Romania

Coordinates: 46°N 25°E / 46°N 25°E / 46; 25

Romania

România   (Romanian)
Anthem: " Deșteaptă-te, române!"
(English: "Awaken thee, Romanian!")
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Location of  Romania  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  –  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Bucharest
44°25′N 26°06′E / 44.417°N 26.100°E / 44.417; 26.100
Official languages Romanian[1]
Recognised minority
languages[2]
Ethnic groups
(2011 [3])
Demonym(s) Romanian
Government Unitary semi-presidential
republic
•  President
Klaus Iohannis
Viorica Dăncilă
Legislature Parliament
•  Upper house
Senate
•  Lower house
Chamber of Deputies
Establishment history
• First Romanian polities
10th century – 1330
1330
1346
1570
• First common rule under Michael the Brave
1600
24 January 1859
•  Independence from
the Ottoman Empire
9 May 1877 / 1878b
14 March 1881
•  Greater Romania c
1918 / 1920d
Area
• Total
238,397 km2 (92,046 sq mi) (81st)
• Water (%)
3
Population
• 2017 estimate
19,638,000 Decrease[4] (59th)
• 2011 census
20,121,641[3] (58th)
• Density
84.4/km2 (218.6/sq mi) (117th)
GDP (PPP) 2019 estimate
• Total
$547 billion[5] (42nd)
• Per capita
$28,189[5] ( 55th)
GDP (nominal) 2019 estimate
• Total
$265 billion[5] (49th)
• Per capita
$13,664[5] ( 62nd)
Gini (2015) Positive decrease 35.9[6]
medium
HDI (2017) Increase 0.811[7]
very high · 52nd
Currency Romanian Leu (RON)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
• Summer ( DST)
UTC+3 (EEST)
Date format dd.mm.yyyy (AD)
Driving side right
Calling code +40
Patron saint Saint Andrew
ISO 3166 code RO
Internet TLD .roe
  1. The double election of Alexandru Ioan Cuza in Moldavia and Wallachia (respectively, 5 and 24 January 1859).
  2. Independence proclaimed on 9 May 1877, internationally recognized in 1878.
  3. Romania in the interwar period, following the proclamation of the union in 1918 inlcuding Bessarabia, Bukovina, Transylvania, parts of Banat, Crișana and Maramureș, established after the Paris Peace Conference closing World War I in 1920.
  4. Monarchy was abolished on 30 December 1947 upon the proclamation of the People's Republic and was changed with the new constitution upon its adoption on 21 August 1965 as the Socialist Republic. The Communist regime fell on 22 December 1989, the new democratic government was installed on 20 May 1990 and the new post-communist constitution was adopted on 21 November 1991. Romania joined the European Union on 1 January 2007.
  5. Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.

Romania (/rˈmniə/ (About this soundlisten) ro-MAY-nee-ə; Romanian: România [romɨˈni.a] (About this soundlisten)) is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

The River Danube, Europe's second-longest river, rises in Germany's Black Forest and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km (1,775 mi), coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romania's Danube Delta. The Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest, include Moldoveanu Peak, at an altitude of 2,544 m (8,346 ft).[8]

Modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. Following World War I, when Romania fought on the side of the Allied powers, Bukovina, Bessarabia, Transylvania as well as parts of Banat, Crișana, and Maramureș became part of the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. In June–August 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and Second Vienna Award, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, and Northern Transylvania to Hungary. In November 1940, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and, consequently, in June 1941 entered World War II on the Axis side, fighting against the Soviet Union until August 1944, when it joined the Allies and recovered Northern Transylvania. Following the war, under the occupation of the Red Army's forces, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition back towards democracy and a market economy.

The sovereign state of Romania is a developing country[9][10] and ranks 52nd in the Human Development Index.[11] It has the world's 47th largest economy by nominal GDP and an annual economic growth rate of 7% (2017), the highest in the EU at the time.[12] Following rapid economic growth in the early 2000s, Romania has an economy predominantly based on services, and is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy, featuring companies like Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, part of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. An overwhelming majority of the population identifies themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are native speakers of Romanian, a Romance language.

Etymology

Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning "citizen of Rome".[13] The first known use of the appellation was attested to in the 16th century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia.[14][15][16][17]

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

The oldest known surviving document written in Romanian, a 1521 letter known as the "Letter of Neacșu from Câmpulung",[18] is also notable for including the first documented occurrence of the country's name: Wallachia is mentioned as Țeara Rumânească (old spelling for "The Romanian Land"; țeara from the Latin terra, "land"; current spelling: Țara Românească).

Two spelling forms: român and rumân were used interchangeably[a] 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.[19] After the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the word rumân gradually fell out of use and the spelling stabilised to the form român.[b] Tudor Vladimirescu, a revolutionary leader of the early 19th century, used the term Rumânia to refer exclusively to the principality of Wallachia."[20]

The use of the name Romania to refer to the common homeland of all Romanians—its modern-day meaning—was first documented in the early 19th century.[c] The name has been officially in use since 11 December 1861.[21]

In English, the name of the country was formerly spelt Rumania or Roumania.[22] Romania became the predominant spelling around 1975.[23] Romania is also the official English-language spelling used by the Romanian government.[24] A handful of other languages (including Italian, Hungarian, Portuguese, and Norwegian) have also switched to "o" like English, but most languages continue to prefer forms with u, e.g. French Roumanie, German and Swedish Rumänien, Spanish Rumania (the archaic form Rumanía is still in use in Spain), Polish Rumunia, Russian Румыния (Rumyniya), and Japanese ルーマニア (Rūmania).

Official names

History

Prehistory and antiquity

A partially reconstructed skull
Skull from the " Cave with Bones" (the oldest known remains of Homo sapiens in Europe).

Human remains found in Peștera cu Oase ("Cave with Bones"), radiocarbon dated as being from circa 40,000 years ago, represent the oldest known Homo sapiens in Europe.[25] Neolithic techniques and agriculture spread after the arrival of a mixed group of people from Thessaly in the 6th millenium BC.[26][27] Excavations near a salt spring at Lunca yielded the earliest evidence for salt exploitation in Europe; here the production of salt started between 6050 and 5900 BC.[28] The first permanent settlements also appeared in the Neolithic.[29] Some of them developed into "proto-cities",[29] which were larger than 800 acres (3.2 km2).[30][31] The Cucuteni–Trypillia culture—the best known archaeological culture of Old Europe—flourished in Muntenia, southeastern Transylvania and northeastern Moldavia in the 3rd millenium BC.[31] The first fortified settlements appeared around 1800 BC, showing the militant character of Bronze Age societies.[31]

The territorial extent of the Kingdom of Dacia during Burebista's reign (c. 40s BC.)
Remains of circular buildings in a glade
Ruins of sanctuaries at Sarmizegetusa Regia (Dacia's capital during the reigns of Burebista and Decebalus).

