“Good evening, I am Count Dracula. I bid you welcome”. This line is
derived from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, a tale of a Romanian blood-sucking
aristocrat. The title character was inspired Vlad Dracula, prince of
Walachia (an area which is now part of Romania) who had a bloody
reputation of having impaled tens of thousands of his enemies during his
reign in the 15th century. The word “dracul” in Romanian means “devil”
Another famous personality from Romania is the first ever perfect 10
1976 Olympic Games gymnast, Nadia Comaneci. Born in 1961, Comaneci
brought honor to her country in the Montreal Olympics in 1976 by earning
7 perfect 10s throughout this event. Her record has never been beaten
Located in southeastern Europe,
Romania is primarily a country of majestic mountains, fertile plains,
and historic castles and vllages. The Carpathians dominate its
landscape and cover a third of its land area. This thickly forested
mountain system has a large number of bears, lynx, wolves, deer, and
Though highly industrialized since World War II, Romania’s way of
life is still vastly influenced by agriculture. Almost half of the
population is still living in rural areas in farm situations.
Conquered by the Roman Empire in 106 AD, Romania is the only country
in Eastern Europe that can trace its language and ancestry back to
the ancient Romans. This influence was later challenged by Slav,
Greek, Turkish and Hungarian cultures. The Middle Ages was dominated
by the rule of the Byzantine Empire and its influences which are
visible in present-day Romania in its castles and churches.
Modern day Romania is a country which had emerged from Communist
rule with the execution of its leader Ceausescu and his wife. 1989
saw Romania’s evolution into democratic reform and subsequent steps
towards opening its doors to the world. In 2004 it joined NATO, and
in 2007 it became a member of the European Union. This means Romania
uses the Euro as its official currency.
Black Sea Coast offers sun-worshippers a chance to partake in
watersports or just relax on its sandy white beaches. Hotspots on
the coast are Costinesti, Eforie Sud, Constanta, Eforie Nord, Mamaia,
Neptun, Techirghiol, Aurora, Jupiter, Navodari, Mangalia, Saturn,
Olimp, and Venus.
So what is there to see and do in a
country rich in history and cultural diversity? Plenty! The streets of
Bucharest alone are paved with historical sites and sounds seen nowhere
else in the world. Dubbed as “Little Paris”, Bucharest has a reputation
for the “high life” and is the country’s capital and its largest city. A
point of interest is the Calea Victorirei, the street where the Vernescu
House, the Boulevards Gh. Magheru, Carol I, Calea Mosilor, Calea
Dorobantilor, and the Soseaua Kiseleff are.
Lake Techirghiol is famous for its curative thermal springs as well as
its salt waters and mud. The Romanian Riviera spas (in Eforie, Mangalia,
and Neptun) are reputed to ease aches and pains. Baile Felix and Baile
Herculane are some of western Romania’s best known spa towns. Hiking and
horseback-riding in the Carpathian Mountains is a wonderful summertime
experience. Winter brings in skiing crowds at the Poiana Brasov and
Predeal resorts. Semenic and Sinaia are the best places to go
bob-sleighing during this season.
The picturesque mountain lakes of Fagaras
and Retezat offer great views while Apuseni , Mehedinti, and Bihor offer
great opportunities to explore the ten thousand caves in the country. If
nature watching is your thing, there are over 300 species of birds,
otters, foxes, wildcats, and boars to be observed while cruising along
the UNESCO World Heritage Site and biosphere reservation, the Danube
Muramures has quaint little villages such as Sirbi, Budesti, and
Calinesti where you can visit old wooden churches and witness
traditional practices as well as sample a few vintage wines. Bring home
glass paintings, woodcarvings, ceramics and pottery, and wooden
architecture to show off to friends and family and make them envious of
your visit to the beautiful country of Romania.
Last, but not the least, visit the mysterious and historic Bran Castle.
Filled with secret chambers and a labyrinth of narrow corridors, it is
the perfect backdrop for the evil Count Dracula. Even when Queen
Victoria’s niece, Queen Mary remodelled it into a charming summer house,
its air of menace and intrigue has never left it. It is rumoured that
after the Queen died, her heart had been placed in a silver box and was
kept in a niche in the castle where it was found years after. Macabre
Yes, it would appear that Romania has everything for the adventurous
heart from scenic landscapes to controversial and mysterious legends. It
is truly a place worth visiting.