Romania is a fascinating country that you probably don’t know much about. But just because you don’t know much about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any cultural or historical value. Indeed, Romania has contributed far more to the world than you might imagine.
For example, it is very popular with the British Royal Family. Prince Charles is quoted as saying “Maybe people do not see it, but Romania is a wonderful country. Remarkable people live here who will not give up. They have gone through terrible experiences that affected them greatly: the two world wars and all the sufferings endured from World War II until now.”
He continued “These people have been through a lot, they have seen much suffering, destruction, and their lives have been destroyed. We owe it to find a path for a better future that they should preserve their culture, traditions, and values.”
Here is a list of interesting facts that will allow you to get to know Romania better.
1. It’s official. Romania has the most beautiful waterfall in the world.
Bigar Cascade Falls in Caras-Severin it’s been voted as number one by The World Geography.
It is unique because of its stunning beauty and the way the water falls.
2. The mass transit network in Bucharest is the fourth largest in Europe.
3. Romania is the ninth largest wine producer in the world.
4. Romania was a source of inspiration for two very famous novels: “The Castle in the Carpathians” by Jules Verne, and “Dracula” by Bram Stoker.
5. People that enjoy a good coffee will be surprised to know that Francesco Illy, the founder of Illycaffè was born in Timisoara, Romania in 1892. He also invented the first automatic steam espresso coffee machine.
6. Timisoara became the first city of Europe to have electric street lighting in 1889.
7. The modern jet engine was invented by the Bucharest-born
inventor Henri Coanda in 1910.
8. The city of Brasov is home to the largest Gothic church between Vienna, Austria and Istanbul, Turkey.
9. Peles Castle was the first European castle entirely lit by electrical current. The electricity was produced by the castle’s own plant. The castle’s central heating system, built in 1888, is still functional and in use today.
10. Europe’s second-largest underground glacier, the Scarisoara glacier, is found underneath the Bihor Mountains in Romania. It has a volume of 75,000 cubic meters and has existed for more than 3,500 years.
11. The archetypal vampire Count Dracula, created by Bram Stoker, was inspired by the Romanian prince Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler because he was fond of impaling his enemies and standing them along the roads.
12. The movie Cold Mountain was filmed on location in Romania.
13. The scientist who discovered insulin was Nicolae Paulescu, a Romanian, who originally called it pancreine. Although two Canadian scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for their study of insulin, Paulescu’s pioneering work in the field of diabetic medicine was duly accredited.
14. The tallest wooden church in the world, and the second tallest wooden structure in Europe can be found in Sapanta Peri, Maramures of north-western Romania. It has a 23 foot tall cross that weighs 1,000 lbs, on top of the 257-foot tall church.
15. The American mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys” starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton was filmed in Romania.
16. The fountain pen was invented by Craiova-born Petrache Poenaru
in 1799-1875 and was patented in May 1827.
17. The Romanian language is 1,700 years old.
18. The earliest Homo sapiens fossils, up to now, were discovered in 2002 in south-western Romania, in the Cave of Bones. The fossil’s age is estimated at 37,800 to 42,000 years old.
19. The actor who first played the role of Tarzan was Romanian born Johnny Weissmuller, who starred in Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932.
20. The Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Just before reaching the sea it forms the second largest and best-preserved of Europe’s deltas: 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands.
21. The Carpathian Mountains are home to one of the largest virgin forests in Europe. 400 unique species of mammals, including the Carpathian chamois, call the Carpathian Mountains home. 60% of European brown bear population lives in the Carpathian Mountains.
22. The statue of Dacian king Decebal, carved in the rocky bank of the Danube River, is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe (135 feet tall).
23. The Danube to Black Sea canal in southeast Romania is world’s third longest man-made navigation route, after the Suez and the Panama Canals.
24. Romanian inventor Traian Vuia was the first European to build and fly a fully self-propelled, fixed-wing ‘automobile airplane in March 18, 1906.
25. The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.”
26. Soprano Alma Gluck – the first lyrical artist to sell one million records –
was born in Bucharest, Romania on May 11, 1884.
27. In 2005, the Romanian currency, the “Leu”, dropped four of its zeroes, such that what used to be 10,000 lei became printed as just 1 leu. Banks started making them out of plastic instead of paper.
The reason for this was a series of advantages that plastic has over paper. For example: incorporating additional safety features, durability, simpler automated processing and it can be recycled in a variety of plastic products.
28. Three clay tablets, dated to around 5300 BC, discovered in the village of Tartaria in central Romania, have been the subject of considerable controversy among archaeologists, some of whom claim that the symbols represent the earliest known form of writing in the world.
29. The Romanian Palace of Parliament in Bucharest is the second-largest building in the world, next only to the Pentagon in the United States.
30. Present-day Constanta has been associated with the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, who embarked on a long voyage from Greece to Kolchis, Georgia on the Black Sea coast in search of the Golden Fleece.
31. The Voronet Monastery in Moldavia is dubbed as the Romanian counterpart of the Sistine Chapel.
32. The first-ever first perfect 10 in the Olympic Games was given to Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. She bagged the score after her performance in Montreal, Canada in 1976.
33. Romania is Europe’s richest country in gold resources.
34. Romania’s Astra Museum in Sibiu is the second-largest outdoor museum in the world. It features more than 300 buildings as well as watermills and windmills, gigantic presses for wine, fruit and oil, hydraulic forges and more.
35. In 1938 Romanian Stefan Odobleja was the one who actually set the basic themes of cybernetics in “Psychology consonantiste“, published in Paris.
His work appeared ten years before Norbert Wiener’s ideas were printed. Stefan Odobleja is now considered to be the “Father of Cybernetics”.
36. The Romanian “Merry Cemetery” of Sapanta, a tiny village in the Valley of Maramures is unlike any other cemetery in the world.
This graveyard presents a very unusual and different way to look at death.
Each of its gravestones is carved in cheerful colors and darkly-humorous poems that offer a glimpse into the lives of the dead.
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Georgiana Craighead is Romanian and has travelled extensively throughout the country. Originally from Constanta she has also lived and studied in Bucharest. As a proud Romanian she is keen to show off the beauty of her country – from the beach resorts to the mountains. But there is more to Romania than that. She is also keen to explain the culture, food, and more so that readers have a better understanding od what this stunning country has too offer.