Greek colonies established on the Black Sea coast in the 7th century BC became important centers of commerce with the local tribes.[32][33] Among the native peoples, Herodotus listed the Getae of the Lower Danube region, the Agathyrsi of Transylvania and the Syginnae of the plains along the river Tisza at the beginning of the 5th century BC.[34] Centuries later, Strabo associated the Getae with the Dacians who dominated the lands along the southern Carpathian Mountains in the 1st century BC.[35] Burebista was the first Dacian ruler to unite the local tribes.[35][36] He also conquered the Greek colonies in Dobruja and the neighboring peoples as far as the Middle Danube and the Balkan Mountains between around 55 and 44 BC.[35][37] After Burebista was murdered in 44 BC, his empire collapsed.[35][38]

The Romans reached Dacia during Burebista's reign and conquered Dobruja in 46 AD.[38] Dacia was again united under Decebalus around 85.[35][39] He resisted the Romans for decades, but the Roman army annihilated his troops in 106.[40] Emperor Trajan transformed Banat, Oltenia and the greater part of Transylvania into the new Roman province of Dacia, but Dacian, Germanic and Sarmatian tribes continued to dominate the lands along the Roman frontiers.[41][42] The Romans pursued an organized colonization policy and the provincials enjoyed a long period of peace and prosperity in the 2nd century.[43][44] Scholars accepting the Daco-Roman continuity theory—one of the main theories about the origin of the Romanians—say that the cohabitation of the native Dacians and the Roman colonists in Roman Dacia was the first phase of the Romanians' ethnogenesis.[45][46]

Ruins of a building made of stones and bricks
Ruins of the amphitheatre at Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa (the capital of Roman Dacia).

The Carpians, Goths and other neighboring tribes made regular raids against Dacia from the 210s.[47] The Romans could not resist and Emperor Aurelian ordered the evacuation of the province Dacia Trajana in 271.[48] Scholars supporting the continuity theory are convinced that most Latin-speaking commoners stayed behind when the army and civil administration was withdrawn.[49] The Romans did not abandon their fortresses along the northern banks of the Lower Danube for decades, and Dobruja (known as Scythia Minor) remained an integral part of the Roman Empire until the early 7th century.[45][50]

Middle Ages

During the Long Turkish War, Wallachian Prince Michael the Brave (portrayed to the right) briefly reigned over the three medieval principalities of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania, covering most of present-day territory of Romania.

Subsequently, as the High Middle Ages came to an end and the Late Middle Ages began, many small Romanian-speaking states with varying degrees of independence developed, but only under the reigns of Basarab I and Bogdan I the larger principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia would emerge in the 14th century.[51][52]

Under Radu I and his successor Dan I, the realms in Transylvania and Severin continued to be disputed with Hungary,[53] while Wallachia and Moldavia remained largely independent from the Kingdom of Hungary, yet soon enough being forced to withstand the Ottoman threat from the east.[54][55]

Moldavian Prince Stephen the Great was designated ' Athleta Christi' by Pope Sixtus IV for his victories over the Ottoman Empire.

By 1541, the entire Balkan peninsula and most of the high medieval Hungarian Kingdom had already been conquered and integrated into the Ottoman Empire. In stark contrast, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania, while still under Ottoman suzerainty, preserved partial or full internal autonomy way until the mid-19th century (Transylvania until 1711[56]). This period featured several prominent rulers such as: Stephen the Great, Vasile Lupu, Alexander the Good and Dimitrie Cantemir in Moldavia; Vlad the Impaler, Mircea the Elder, Matei Basarab, Neagoe Basarab and Constantin Brâncoveanu in Wallachia; and Gabriel Bethlen in the Grand Principality of Transylvania, as well as John Hunyadi and Matthias Corvinus in Transylvania, while it was still a part of the Kingdom of Hungary.[57][58]

In 1600, all three principalities were ruled simultaneously by the Wallachian prince Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul), who was considered, later on, the precursor of modern Romania and became a point of reference for nationalists, as well as a catalyst for achieving a single Romanian state.[59]

Independence and monarchy

Changes in Romania's territory since 1859.
Alexandru Ioan Cuza was the first Domnitor (i.e. Prince) of Romania (at that time the United Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia) between 1862 and 1866.

During the period of the Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania and of Ottoman suzerainty over Wallachia and Moldavia, most Romanians were given few rights[60] in a territory where they formed the majority of the population.[61][62] Nationalistic themes became principal during the Wallachian uprising of 1821, and the 1848 revolutions in Wallachia and 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"),[63] while Romanian students in Paris hailed the new government with the same flag "as a symbol of union between Moldavians and Wallachians".[64][65] The same flag, with the tricolour being mounted vertically, would later be officially adopted as the national flag of Romania.[66]

After the failed 1848 revolutions not all the Great Powers supported the Romanians' expressed desire to officially unite in a single state.[67] But in the aftermath of the Crimean War, the electors in both Moldavia and Wallachia voted in 1859 for the same leader, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, as Domnitor ("ruling prince" in Romanian), and the two principalities became a personal union formally under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.[68] Following a coup d'état in 1866, Cuza was exiled and replaced with Prince Carol I of Romania of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. During the 1877–1878 Russo-Turkish War Romania fought on the Russian side,[69] and in the aftermath, it was recognized as an independent state both by the Ottoman Empire and the Great Powers by the Treaty of San Stefano and the Treaty of Berlin.[70][71] The new Kingdom of Romania underwent a period of stability and progress until 1914, and also acquired Southern Dobruja from Bulgaria after the Second Balkan War.[72]

World Wars and Greater Romania

Late 19th century ethnic map of Central Europe depicting predominantly Romanian-inhabited territories in blue. Hungarians are marked in yellow and Germans in pink.
A 1917 British map showing territories with majority Romanian populations marked in black and surrounding enclaves of German-speaking minorities in red.

Romania remained neutral for the first two years of World War I. Following the secret Treaty of Bucharest, according to which Romania would acquire territories with a majority of Romanian population from Austria-Hungary, it joined the Entente Powers and declared war on 27 August 1916.[73] After initial advances the Romanian military campaign quickly turned disastrous for Romania as the Central Powers occupied two-thirds of the country within months, before reaching a stalemate in 1917. The October Revolution and Russian withdrawal from the War left Romania alone and surrounded, and a cease fire was negotiated at Focșani that December.

King Carol I of Romania with his nephew Ferdinand I of Romania and great nephew Carol II of Romania.

