You think you know everything about Romania?
- It is the country you want to visit to make sure that the magical realm where the Transylvania count Dracula lived really exists – it does, and you can find it in Bran.
- It is the country in which the first European castle was fully electrified – the Peleṣ Castle in Sinaia.
- It is the place with the highest wooden church in the world – the Wooden Church from Sǎpânṭa, Maramureṣ.
- It is the realm of the Carpathians, which are proud of having the most virgin forests in the entire Europe, the heaven of chamois and brown bear – escalade their massifs and enjoy the landscape!
- It is the one that hides places where so many famous movies were filmed (Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Steven Seagal, Nicolas Cage have filmed in Romania), so you wonder what could be so beautiful here – come and see with your own eyes!
- It is the end of the Danube, which so wonderfully flows into the Black Sea, but not before creating the greatest reservation of watery lands in Europe and the only delta in the world declared as a biosphere reservation plus a UNESCO monument – the Danube Delta.
And there is so much more...
Romania means the people who represent it
Have you heard of Ivan Patzaichin?
He is that tall and this Romanian, born and raised in a village on the Danube river branches. He didn’t want to remain a simple fisherman of the Delta waters,
but to become a canoe champion. And he did. You may have seen him on the podium of the Olympic Games at five editions become a multiple champion at kayak-canoe.
But have you ever seen the places where Ivan Patzaichin exercised all his life? Have you seen the beauty of the channels on which his boat was waving in the morning vapors? Mile 23, the village where he was born, is the place worth visiting at least once in a lifetime, because it’s unique. It does not resemble any other place in Europe.
Ivan did not forget it either, even though celebrity took him many places on earth, maybe much more beautiful. And he chose to repay the Delta and the people down there by promoting the Romanian ecological tourism, values, beauties, and traditions in the entire world.
Who hasn’t heard of Nadia Comaneci?
The first gymnast to get 10 in an Olympic Games competition (Montreal, 1976) is from Romania. She was born in Onesti, in the heart of Moldavia, one of the most beautiful regions of the country. She loved the gymnastics and she fought for the title of champion, even though at that time she didn’t know much about the Olympics. As neither did the Olympic Games know much of Romania. However, Nadia has been synonymous to Romania ever since. Gymnastics simply meant Nadia, the 14 years’ old girl who conquered the heart of an entire world with her perfection, the first person to ever have got 10 at the Olympics at a time when even the technique was not yet ready to display the grade on the electric panel. Nadia simply meant Romania, the country many didn’t even know existed.
Ilie Nastase. Another legend of Romanian sports
Another synonym of Romania, coming from the world of the white sport, tennis. He was called “the Bucharest Buffoon”, as he magically (and sometimes in a nonconformist manner) managed to handle the racket so that it listened to his thoughts. He won the Masters Tour four times (between 1971 and 1975) and later the US Open from the Forest Hills. And he won something else: international notoriety as nobody else before.
Romania means a bunch of unique regions
Transylvania is a magical area, a region that mostly succeeded in keeping its medieval flavor without becoming the easy prey of technology and modernization. You can find there the most fortified churches in Romania, some UNESCO monuments, spread amongst villages you cannot get enough of. Have you ever thought that Heaven might be a simple village in a green valley where you can hear the wind blow and which welcomes you with unimaginable walled cities and outlooks? It could be Saschiz, the commune at the feet of the wooded hills in Mures, which abounds in local history, culture, and tradition. The Saschiz Ceramics proudly represents this tradition.
You could as well discover Heaven in the charming commune Biertan next to Sibiu - a picturesque commune with Saxon traditional houses and medieval walled cities. Or in Sighisoara - the unique city, registered on the list of the UNESCO world patrimony, which you cannot compare to any other Romanian city. Medieval streets and castles, tours and churches from the 12th century give visitors unforgettable memories. And a stunning Medieval Festival.
A trip through Transylvania can take you on the footsteps of Dracula, the count whose story placed Romania on the world map of tourism just as Nadia Comaneci and Ivan Patzaichin placed it on the world map of sports. A visit to the Bran Castle and the Poenari Walled City is worth your entire attention.
The Carpathians is the backbone of Romania with their amazing scenery, wild life and unthinkable beauties. Thousands of mountain routes cross their peaks, among rivers, natural reservations and glacial lakes (in the Rodnei Mountains there are over 80 glacial lakes), gullets of exquisite beauty (Nerei Gullets, Bicazului Gullets, Tisitei Gullets), caves declared monuments of nature (Scarisoara Cave), falls that take one back with astonishment (Bigar Falls, Toplita Falls, Cailor Falls), and entire ecotourism areas.
Beautiful Bucovina. It is the region you fall in love with at first sight and stays in your heart forever. Not knowing what it means to miss the green, the silence, the cultural tradition and abundance, beautiful people and places that breathe millenary history is not having been to Moldavia and Bucovina. The local monasteries are always a very good reason to visit Romania, as only here you can admire the “Voronet blue” painted on the walls of the Voronet Monastery, called “the Sistine Chapel of the East”. You will admire here the fortified complex of Dragomirna, the Neamt Monastery and the Neamtului Walled City, the City of Suceava and the Agapia Monastery.
In Maramures – another astonishing region - there are over 100 wooden churches, some of them included in the Universal Patrimony of UNESCO. And villages with gentle and welcoming, good and gifted people. Where in this world have you seen such beautiful portals as the ones from Maramures? And where else can you listen to Christmas carols on the rebate of the house while feeling the smell of cozonac (cakes)?
A ride with the steam mocanita (small train) at Viseu de Sus, on the Vaser Valley, may be one of the most pleasant go-backs in time. And the mocanitas in Romania have so many routes!
There are many countries in this world that are not land locked, but none of them was blessed with such delta as the Danube Delta. The ecosystem that the Danube created in Dobrogea before flowing into the Black Sea is a wonder of nature. The delta has been (since 1991) a part of the international network of biosphere reservations. It has 30 types of ecosystems (23 natural and 7 anthropic) and harbors a small European jungle: the Letea Forest. Liana grow here folded on centennial oaks, and this one of the few places in Europe where you can still watch wild horses running about freely on sand hills. Everything is spectacular and feels like a go-back in time; you can hardly believe your eyes there is still something like it in a 21st century country.
You cannot help wishing to visit Gorj, the place where Constantin Brancusi was born: the great Romanian man who put the city Targu Jiu forever on the map of Europe by teaching us how to meditate at the Table of Silence and to look at the Column of Infinity.
Romania is alike Switzerland
The Carpathians may not be the Alps, and things may not work in Romania with the Swiss precision, but there are places in this country that succeeded in conquering a piece of Switzerland’s heart. And Targu Mures is one of these places.
The city with its medieval aura still keeps treasures away from modernity. Discrete cafes and tea houses often witness discussions between friends or business partners. A great of them, Swiss people who chose Romania when they wished to extend their businesses internationally.
Currently over 40 Swiss companies make substantial profits in Mures County from their turnovers that exceed 500 million euro. They are great companies from various domains such as constructions (Holcim, Sika, Swisspor), agriculture (Karpaten Meat), energy (ABB), pharmaceutics (Sandoz, Roche), tobacco (Philipp Morris), food industry (Valvis) or oil chemistry (Ameropa).
And the list may go on, as they are only a part of the 2,500 companies that have found here suitable partners.
And now, what do you say, is Romania the country you thought you knew?