President Ceausescu’s gigantic parliamentary palace, Bucharest

Romania, Land of Count Dracula - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 20th September 2009

Where Does the Name Romania Come From?

  • The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.”

A (Very) Brief History of Romania

  • The earliest Homo sapiens fossils, up to now, were discovered in 2002 in southwestern Romania, in the Cave of Bones. The fossil’s age is estimated at 37,800 to 42,000 years old.
  • The Romanian language is 1,700 years old.
  • Modern Romania was formed in 1859 through the union of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. At the end of World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia were incorporated into the Kingdom of Romania.
  • During World War II, Romania was an ally of Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union, until 1944, when it joined the Allied powers and later faced occupation by the Red Army forces. Following the war, Romania became a socialist republic until the 1989 Revolution.

Facts and Factoids

  • The first ever perfect 10, awarded in the Olympic Games, went to Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, for her performance on the uneven bars, in Montreal, Canada in 1976.
  • Bucharest’s vast Palace of the Parliament, begun during the final years of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s rule and not finished until 1997 (seven years after his death), is the world's heaviest building (and the second largest after the Pentagon..
  • Romania is inextricably linked with Count Dracula, created by Irish author Bram Stoker. But it's a tenuous link, supposdedly based on infamous ruler Vlad the Impaler. (Read more here.)

Is Romania a Poor Country?

  • Romania is a developing country and one of the poorest in the European Union.
  • 45 percent of Romania's population lives in rural areas and 70 percent of this population lives in poverty. 

Is Romania Safe to Visit?

  • Romania is considered to be a relatively safe country to visit, but there are warnings about pickpockets and road accidents.
  • The roads are not in great condition.

What are the Highlights of Romania?

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