Romania was occupied and a harsh peace treaty was signed in May 1918. In November, Romania reentered the conflict. Total military and civilian losses from 1916 to 1918, within contemporary borders, were estimated at 748,000.[74] After the war, the transfer of Bukovina from Austria was acknowledged by the 1919 Treaty of Saint Germain,[75] Transylvania and parts of Banat, Crișana and Maramureș from Hungary by the 1920 Treaty of Trianon,[76] and of Bessarabia from Russian rule by the 1920 Treaty of Paris.[77] All cessions made to the Central Powers in the ceasefire and treaty were nullified and renounced.[78]

The following interwar period is referred as Greater Romania, as the country achieved its greatest territorial extent at that time (almost 300,000 km2 or 120,000 sq mi).[79] Radical agricultural reforms, and a new constitution creating a democracy, allowed rapid economic growth. With oil production of 7.2 million tons in 1937, Romania ranked second in Europe and seventh in the world.[80][81] and was Europe's second-largest food producer.[82] However, the early 1930s were marked by social unrest, high unemployment, and strikes, and there were over 25 governments in the course of the decade.[citation needed] On several occasions in the last few years before World War II, the democratic parties were squeezed between conflicts with the fascist and chauvinistic Iron Guard and the authoritarian tendencies of King Carol II.[83]

Romania's territorial losses in the summer of 1940. Of these territories, only Northern Transylvania was regained after the end of World War II.

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.[84] Again foreign powers created heavy pressure on Romania, by means of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of non-aggression from 23 August 1939. As a result of it the Romanian government and the army were forced to retreat from Bessarabia as well as from northern Bukovina in order to avoid war with the Soviet Union.[85] The king was compelled to abdicate and appointed general Ion Antonescu as the new prime minister with full powers in ruling the state by royal decree.[86] Romania was prompted 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.[87]

American B-24 Liberator flying over a burning oil refinery at Ploiești, as part of Operation Tidal Wave on 1 August 1943. Due to its role as a major supplier of oil to the Axis, Romania was a prime target of Allied strategic bombing in 1943 and 1944.

The Antonescu fascist regime played a major role in The Holocaust in Romania,[88][89] and copied the Nazi policies of oppression and genocide of Jews and Roma, mainly in the Eastern territories reoccupied by the Romanians from the Soviet Union. In total between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews in Romania (including Bessarabia, Bukovina and the Transnistria Governorate) were killed during the war[90][91] and at least 11,000 Romanian Gypsies ("Roma") were also killed.[92] In August 1944, a coup d'état led by King Michael toppled Ion Antonescu and his regime. Antonescu was convicted of war crimes and executed on 1 June 1946.[93] 9 October is now the National Day of Commemorating the Holocaust in Romania.[94]

During the Antonescu fascist regime, Romanian contribution to Operation Barbarossa was enormous, with the Romanian Army of over 1.2 million men in the summer of 1941, fighting in numbers second only to Nazi Germany.[95] Romania was the main source of oil for the Third Reich,[96] and thus became the target of intense bombing by the Allies. Growing discontent among the population eventually peaked in August 1944 with King Michael's Coup, and the country switched sides to join the Allies. It is estimated that the coup shortened the war by as much as six months.[97] Even though the Romanian Army had suffered 170,000 casualties after switching sides,[98] Romania's role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris Peace Conference of 1947,[99] as the Soviet Union annexed Bessarabia and other territories corresponding roughly to present-day Republic of Moldova, and Bulgaria retained Southern Dobruja, but Romania did regain Northern Transylvania from Hungary.

Communism

King Michael I of Romania was forced to abdicate during the last days of December, 1947 by the Communists, concomitantly with the Soviet occupation of the country.

During the Soviet occupation of Romania, the Communist-dominated government called for new elections in 1946, which were fraudulently won, with a fabricated 70% majority of the vote.[100] Thus, they rapidly established themselves as the dominant political force.[101] Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, a Communist party leader imprisoned in 1933, escaped in 1944 to become Romania's first Communist leader. In 1947 he and others forced King Michael I to abdicate and leave the country, and proclaimed Romania a people's republic.[102][103] 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.[104][105][106]

In 1948, the state began to nationalize private firms and to collectivize agriculture.[107] Until the early 1960s, the government severely curtailed political liberties and vigorously suppressed any dissent with the help of the Securitate (the Romanian secret police). During this period the regime launched several campaigns of purges in which numerous "enemies of the state" and "parasite elements" were targeted for different forms of punishment, such as deportation, internal exile, and internment in forced labour camps and prisons, sometimes for life, as well as extrajudicial killing.[108] Nevertheless, anti-Communist resistance was one of the most long-lasting in the Eastern Bloc.[109] A 2006 Commission estimated the number of direct victims of the Communist repression at two million people.[110]

Nicolae Ceaușescu ruled Romania as its Communist leader from 1965 until 1989.

In 1965, Nicolae Ceaușescu came to power and started to conduct the foreign policy more independently from the Soviet Union. Thus, Communist Romania was the only Warsaw Pact country which refused to participate in the Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia (with Ceaușescu at the time even publicly condemning the action as "a big mistake, [and] a serious danger to peace in Europe and to the fate of Communism in the world"[111]); it was also the only Communist state to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel after 1967's Six-Day War; and established diplomatic relations with West Germany the same year.[112] 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.[113]

The Romanian Revolution of 1989 was one of the few violent revolutions in the Iron Curtain that brought an end to Communist rule.

As Romania's foreign debt sharply increased between 1977 and 1981 (from US$3 billion to $10 billion),[114] the influence of international financial organizations (such as the IMF and the World Bank) grew, gradually conflicting with Ceaușescu's autocratic rule. The latter eventually initiated a policy of total reimbursement of the foreign debt by imposing austerity steps that impoverished the population and exhausted the economy. The process succeeded in repaying all foreign government debt of Romania in 1989. At the same time, Ceaușescu greatly extended the authority of the Securitate secret police and imposed a severe cult of personality, which led to a dramatic decrease in the dictator's popularity and culminated in his overthrow and eventual execution, together with his wife, in the violent Romanian Revolution of December 1989 in which thousands were killed or injured. The charges for which they were executed were, among others, genocide by starvation.

Contemporary period

Anti-Communist rally in Bucharest (early 1990)

After the 1989 revolution, the National Salvation Front (NSF), led by Ion Iliescu, took partial multi-party democratic and free market measures.[115][116] In April 1990, a sit-in protest contesting the results of that year's legislative elections and accusing the NSF, including Iliescu, of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate — rapidly grew to become what was called the Golaniad. The peaceful demonstrations degenerated into violence, prompting the intervention of coal miners summoned by Iliescu. This episode has been documented widely by both local[117] and foreign media,[118] and is remembered as the June 1990 Mineriad.[119][120]

The subsequent disintegration of the Front produced several political parties, including most notably the Social Democratic Party and the Democratic Party. 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 other democratic changes of government: in 1996 Emil Constantinescu was elected president, in 2000 Iliescu returned to power, while Traian Băsescu was elected in 2004 and narrowly re-elected in 2009.[121]

In November 2014, Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt) mayor Klaus Johannis was elected president, unexpectedly defeating former Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who had been in the lead in the opinion polls. This surprise victory is attributed by many to the Romanian diaspora, of which almost 50 percent voted for Iohannis in the first tour, compared to 16 percent for Ponta.[122]

Romania has seen large waves of protests against judicial reforms during the 2017–2018 Romanian protests.

