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Romania (formerly sometimes spelled Rumania and Roumania) is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Ukraine and Moldova in the northeast, Hungary and Serbia in the west and Bulgaria to the south. Romania also has a small sea coast on the Black Sea.

(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: none
Official languageRomanian
PresidentIon Iliescu
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 78th
237,500 km²
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 49th
IndependenceMarch 26, 1881
Time zoneUTC +2/+3
National anthemDeşteaptă-te, Romāne!
Internet TLD.RO
Calling Code40
Table of contents

History Main article: History of Romania

The Dacians were defeated by the Roman Empire in 106, which marked the beginning of succession of invasions of Romania, although the rulers usually allowed a high degree of autonomy.

In the Middle Ages Romanians lived in three distinct principalities: Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. The first two would be under the influence of the Ottoman Empire, but with internal autonomy, the third at first belonged to Hungary, also having a large autonomy, then to Austria-Hungary.

The modern Romania was born when the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia merged in 1859, and became independent in 1881. The country was expanded after World War I, when Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia were included.

Parts of Romania were incorporated by the Soviet Union in 1940, mostly comprising the present-day country of Moldova. After the Second World War, Romania became a communist nation under pressure of the Soviet Union.

The decades-long reign of president Nicolae Ceauşescu was ended with an uprising in late 1989, although ex-communists continue to be present in the democratically elected government.

Politics Main article: Politics of Romania See also: Kings of Romania, Prime ministers of Romania, Presidents of Romania

The legislative part of the Romanian government consists of two chambers, the Senat (Senate), which has 143 members, and the Camera Deputaţilor (House of Deputies), which has 343 members. The members of both chambers are chosen in elections held every four years.

The president, the head of the executive branch, is also elected by popular vote, every four years. The president appoints a prime minister, who will head the council of ministers, whom are in turn appointed by the prime minister.

Counties Main article: Counties of Romania

Romania is divided into 41 judeţe, or counties, and the municipality of Bucharest (Bucureşti) - the capital.

Geography Main article: Geography of Romania

A large part of Romania's borders with Yugoslavia and Bulgaria is formed by the Danube. The Danube is joined by the Prut River[?], which forms the border with Moldova.

The Carpathian Mountains dominate the western part of Romania, with peaks up to 2,500 m, the highest, Moldoveanu, reaching 2,544 m.

Major cities are the capital Bucharest, Braşov, Timişoara, Cluj-Napoca, Constanţa[?], Craiova[?], and Iaşi (Jassy).

See also: List of Romanian Cities

Economy Main article: Economy of Romania

After the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989-91, Romania was left with an obsolete industrial base and a pattern of industrial capacity wholly unsuited to its needs. In February 1997, Romania embarked on a comprehensive macroeconomic stabilisation and structural reform programme, but reform subsequently has been a frustrating stop-and-go process. Restructuring programs include liquidating large energy-intensive industries and major agricultural and financial sector reforms. In 1999 Romania's economy contracted for a third straight year - by an estimated 4.8%. Romania reached an agreement with the IMF in August for a US $547 million loan, but release of the second tranche was postponed in October because of unresolved private sector lending requirements and differences over budgetary spending. Bucharest avoided defaulting on mid-year lump-sum debt payments, but had to significantly draw down reserves to do so; reserves rebounded to an estimated $1.5 billion by yearend 1999. The government's priorities include: obtaining renewed IMF lending, tightening fiscal policy, accelerating privatisation, and restructuring unprofitable firms. Romania was invited by the European Union in December 1999 to begin accession negotiations.

Demographics Main article: Demographics of Romania

The official language is Romanian, making Romania the only Eastern Block country where a Romance language is spoken. Sizeable minorities of Hungarian (about 8% of the population) and German descent, mostly in Transylvania, also speak Hungarian and German. Other ethnic groups include Roma gypsies and natives of Romania's neighbouring countries.

Most Romanians are members of the Romanian Orthodox Church[?], which is one of the churches of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Catholicism is also represented, mostly in the areas inhabited by population of Hungarian descent, mostly in the western part of the country. In Dobrogea, the region lying on the shore of the Black Sea, there is a small Islamic minority, a remnant of the Ottoman colonization of that province in the past.

Culture Main article: Culture of Romania

See also:

DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
January 1New Year's DayAnul nou
April/MayEasterPaşteleRomanians celebrate the Orthodox Easter. The holiday is three days long
May 1Labour DayZiua munciiInternational Labour day
December 1National Day
(Unification Day)
Ziua UniriiCelebrating the unification of Transylvania with Romania, December 1, 1918
December 25, December 26Christmas DayCrăciunulRomanians celebrate two days of Christmas.

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Countries of the world  |  Europe

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