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Travel destination Romania
On 1 January 2007 Romania became a full member of the European Union. However, although numerous of Romania’s traditions date back to the times of the Roman Empire, for many fellow-Europeans this country is still a blank spot on the map.
So as a travel destination Romania is a secret worth discovering. Unfortunately Romania is often linked with prejudices concerning safety and the standard of living, but once you have enjoyed Romanian hospitality you will definitely come back for more!
Here are some basic data:
Romania covers 237,500 sq km with less than 22 million inhabitants. Not all of the inhabitants are Romanian, the country grants rights to 19 ethnic minorities, among them Gypsies, Hungarians, Germans, Greeks, Lipovani, Turks and others. This ethnic diversity, their traditions and lifestyle which for centuries have left their marks in the regions of the country, makes Romania one of the most fascinating destinations in Europe.
Looking at a map, Romania is easily identified through the Carpathian mountains, which form the shape of a horse-shoe. This 900 km long mountain range coming from the north-east stretching to the south-west is not only a geographical borderline but was also – for many centuries – a political border: Transylvania belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire, Wallachia and Moldavia made the Kingdom of Romania in 1866. Since 1920 Transylvania and Romania have been united.
Transylvania is renowned for its Saxon villages with their mighty fortified churches, hidden in villages in the sun-flooded hills where good wines grow. The mountains offer splendid hiking and skiing opportunities. The Transylvanian cities of Brasov and Cluj offer unique treasures of history and Sibiu is cultural capital of Europe in 2007 with the motto: Young since 1191 – a cultural city and city of cultures!
South of the Carpathian mountains in the wide plains lies Bucharest, Romania’s capital city. In the south-east the river Danube forms a mighty natural delta before entering the Black Sea. This delta really is unique in Europe and a birds’ paradise! You cannot imagine the number and diversity of birds breeding here if you haven’t seen them with your own eyes.
In the north-west of Romania lies Maramures, where wood is the main resource and is of course the basis for many works of art such as churches or gates with artistic carvings. The people of Maramures are very proud of their national costumes which are still part of their daily life.
Bucovina in the north is famous for its painted monasteries. Some of them are listed as cultural world heritage sites by UNESCO.
Romania enjoys a continental climate with warm summers and cold snowy winters. Rainfall is usually quite low except in the mountains. Although temperatures can drop under –25°C in winter, you do not feel the cold as it is very dry. If you want to know more, look up the weather for Brasov or Zarnesti in the internet under www.accu-weather.com
Passports and visas:
As general rule all non-EU nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for the duration of your stay. However there a a lot of changes right now, therefore for the latest news please visit Travcour on their website: www.travcour.com
Romania – Transylvania – Europe
Romania belongs to the European countries which has been experiencing tremendous economic and social changes since the end of the communist regime in December 1989. The western mass media have been pointing out a number of the negative sides of the old regime, such as orphanages, corruption or the poverty of the peasants. However, the country possesses great values in natural resources, which make it unique and which may be the wealth for coming generations.
Anyway, Romania is a country with many faces and a long history with tight bonds to western Europe.
About 200 years, the province of Dacia was part of the Roman empire. Still today you find in all towns and cities a sculpture showing the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, fed by the she-wolf. The poet Ovidius was banished to Histra, the summer sea-side resort of the Romans. But also after 271 AC, when the Romans retreated beyond the river Danube, there were lots of links and relationships to western Europe. Almost all tribes, migrating from farther east passed through the territory of today’s Romania. One example are the Hunnes (or Magyars) who settled on the Pannonian plains from where they returned around 900 AC to conquer Transylvania (the land beyond the forests).
In the 12th century the Hungarian kings recruited German-speaking settlers living along the river Moselle, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Some of these settlers followed the soldiers of the crusades. The settlers who arrived safely in Transylvania developed flourishing communities in a very short time, busy merchant towns like Brasov or Cluj and quiet administrative centres like Sibiu. 2007 Sibiu and Luxembourg are twinned als cultural capitals of Europe which is a symbol for the lasting bond with western Europe.
Also during the times of the Otoman Empire Transylvania was able to maintain its independence as dukedom, whereas the Romanian dukedoms Moldavia and Walachia became dependent on the Turks. Finally, since the collapse of the Otoman Empire till 1918 Transylvania was ruled through the Habsburg monarchy.
In 1862 the Romanian dukedoms Moldovia and Walachia united and established the first Romanian state. The German prince Karl was appointed king, in 1878 he was recognized internationally as the debt collector King Carol I. The defeat of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the first world war led to the establishment of a greater Romanian state in 1920. Romania grew from 120 000 km² to 295 000 km²,when Bassarabia, Bucovina, Banat and Transylvania became part of Romania.
The time in between the two world wars is marked through political turmoil.
From 1941 – 1944 Romania was allied with Germany against Russia, on 23 August 1944 King Mihai changed sides and declared war with Germany. As a consequence of this policy 70 000 members of the German minority in Romania were deported to Russia.
From 1947 – 1989 Romania was ruled as a socialist peoples’ republic. In the last days of December 1989 the population rose up in revolt against its leaders and the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was executed together with his wife Elena after a short trial.
The first democratic government was elected in May 1990, all political leaders in this government had already been leading party members under Ceausescu.
Since 2004 the country has been governed by a coalition of liberals, humanists and the Hungarian party under president Traian Basescu. Also in 2004 Romania has become a NATO member and since January 1, 2007 the country has gained full membership of the European Union.

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