The post-1989 period is also characterized by the fact that most of the former industrial and economic enterprises which were built and operated during the Communist period have been closed, mainly as a result of the policies of privatization of the post-1989 regimes.[123]

Corruption has also been a major issue in contemporary Romanian politics.[124][125][126][127] In November 2015, massive anti-corruption protests which developed in the wake of the Colectiv nightclub fire led to the resignation of Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta.[128] During 2017–2018, in response to measures which were perceived to weaken the fight against corruption, some of the biggest protests since 1989 took place in Romania, with over 500,000 people protesting across the country.[129][130]

Nevertheless, in recent years, many efforts have been made to tackle corruption. A National Anticorruption Directorate was formed in the country in 2002, and according to Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index, Romania is now less corrupt than Italy or Greece (and equals neighbouring Hungary).[131]

NATO and EU integration

Romania joined the European Union in 2007 and signed the Treaty of Lisbon.

After the end of 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.[132]

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.[133]

During the 2000s, Romania enjoyed one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe and has been referred at times as "the Tiger of Eastern Europe".[134] This has been accompanied by a significant improvement in living standards as the country successfully reduced internal poverty and established a functional democratic state.[135][136] However, Romania's development suffered a major setback during the late-2000s recession leading to a large gross domestic product contraction and budget deficit in 2009.[137] This led to Romania borrowing from the International Monetary Fund.[138] The worsening economic conditions led to unrest and triggered a political crisis in 2012.[139]

Romania joined NATO in 2004 and hosted its 2008 summit in Bucharest.

Romania still faces problems related to infrastructure,[140] medical services,[141] education,[142] and corruption.[143] Near the end of 2013, The Economist reported Romania again enjoying 'booming' economic growth at 4.1% that year, with wages rising fast and a lower unemployment than in Britain. Economic growth accelerated in the midst of government liberalisations in opening up new sectors to competition and investment—most notably, energy and telecoms.[144] In 2016 the Human Development Index ranked Romania as a nation of "Very High Human Development".[145]

Following the experience of economic instability throughout the 1990s, and the implementation of a free travel agreement with the EU, a great number of Romanians emigrated to Western Europe and North America, with particularly large communities in Italy and Spain. In 2008, the Romanian diaspora was estimated to be at over two million people.[146]

Geography and climate

Topographic map of Romania

With an area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the largest country in Southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe.[147]:17 It lies between latitudes 43° and 49° N and longitudes 20° and 30° E.

The terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountains, hills, and plains.

The Carpathian Mountains dominate the centre of Romania, with 14 mountain ranges reaching above 2,000 m or 6,600 ft, the highest of which is Moldoveanu Peak at 2,544 m or 8,346 ft.[147]:11 They are surrounded by the Moldavian and Transylvanian plateaus and Carpathian Basin and Wallachian plains.

About 47% of the country's land area is covered with natural and semi-natural ecosystems.[148] 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.[149]

The Danube river forms a large part of the border with Serbia and Bulgaria, and flows into the Black Sea, forming the Danube Delta, which is the second-largest and best-preserved delta in Europe, and also a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site.[150] At 5,800 km2 (2,200 sq mi),[151] the Danube Delta is the largest continuous marshland in Europe,[152] and supports 1,688 different plant species alone.[153]

Romania has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe, covering almost 27% of the territory.[154] 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.[155]

The fauna consists of 33,792 species of animals, 33,085 invertebrate and 707 vertebrate,[155] with almost 400 unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians,[156] including about 50% of Europe's (excluding Russia) brown bears[157] and 20% of its wolves.[158]

Climate

Owing to its distance from 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.[159] In summer, average maximum temperatures in Bucharest rise to 28 °C (82 °F), and temperatures over 35 °C (95 °F) are fairly common in the lower-lying areas of the country.[160] In winter, the average maximum temperature is below 2 °C (36 °F).[160] Precipitation is average, with over 750 mm (30 in) per year only on the highest western mountains, while around Bucharest it drops to around 570 mm (22 in).[147]:29 There are some regional differences: in the western parts, such as Banat, the climate is milder and has some Mediterranean influences; the eastern part of the country has a more pronounced continental climate. In Dobruja, the Black Sea also exerts an influence over the region's climate.[161]

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for the eight largest cities in Romania [162]
Location July (°C) July (°F) January (°C) January (°F)
Bucharest 28.8/15.6 84/60 1.5/−5.5 35/22
Cluj-Napoca 24.5/12.7 76/55 0.3/−6.5 33/20
Timișoara 27.8/14.6 82/58 2.3/−4.8 36/23
Iași 26.8/15 80/59 −0.1/−6.9 32/20
Constanța 25.9/18 79/64 3.7/−2.3 39/28
Craiova 28.5/15.7 83/60 1.5/−5.6 35/22
Brașov 24.2/11.4 76/53 −0.1/−9.3 32/15
Galați 27.9/16.2 82/61 1.1/–5.3 34/22

Governance

The Constitution of Romania is based on the Constitution of France's Fifth Republic and was approved in a national referendum on 8 December 1991, and amended in October 2003 to bring it into conformity with the EU legislation. The country is governed on the basis of a multi-party democratic system and the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. It is a semi-presidential republic where executive functions are held by both government and the president.[163] The latter is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two terms of five years and appoints the prime minister, who in turn appoints the Council of Ministers. The legislative branch of the government, collectively known as the Parliament (residing at the Palace of the Parliament), consists of two chambers (Senate and Chamber of Deputies) whose members are elected every four years by simple plurality.[164][165]

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.[166] There are also courts of appeal, county courts and local courts. The Romanian judicial system is strongly influenced by the French model, 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 constitution, which is the fundamental law of the country and can only be amended through a public referendum.[164][167] The 2007 entry into the EU has been a significant influence on its domestic policy, and including judicial reforms, increased judicial cooperation with other member states, and measures to combat corruption.

Foreign relations

Diplomatic missions of Romania
Romania is a noteworthy ally of the United States, being the first NATO member state that agreed to support increasing its defence spending after the 2017 Trump-Iohannis meeting at the White House.

