Romania is situated in south-eastern Europe between latitudes 43 37' 07" and 48 15' 06" north and longitudes 20 15' 44" and 29 42' 24" east, extending approximately 480 km north to south and 640 km east to west. The country has an area of 237,750 sq. km and a population of over 23,000,000 of which 89% are Romanians, 7% Hungarians, 2% Gypsies, as well as Germans, Slovaks, Turks, Russians, Bulgarians, Croats, Tartars, Czechs, Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Polish, Albanians...
The Carpathian Mountains are in the center of the country, bordered on both sides by hills and plateaus and finally the Great Plains of the outer rim.
Forests cover over a quarter of the country and the fauna is one of the richest in Europe including wolves, bears, deer, lynx and chamois.
The mighty Danube forms the southern boundary of the country terminating in the Delta on the Black Sea, a heaven for countless native and migratory birds.
Countries sharing borders with Romania are Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Republic of Moldavia and Ukraine.
The territory of Romania has been inhabited since the Paleolithic period.
Present-day Romania was first inhabited by the Dacians, fierce warriors subdued by the Romans under Traian in two extremely difficult campaigns at the beginning of the 2nd century AD. The relatively brief Roman occupation, 165 years, nevertheless left us a lasting legacy the Latin language which survived the many subsequent invasions of migratory peoples.
Over the years a Romanian identity progressively developed, during the 13th and 14th centuries the feudal states of Wallachia and Moldavia were estableshed. Centuries of struggles against the Turks ensued in these states. Meanwhile Transylvania was successively occupied by the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Finally Moldavia and Wallachia were united in 1859, independence was achieved in 1877 and union with Transylvania in 1918.
Communist rule established after the World War II, lasted 45 years, and it was ended by the December revolution of 1989.
The climate is temperate-continental, characteristic to the Central Europe (hot summers, cold winters, very distinct seasons, abundant snowfalls especially in the mountains). Warmest areas are in the south.
Annual average rainfall is 677mm, more in the mountains (over 1,000 meters) and 1ess on the coast (below 400m).
Average temperatures in different parts of the country are (in Celsius):
|Black Sea Coast
|Cluj - Napoca
|Delta of Danube
The official language is Romanian, of Latin origin. English, French and German are widely spoken.
Most Romanians are Orthodox Christians (87%). Catholics of Oriental and Roman rites are well represented (5%). There are also Reformed / Lutheran (3%), Unitarian (1%), Neo-Protestant, Armenian, Moslem and Jewish communities. Religious freedom is guaranteed by the Romanian Constitution.
Political system and public administration
In accordance with the Constitution adopted in 1991, Romania is a parlamentary republic, with two chambers. The president of the country, the deputies and the senators are elected every four years by universal secret ballot.
Romania is a multi-political party state - many parties are currently registered, but only important ones are represented in Parlament. The ethnic minorities also have representation.
Democratic rights and freedom are guaranteed by the Constitution.
The national flag is tricolour: red, yellow and blue.
Romania's nationa1 day is December 1st, the day when the nationa1 unitary state was founded in 1918.
Romania's territory is divided in counties administred by the prefects; the mayors of municipalities, towns, communes and villages are subordinated to the district administrations. Bucharest, the capital, has its own administration, similar to those of the districts.