Romania (formerly spelled Rumania or Roumania) is a country in southeastern Europe. The name Romania comes from Rome or the Roman Empire and represents the country's origins. Romania 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
238,391 km²
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 49th
IndependenceMay 9, 1877
Time zoneUTC +2/+3
National anthemDeşteaptă-te, Romāne
Internet TLD.RO
Calling Code40

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Counties
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External links


Main article: History of Romania

The Dacians were defeated by the Roman Empire in 106, which marked the beginning of a 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 were 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 1877. The country was expanded after World War I, when Transylvania, Bucovina and Bassarabia were included.

Parts of Romania were incorporated by the Soviet Union in 1940, mostly comprising the present-day country of Moldova with small portions assigned to Ukraine. 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.

See also: Kings of Romania


Main article: Politics 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 five years (until 2004 - four years). The president appoints a prime minister, who will head the council of ministers, whom are in turn appointed by the prime minister.


Main article: Counties of Romania

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

Administrative map of Romania |
The counties are (in alphabetical order):


Main article: Geography of Romania

Map 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:


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 $547547 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.

2002 and 2003 were successful economic years, and currently GDP growth is forecast at 4.5% per annum. The average gross wage per month in Romania is 6,721,855 lei as of July 2003, an increase of 3.8% over the previous month. This shows that salaries increase faster than the inflation rate, which is slightly less than 2% per month. The average net salary per month in July 2003 is 4,863,801 lei, which is equal to US$141.05, 131.32 Euro and A$223.73.

Romania was invited by the European Union in December 1999 to begin accession negotiations. It is expected to join the EU in 2007 along with Bulgaria.


Main article: Demographics of Romania

The official language is Romanian, a Latin language member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, which are also called Romanic, and are spoken by about 670 million people in many parts of the world, but mainly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. Romania is the only Eastern Bloc country where a Romance language is dominant (Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria have small isolated pockets which are generally dying out).

Sizeable minorities of Hungarian (according to the 2002 census, 6.6% 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. There is also small Polish minority (numbering over ten thousands of people) living in Suceava County.

Most Romanians are members of the Romanian Orthodox Church, which is one of the churches of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Catholicism (both Roman Catholic and Romanian Catholic) and protestantism are 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.


Main article: Culture of Romania

See also:

Official Holidays
Date English Name Local Name Remarks
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 holiday
(Unification Day)
Ziua UniriiCelebrating the unification of Transylvania with Romania, December 1, 1918
December 25/26Christmas DayCrăciunulRomanians celebrate two days of Christmas.

Traditional holidays
Date Name Remarks
March 1 Mărţişorul Spring festival (vaguely similar to St. Valentine's Day)

Miscellaneous topics

External links

Countries of the world  |  Europe  |  Council of Europe