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, albeit with limited relations involving the Russian Federation. It joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (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.[168]

Past recent governments states that one of their goals is to strengthen ties with and helping other countries (in particular Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia) with the process of integration with the rest of the West.[169] 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.[169] Romania also declared its public support for Turkey, and Croatia joining the European Union.[169] 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, and its bid to join was approved by the European Parliament in June 2011, but was rejected by the EU Council 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.[170] In May 2009, Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, declared that "Romania is one of the most trustworthy and respectable partners of the USA."[171]

Relations with Moldova are a special case, considering that the two countries share the same language and a common history.[169] A movement for unification of Romania and Moldova appeared in the early 1990s after both countries achieved emancipation from communist rule,[172] but lost ground in the mid-1990s when a new Moldovan government pursued an agenda towards preserving a Moldovan republic independent of Romania.[173] After the 2009 protests in Moldova and subsequent removal of Communists from power, relations between the two countries have improved considerably.[174]

Military

Romanian marine troopers during a combined Dutch-Romanian exercise at Vadu beach.
Romania is the fourth largest contributor of troops in Afghanistan.

The Romanian Armed Forces consist of Land, Air, and Naval Forces, and are led by a Commander-in-chief under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense, and by the president as the Supreme Commander during wartime. The Armed Forces consist of approximately 15,000 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.[175] The total defence spending in 2007 accounted for 2.05% of total national GDP, or approximately US$2.9 billion, with a total of $11 billion spent between 2006 and 2011 for modernization and acquisition of new equipment.[176]

The Air Force currently operates modernized Soviet MiG-21 Lancer fighters which are due to be replaced by twelve F-16s, recently purchased.[177] The Air Force purchased seven new C-27J Spartan tactical airlifters,[178] while the Naval Forces acquired two modernized Type 22 frigates from the British Royal Navy.[179]

Romania has contributed troops to the international coalition in Afghanistan since 2002,[180] with a peak deployment of 1,600 troops in 2010 (which was the 4th largest contributor according to the US). [181][182] Its combat mission in the country concluded in 2014.[183] 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. The Regele Ferdinand frigate participated in the 2011 military intervention in Libya.[184]

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.[185]

Administrative divisions

Romania is divided into 41 counties (județe, pronounced judets) 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.[186] Each county is further subdivided into cities and communes, which have their own mayor and local council. There are a total of 320 cities and 2,861 communes in Romania.[147]:17 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[147]:6 and has a prefect, a general mayor (primar), and a general city council.

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.[187] 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[188] (eight development regions) divisions exist but have no administrative capacity, and are instead used for coordinating regional development projects and statistical purposes.[187]

Development region Area (km2) Population (2011)[189] Most populous urban center*[190]
Nord-Vest 34,159 2,600,132 Cluj-Napoca (411,379)
Centru 34,082 2,360,805 Brașov (369,896)
Nord-Est 36,850 3,302,217 Iași (382,484)
Sud-Est 35,762 2,545,923 Constanța (425,916)
Sud – Muntenia 34,489 3,136,446 Ploiești (276,279)
București – Ilfov 1,811 2,272,163 Bucharest (2,272,163)
Sud-Vest Oltenia 29,212 2,075,642 Craiova (356,544)
Vest 32,028 1,828,313 Timișoara (384,809)

Economy

Since 2007, Romania has been part of the EU single market.

In 2019, Romania has a GDP (PPP) of around $547 billion and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $28,189.[191] According to the World Bank, Romania is a high income country with a mixed economy.[192] According to Eurostat, Romania's GDP per capita (PPS) was at 63% of the EU average in 2017, an increase from 41% in 2007 (the year of Romania's accession to the EU), making Romania one of the fastest growing economies in the EU.[193]

City Gate Towers in Bucharest

After 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 onward, however, the Romanian economy was transformed into one of relative macroeconomic stability, characterized 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.[194] However, a recession following the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 forced the government to borrow externally, including an IMF €20bn bailout program.[195] GDP has been growing by over 2% each year since.[196] According to The World Bank, the GDP per capita purchasing power parity grew from $13,442 in 2007 to an estimated $22,124 in 2015.[197] Romania still has one of the lowest net average monthly wages in the EU of €540 in 2016,[198] and an inflation rate of −1.1% in 2016.[199] Unemployment in Romania is at 4.3% in August 2018, which is very low compared to other EU countries.[197]

The CEC Palace is situated on Bucharest's Victory Avenue.
The Bucharest Stock Exchange Palace, situated in the capital's old town.

Industrial output growth reached 6.5% year-on-year in February 2013, the highest in the EU-27.[200] The largest local companies include car maker Automobile Dacia, Petrom, Rompetrol, Ford Romania, Electrica, Romgaz, RCS & RDS and Banca Transilvania.[201] 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 centered on the member states of the European Union, with Germany and Italy being the country's single largest trading partners. The account balance in 2012 was estimated to be −4.52% of the GDP.[202]

After a series of privatizations and reforms in the late 1990s and 2000s, government intervention in the Romanian economy is somewhat lower than in other European economies.[203] 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.[204] The economy is predominantly based on services, which account for 51% of GDP, even though industry and agriculture also have significant contributions, making up 36% and 13% of GDP, respectively. Additionally, 30% of the Romanian population was employed in 2006 in agriculture and primary production, one of the highest rates in Europe.[205]

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.[206] 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.[207] Additionally, a study in 2006 judged it to be the world's second-fastest economic reformer (after Georgia).[208]

Dacia Duster concept at the Geneva Motor Show (2009)

Since 1867 the official currency has been the Romanian leu ("lion") and following a denomination in 2005, it has been valued at €0.2–0.3. After joining the EU in 2007, Romania is expected to adopt the Euro sometime around 2020.[209]

On 1 July 2015, Romania's external debt was reported to be situated at the sum of €90.59 billion.[210] In 2018, the external debt of Romania was reported to be situated at the sum of €96 billion according to the National Bank of Romania.[211]

Infrastructure

Romania's road network.
Graph depicting Romania's electricity supply mix as of 2015

According to the INSSE, Romania's total road network was estimated in 2015 at 86,080 kilometres (53,488 mi).[212] The World Bank estimates the railway network at 22,298 kilometres (13,855 mi) of track, the fourth-largest railroad network in Europe.[213] Rail transport experienced a dramatic decline after 1989, and was estimated at 99 million passenger journeys in 2004; but has experienced a recent (2013) revival due to infrastructure improvements and partial privatization of lines,[164] accounting for 45% of all passenger and freight movements in the country.[164] Bucharest Metro, the only underground railway system, was opened in 1979 and measures 61.41 km (38.16 mi) with an average ridership in 2007 of 600,000 passengers during the workweek.[214] There are sixteen international commercial airports in service today. Over 12.8 million passengers flew through Bucharest's Henri Coandă International Airport in 2017.[215]

