A country to enjoy

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A country to enjoy

Legends like that of Count Dracula or the real history of Romania are testimonies of such an exciting past. Such a heritage is to be found in the high-roofed wooden churches of Transylvania. Admire the 16th century artistic treasures of the Bucovina monasteries, or listen spellbound to George Enescu’s "Romanian Rhapsody" with brilliantly inspired from folklore themes. The most decisive influence on this country’s development was that of ancient Rome.

Music and traditional dress

are part of the Romanian life

Six Hundred Thousand Years of History

Signs of human life are to be found in the Carpathian mountains since around 600.000 BC. Although there had been Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast since the 6th century BC, the first centralised kingdom was of a Thracian people called the Dacians.

This Dacian civilisation reached its heyday under Decebalus, in the first century AD, but he was finally defeated by the Emperor Trajan’s Roman legions in 106. Roman colonisation and inter-marriage followed and the resulting population became Christian. In 271 the Legions withdrew and 1,000 years of sporadic invasion ensued, followed by several centuries of Turkish and Russian aggression. The Daco-Roman civilisation and Romania’s Latin inheritance survived.

The Rise of the Principalities

"Romanians" were first mentioned in documents in the 1160s, soon after which Wallachia and Moldavia emerged as principalities. A succession of noble leaders held of the Turks, namely Prince Mircea the Old, Prince Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) and Stephen the Great of Moldavia, who built close to 50 monasteries and churches and moulded Moldavian culture. In the 16th century Michael the Brave united all these three provinces and chased away the Turks. In many respects the 15th and 16th centuries were a golden age of architecture and art.

Emergence of a Nation

After Michael the Brave’s death in 1601, two and a half centuries of conflicts followed, during which a Romanian sense of nationhood developed little by little. In 1859 the two principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia united in the name of Romania as of 1862. The country became a monarchy in 1881, but it was only in 1918 that union took place between the three Romanian provinces.

After 1945 the Russians deposed the king and imposed communism. The revolution of December 1989 brought Romania firmly back into democratic Europe. The most obvios result is that the age-old friendliness and generosity of Romanians have been asserted again, as visitors will soon appreciate.

 

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