingdom of Hungary. German Saxons also settled in that area (in several waves), starting from the 12th century. In order to protect themselves from frequent Tartar or Turkish invasions, they set about building fortified cities and castles, many of which remained to this day. South and east of the Carpathians, the two Romanian speaking principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were created in the 14th century. Starting with the 15th century, both of them (and for a while Transylvania too) fell under the domination of the Ottoman Empire.
For a short period in 1600, Michael The Brave (Mihai Viteazul) ruled over all three principalities, thus briefly becoming historically the first de-facto ruler of a unified Romania. The international scene, however, was not ready yet to accept and recognize a unified Romania, thus his union fell a short while later.
A Romanian national revival movement started in Transylvania in the late 1700's and swept across the Carpathians, inspiring the 1859 unification of Moldavia and Wallachia, thus creating modern national Romania. In 1917-1919 Transylvania and Eastern Moldavia (today part of the Republic of Moldova) were united with Romania ("Greater Romania").
"Soviet occupation following World War II led to the formation of a Communist "people's republic" ("R.P.R") in 1947 and the abdication of the king. Between 1947 and 1965, Romania was led by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej with a pro-Soviet stance throughout most of his administration. In 1965, he was succeeded by Nicolae Ceauşescu who was less enthusiastic towards the Soviet Union and maintained a more neutral foreign policy than his predecessor alongside a harsh internal terror regime. During the 1980s, his notorious Securitate secret police became a strong force. The leader was overthrown and executed in late 1989."(CIA World Factbook). Former Communists, regrouped around the Front of National Salvation and the Romanian Party for Social Democracy dominated the government until the 1996 elections, when they were swept from power by a fractious coalition of centrist parties, after failed reforms were replaced by the Social Democratic Party. Both groups attempted to amend ties with Hungary, which were deeply fractured back in the 1980s, when Ceausescu either encouraged the large Hungarian community to leave the country or exiled them outright (5.000 Hungarians left Romania anually). 

When the economic, social and political development is concerned Romania is doing well in comparison to other countries in the Western Balkans region and other surrounding countries in Eastern Europe such as Ukraine and Moldova. However when compared to Western Europe, Romania still has some ways to go to reach that level of development that is enjoyed by the Western Europeans. However Romania's membership in the European Union will help in closing the gap in the years to come.






Regions


Transylvania
It is the most famous region of Romania, a land of medieval castles and towns, dark forests, snowy peaks (especially those in Transylvanian Alps). At the same time a region experiencing rapid economical development, with modern youthful cities, huge shopping centers, massive infrastructure projects etc.
Banat
This western-most province is probably the most economically developed in Romania. It has beautiful baroque cities and traditional German villages in the western plains and huge mountain forests in the eastern parts.
Oltenia
The south-western region, with impressive monasteries, caves and health resorts along the mountains in its northern part and a bizarre desert-like area in the south.
Southern Bukovina
This north-eastern region is famous for its Painted Monasteries, tucked away between picturesque rolling hills.
Maramureş
The northern-most region, it's best known for its timeless villages, traditional wooden churches and beautiful mountain landscape.
Crişana
Located along the border with Hungary, this western region is the entry point for most travelers into Romania, who often neglect its Central-European style cities, numerous medieval sites and resorts on the western side of the Apuseni mountains.
Dobrogea
A seaside province dotted by ruins of ancient Greek and Roman cities, with various summer resorts along the Black Sea Coast and the unspoiled natural landscape of the Danube Delta and the Black Sea lagoons (all of which are Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO World Heritage Sites) in the region's north. Also very ethnically diverse region with many small minority groups.
Moldavia
Certainly one of the most extraordinary regions in Romania, it offers a pleasant blend of historical cities, medieval fortresses, churches, wine and friendly locals.
Muntenia
Also known as Wallachia. The capital, Bucharest, is in this southern region, as well as the early residences of the Wallachian princes and the mountain resorts on the Prahova Valley. It is also the name of the old kingdom of leaders such as the notorious Vlad Ţepeş (The Impaler).



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Cities

  • Bucharest — the capital of Romania, in which megalomanic monuments, including "House of the
    People" (now the Palace of Parliament), built during Ceauşescu's regime, overlook medieval and later neo-classical neighbourhoods.
  • Brașov — located in south-eastern Transylvania, its main attractions are the well kept medieval downtown, the nearby luxury resort of Poiana Braşov and the proximity to Rasnov and the Bran ("Dracula's") Castle.
  • Cluj-Napoca — the largest town in Transylvania, is a major economic center and a youthful city, housing one of the largest universities in Europe.
  • Constanţa — Romania's main Black Sea port and one of the major commercial hubs in the region. The northernmost Litoral district, Mamaia, is thought to be one of the best Black Sea resorts.

  • Iaşi — in Moldavia, the second largest Romanian city, once the historic capital of the Moldavian principality until 1861, and for some time capital of Romania. Today it is one of the major economic and cultural centres in the country.
  • Sibiu — one of the most beautiful cities in Transylvania, it has the best preserved historical sites in the country, many museums and exhibitions, proximity to the stunning Făgăraş mountains, for which reasons it became the 2007 European Capital of Culture.
  • Sighişoara — the city's downtown area, the Sighisoara Citadel, is the last inhabited medieval citadel in Europe and one of the best historical monuments preserved nowdays. 
  • Suceava — the main city in Bukovina and the medieval capital of the Moldavian principality; it can be the starting point for visiting the famous painted Monasteries in the region.
  • Timişoara — the largest town in the Banat region, it is one of the most prosperous and modernized cities in Romania; it was there that the 1989 Romanian anti-communist revolution began.
  • Oradea — a beautiful city, situated in the north-west of Romania, at about 10 kilometers from the western Romanian border. Capital of the Crisana region, it has a long and rich history, being mentioned for the first time in a document in the year 1113. Oradea is rich in beautiful buldings and historical sites, featuring a mixture of architectural styles: baroque, rococo, and Renaissance. It is indeed a place to visit.  
  • Craiova — the 6th largest city in Romania, located near the east bank of the river Jiu in central Oltenia at approximately equal distances from the Southern Carpathians (north) and the River Danube (south). It is a longstanding political center, being formerly the capital of Oltenia.
  • Ploiesti — the 9th largest city in Romania,located at 60 km north of Bucharest. It is recognized as the center of the Romanian oil industry - has four refineries and numerous companies operating in industries related to this branch.








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