Romania is a net exporter of electrical energy and is 48th worldwide in terms of consumption of electric energy.[216][better source needed] Around a third of the produced energy comes from renewable sources, mostly as hydroelectric power.[217] In 2015, the main sources were coal (28%), hydroelectric (30%), nuclear (18%), and hydrocarbons (14%).[218] It has one of the largest refining capacities in Eastern Europe, even though oil and natural gas production has been decreasing for more than a decade.[216] With one of the largest reserves of crude oil and shale gas in Europe,[216] it is among the most energy-independent countries in the European Union,[219] and is looking to further expand its nuclear power plant at Cernavodă.[220]

There were almost 18,3 million connections to the Internet in June, 2014.[221] According to Bloomberg, in 2013 Romania ranked 5th in the world, and according to The Independent, it ranks number one in Europe at Internet speeds,[222][223] with Timișoara ranked among the highest in the world.[224]

Tourism

Tourism is a significant contributor to the Romanian economy, generating around 5% of GDP.[225] According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Romania was estimated to have the fourth-fastest-growing travel and tourism total demand in the world, with an estimated potential growth of 8% per year from 2007 to 2016.[226] The number of tourists has been steadily rising, reaching 9.33 million foreign tourists in 2016, according to the Worldbank.[227] Tourism in Romania attracted €400 million in investments in 2005.[228]

More than 60% of the foreign visitors in 2007 were from other EU countries.[229] The popular summer attractions of Mamaia and other Black Sea Resorts attracted 1.3 million tourists in 2009.[230][231]

Most popular skiing resorts are along the Valea Prahovei and in Poiana Brașov. Castles, fortifications, or strongholds as well as well preserved medieval Transylvanian cities such as Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Brașov, Bistrița, Mediaș, or Sighișoara also attract a large number of tourists. Bran Castle, near Brașov, is one of the most famous attractions in Romania, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists every year as it is often advertised as being Dracula's Castle.[232] Hunedoara Castle is another famous structure.

Rural tourism, focusing on folklore and traditions, has become an important alternative,[233] and is targeted to promote such sites as Bran and its Dracula's Castle, the painted churches of northern Moldavia, and the wooden churches of Maramureș, or the villages with fortified churches in Transylvania.[234] Other attractions include the Danube Delta or the Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu.[235][236]

In 2014, Romania had 32,500 companies which were active in the hotel and restaurant industry, with a total turnover of EUR 2.6 billion.[237] More than 1.9 million foreign tourists visited Romania in 2014, 12% more than in 2013.[238] According to the country's National Statistics Institute, some 77% came from Europe (particularly from Germany, Italy, and France), 12% from Asia, and less than 7% from North America.[238]

Science and technology

Historically, Romanian researchers and inventors have made notable contributions to several fields. In the history of flight, Traian Vuia made the first airplane to take off on its own power[239] and Aurel Vlaicu built and flew some of the earliest successful aircraft, while Henri Coandă discovered the Coandă effect of fluidics. Victor Babeș discovered more than 50 types of bacteria; biologist Nicolae Paulescu discovered insulin, while Emil Palade, received the Nobel Prize for his contributions to cell biology. Lazăr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine and he also invented the procedure of separating valuable petroleum components with selective solvents, while Costin Nenițescu developed numerous new classes of compounds in organic chemistry. Notable Romanian mathematicians include Spiru Haret, Grigore Moisil, and Ștefan Odobleja; physicists and inventors: Șerban Țițeica, Alexandru Proca, and Ștefan Procopiu.

During the 1990s and 2000s, the development of research was hampered by several factors, including corruption, low funding and a considerable brain drain.[240] However, since the country's accession to the European Union, this has begun to change.[241] 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).[242] 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".[243] The country has joined several major international organizations such as CERN and the European Space Agency.[244][245] Overall, the situation has been characterized as "rapidly improving", albeit from a low base.[246]

The nuclear physics facility of the European Union's proposed Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) laser will be built in Romania.[247] In early 2012, Romania launched its first satellite from the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guyana.[248] Starting December 2014, Romania is a co-owner of the International Space Station.[249]

Demographics

Ethnic map of Romania based on 2011 census data.
Ethnic map of the Kingdom of Romania based on the 1930 census data.

According to the 2011 census, Romania's population is 20,121,641.[3] 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 88.9% of the population. The largest ethnic minorities are the Hungarians, 6.1% of the population, and the Roma, 3.0% of the population.[d][250] Hungarians constitute a majority in the counties of Harghita and Covasna. Other minorities include Ukrainians, Germans, Turks, Lipovans, Aromanians, Tatars, and Serbs.[251] In 1930, there were 745,421 Germans in Romania,[252] but only about 36,000 remain today.[251] As of 2009, there were also approximately 133,000 immigrants living in Romania, primarily from Moldova and China.[135]

The total fertility rate (TFR) in 2015 was estimated at 1.33 children born per woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1, and one of the lowest in the world.[253] In 2014, 31.2% of births were to unmarried women.[254] 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.[255][256][257] The life expectancy in 2015 was estimated at 74.92 years (71.46 years male, 78.59 years female).[253]

The number of Romanians and individuals with ancestors born in Romania living abroad is estimated at around 12 million.[146] After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, a significant number of Romanians emigrated to other European countries, North America or Australia.[258] For example, in 1990, 96,919 Romanians permanently settled abroad.[259]

Foreign-born population[260] 2013 2015 2017
Population total 20,020,074 19,870,647 19,644,350
Total 182,939 281,048 421,801
 Moldova 59,670 114,654 161,846
 Italy 22,486 38,580 56,515
 Spain 18,827 29,937 42,165
 Ukraine 8,743 11,900 16,729
 United Kingdom 2,604 5,208 15,346
 Germany 3,759 6,552 15,121
 France 3,780 6,471 12,589
 Bulgaria 11,163 10,465 10,646
 Hungary 5,795 6,420 8,184
 Turkey 5,057 3 7,986
 Greece 4,085 4,653 6,494
 Russia 4,952 5,269 6,063
 China 2,978 3,722 5,068
 United States 2,360 2,876 4,428
 Syria 2,295 2,576 3,492
 Israel 1,665 1,837 2,936
 Belgium 54 1,102 2,650
 Iraq 1,136 1,419 2,338
 Serbia 1,529 5,783 2,296
 Austria 121 509 1,934
 Ireland 22 657 1,876
 Tunisia 1,034 1,062 1,627
 Iran 1,114 1,261 1,464
 Portugal 81 364 1,377

Languages

Romanian is an Eastern Romance language, part of the larger linguistic family of Romance languages alongside French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan.

The official language is Romanian, a Romance language (the most widely spoken of the Eastern Romance branch), which presents a consistent degree of similarity to Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian, and Istro-Romanian, but equally shares many features with the rest of the Western Romance languages, specifically Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan. The Romanian alphabet contains the same 26 letters of the standard Latin alphabet, as well as five additional ones (namely 'ă','â','î','ț', and 'ș'), totaling 31.

Romanian is spoken as a first language by approximately 90% of the entire population, while Hungarian and Vlax Romani are spoken by 6.2% and 1.2% of the population, respectively. There are also approximately 50,000 native speakers of Ukrainian (concentrated in some compact regions, near the border, where they form local majorities),[261] 25,000 native speakers of German, and 32,000 native speakers of Turkish living in Romania.[262]

According to the Constitution, local councils ensure linguistic rights to all minorities, with localities with ethnic minorities of over 20%, that minority's language can be used in the public administration, justice system, and education. Foreign citizens and stateless persons that live in Romania have access to justice and education in their own language.[263] English and French are the main foreign languages taught in schools.[264] In 2010, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie identifies 4,756,100 French speakers in the country.[265] According to the 2012 Eurobarometer, English is spoken by 31% of Romanians, French is spoken by 17%, as well as Italian and German, each by 7%.[266]

Religion

Eastern Orthodoxy is the most widespread religious denomination in the country.

Romania is a secular state and has no state religion. An overwhelming majority of the population identify themselves as Christians. At the country's 2011 census, 81.0% of respondents identified as Orthodox Christians belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Other denominations include Protestantism (6.2%), Roman Catholicism (4.3%), and Greek Catholicism (0.8%). From the remaining population, 195,569 people belong to other Christian denominations or have another religion, which includes 64,337 Muslims (mostly of Turkish and Tatar ethnicity) and 3,519 Jewish (Jews once constituted 4% of the Romanian population, 728,115 persons in the 1930 census). Moreover, 39,660 people have no religion or are atheist, whilst the religion of the rest is unknown.[267]

The Romanian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church in full communion with other Orthodox churches, with a Patriarch as its leader. It is the second-largest Orthodox Church in the world[citation needed], and unlike other Orthodox churches, it functions within a Latin culture and utilizes a Romance liturgical language.[268] Its canonical jurisdiction covers the territories of Romania and Moldova,[269] with dioceses for Romanians living in nearby Serbia and Hungary, as well as diaspora communities in Central and Western Europe, North America and Oceania.

Urbanization

Although 54.0% of the population lived in urban areas in 2011,[3] this percentage has been declining since 1996.[270] Counties with over ⅔ urban population are Hunedoara, Brașov and Constanța, while with less than a third are Dâmbovița (30.06%) and Giurgiu and Teleorman.[3] Bucharest is the capital and the largest city in Romania, with a population of over 1.8 million in 2011. Its larger urban zone has a population of almost 2.2 million,[271] which are planned to be included into a metropolitan area up to 20 times the area of the city proper.[272][273][274] Another 19 cities have a population of over 100,000, with Cluj-Napoca and Timișoara of slightly more than 300,000 inhabitants, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov with over 250,000 inhabitants, and Galați and Ploiești with over 200,000 inhabitants.[190] Metropolitan areas have been constituted for most of these cities.

Education

University of Bucharest was opened in 1864.
The Colțea Hospital in Bucharest completed a $90 million renovation in 2011. [276]

Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Romanian educational system has been in a continuous process of reform that has received mixed criticism.[277] In 2004, some 4.4 million of the population were enrolled in school. Out of these, 650,000 in kindergarten (3–6 years), 3.11 million in primary and secondary level, and 650,000 in tertiary level (universities).[278] In 2018, the adult literacy rate was 98.8%.[279] Kindergarten is optional between 3 and 6 years. Since 2012, compulsory schooling starts at age 6 with the "preparatory school year" (clasa pregătitoare)[280] and is compulsory until tenth grade.[281] Primary and secondary education is divided into 12 or 13 grades. There also exists a semi-legal, informal private tutoring system used mostly during secondary school, which has prospered during the Communist regime.[282]

Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași, Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, University of Bucharest, and West University of Timișoara have been included in the QS World University Rankings' top 800.[283]

Romania ranks 5th in the all-time medal count at the International Mathematical Olympiad with 316 total medals, dating back to 1959. Ciprian Manolescu managed to write a perfect paper (42 points) for gold medal more times than anybody else in the history of the competition, doing it all three times he participated in the IMO (1995, 1996, 1997).[284] Romania has achieved the highest team score in the competition, after China and Russia, and right after the United States and Hungary. Romania also ranks 6th in the all-time medal count at the International Olympiad in Informatics with 107 total medals, dating back to 1989.[285][286][287]

Healthcare

Romania has a universal health care system, and total health expenditures by the government are roughly 5% of the GDP.[288] It 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 most common causes of death are cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Transmissible diseases are quite common by European standards.[289] In 2010, Romania had 428 state and 25 private hospitals,[290] with 6.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people,[291] and over 200,000 medical staff, including over 52,000 doctors.[292] As of 2013, the emigration rate of doctors was 9%, higher than the European average of 2.5%.[293]

Culture

Arts and monuments

Sibiu ( German: Hermannstadt, Hungarian: Nagyszeben) was the European Capital of Culture in 2007.
Timișoara ( German: Temeschburg, Hungarian: Temesvár) was designated the European Capital of Culture in 2021.

The topic of the origin of the Romanians began to be discussed by the end of the 18th century among the Transylvanian School scholars.[294] Several writers rose to prominence in the 19th century, including George Coșbuc, Ioan Slavici, Mihail Kogălniceanu, Vasile Alecsandri, Nicolae Bălcescu, Ion Luca Caragiale, Ion Creangă, and Mihai Eminescu, the later being considered the greatest and most influential Romanian poet, particularly for the poem Luceafărul.[295]

In the 20th century, Romanian artists reached international acclaim, including Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco,[296] Mircea Eliade, Nicolae Grigorescu, Marin Preda, Liviu Rebreanu,[297] Eugène Ionesco, Emil Cioran, and Constantin Brâncuși. The last has a sculptural ensemble in Târgu Jiu, while his sculpture Bird in Space, was auctioned in 2005 for $27.5 million.[298][299] Romanian-born Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, while Banat Swabian writer Herta Müller received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009.

Prominent Romanian painters include Nicolae Grigorescu, Ștefan Luchian, Ion Andreescu Nicolae Tonitza and Theodor Aman. Notable Romanian classical composers of the 19th and 20th centuries include Ciprian Porumbescu, Anton Pann, Eduard Caudella, Mihail Jora, Dinu Lipatti and especially George Enescu. The annual George Enescu Festival is held in Bucharest in honor of the 20th-century eponymous composer.[300]

Contemporary musicians like Angela Gheorghiu, Gheorghe Zamfir,[301][302] Inna,[303] Alexandra Stan[304] and many others have achieved various levels of international acclaim. At the Eurovision Song Contest Romanian singers have achieved third place in 2005 and 2010.[305]

In cinema, several movies of the Romanian New Wave have achieved international acclaim. At the Cannes Film Festival, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu by Cristi Puiu won the Prix Un Certain Regard in 2005,[306] while 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days by Cristian Mungiu won the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, in 2007.[307] At the Berlin International Film Festival, Child's Pose by Călin Peter Netzer won the Golden Bear in 2013.[308]

The list of World Heritage Sites includes six cultural sites located within Romania, including eight Painted churches of northern Moldavia, eight Wooden Churches of Maramureș, seven Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, the Horezu Monastery, and the Historic Centre of Sighișoara. [309] The city of Sibiu, with its Brukenthal National Museum, was selected as the 2007 European Capital of Culture.[310] Multiple castles exist in Romania, including popular tourist attractions of Peleș Castle,[311] Corvin Castle, and "Dracula's Castle".[312]

Holidays, traditions, and cuisine

Christmas market in Bucharest

There are 12 non-working public holidays, including the Great Union Day, celebrated on 1 December in commemoration of the 1918 union of Transylvania with Romania.[313] Winter holidays include the Christmas festivities and the New Year during which, various unique folklore dances and games are common: plugușorul, sorcova, ursul, and capra.[314][315] The traditional Romanian dress that otherwise has largely fallen out of use during the 20th century, is a popular ceremonial vestment worn on these festivities, especially in the rural areas.[316] Sacrifices of live pigs during Christmas and lambs during Easter has required a special derogation from EU law after 2007.[317] During Easter, painted eggs are very common, while on 1 March features mărțișor gifting, a tradition likely of Thracian origin.[318]

Romanian cuisine has been influenced by Austrian and German cuisine (especially in the historical regions that had been formerly administered by the Habsburg Monarchy), but also shares some similarities with other cuisines in the Balkan region such as the Greek, Bulgarian, or Serbian cuisine.[319] Ciorbă includes a wide range of sour soups, while mititei, mămăligă (similar to polenta), and sarmale are featured commonly in main courses.[320]

Pork, chicken, and beef are the preferred types of meat, but lamb and fish are also quite popular.[321] [322] Certain traditional recipes are made in direct connection with the holidays: chiftele, tobă and tochitura at Christmas; drob, pască and cozonac at Easter and other Romanian holidays.[323] Țuică is a strong plum brandy reaching a 70% alcohol content which is the country's traditional alcoholic beverage, taking as much as 75% of the national crop (Romania is one of the largest plum producers in the world).[324][325] Traditional alcoholic beverages also include wine, rachiu, palincă and vișinată, but beer consumption has increased dramatically over the recent years.[326]

Sports

Simona Halep has ended 2017 and 2018 as WTA's World No. 1.
Cristina Neagu is the only female handball player in history to win three IHF World Player of the Year awards.

Association football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Romania with over 234,000 registered players as of 2010.[327] The governing body is the Romanian Football Federation, which belongs to UEFA. The Romania national football team played its first match in 1922 and is one of only four national teams to have taken part in the first three FIFA World Cups, the other three being Brazil, France, and Belgium. Overall, it has played in seven World Cups and had its most successful period during the 1990s, when it reached the quarterfinals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, being eventually ranked third by FIFA in 1997.[328] The core player of this "Golden Generation" was Gheorghe Hagi, who was nicknamed "the Maradona of the Carpathians."[329][330] Other successful players include Iuliu Bodola, Nicolae Dobrin, Dudu Georgescu, Florea Dumitrache, Liță Dumitru, Ilie Balaci, Miodrag Belodedici, Loți Bölöni, Michael Klein, Anghel Iordănescu, Rodion Cămătaru, Mircea Rednic, Costică Ștefănescu, Cornel Dinu, Marius Lăcătuș or Gheorghe Popescu, and most recently Florin Răducioiu, Dorinel Munteanu, Viorel Moldovan, Dan Petrescu, Adrian Mutu, Cristian Chivu, Răzvan Raț or Cosmin Contra. Romania's home ground is Arena Națională, Bucharest.

The most successful club is Steaua București, who were the first Eastern European team to win the European Champions Cup in 1986, and were runners-up in 1989. Dinamo București reached the European Champions' Cup semifinal in 1984 and the Cup Winners' Cup semifinal in 1990. Other important Romanian football clubs are Rapid București, UTA Arad, Universitatea Craiova, CFR Cluj, Astra Giurgiu, and Viitorul Constanța.

Tennis is the second-most-popular sport, with over 15,000 registered players.[331] Romania reached the Davis Cup finals three times (1969, 1971, 1972). The tennis player Ilie Năstase won several Grand Slam titles, and was the first player to be ranked as number 1 by ATP between 1973 and 1974. Virginia Ruzici won the French Open in 1978, and was runner-up in 1980, Simona Halep won in 2018 and was runner up in 2014 and 2017. She is currently ranked 1st by the WTA.[332] The Romanian duo Horia Tecău and Florin Mergea won the doubles silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.[333]

Other popular team sports are team handball,[331] basketball[334] and rugby union. Both the men's and women's handball national teams are multiple world champions. On 13 January 2010, Cristina Neagu became the first Romanian in handball to win the IHF World Player of the Year award.[335] Basketball is widely enjoyed, especially by the youth.[334] Gheorghe Mureșan was one of the two tallest players to ever play in the NBA. In 2016, Romania was chosen as a host for the 2017 EuroBasket. The rugby national team has competed in every Rugby World Cup.

Popular individual sports include athletics, chess, judo, dancesport, table tennis and combat sports (Lucian Bute, Leonard Dorin Doroftei, Mihai Leu aka Michael Loewe, Daniel Ghiță, Benjamin Adegbuyi, Cătălin Moroșanu etc.).[331] While it has a limited popularity nowadays, oină is a traditional Romanian sporting game similar to baseball that has been continuously practiced since at least the 14th century.[336]

Romania participated in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1900 and has taken part in 21 of the 28 summer games. It has been one of the more successful countries at the Summer Olympic Games, with a total of 307 medals won throughout the years, of which 89 gold ones, ranking 15th overall, and second of the nations that have never hosted the game.

It participated at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and finished second in gold medals (20) and third in total medal count (53).[337] Almost a quarter of all the medals and 25 of the gold ones were won in gymnastics, with Nadia Comăneci becoming the first gymnast ever to score a perfect ten in an Olympic event at the 1976 Summer Olympics.[338] Romanian competitors have won gold medals in other Olympic sports: rowing, athletics, canoeing, wrestling, shooting, fencing, swimming, weightlifting, boxing, and judo. At the Winter Olympic Games, Romania has won only a bronze medal in bobsleigh at the 1968 Winter Olympics.

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