RURAL TOURISM IN ROMANIA in Prahova County

  Dorin and Maria PARASCHIV Guest House Starchiojd, Romania

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A little bit farward
The Saxon citadels in Transylvania
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Sighisoara
The Danube Delta
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The Maramures Region
The Bucovina Region
The Apuseni Mountains
Orthodoxe Faith
 
   

 

Agrement of Romania Tourism Ministery n° 5206 / 11.12.2001

 

 

Facts about Romania

Location
The country is bounded on the north by Ukraine; on the east by Moldova;on the southeast by the Black Sea; on the south by Bulgaria; on the southwestby present-day Yugoslavia; and on the west by Hungary. The total area of Romania is about 237,500 sq km (about 91,700 sq mi).

Land and resources

Romania is roughly oval in shape, with a maximum extent east to west of about 740 km (about 460 mi) and north to south about 475 km (about 295 mi). The topography is varied. The Transylvanian Basin, or Plateau, which occupies central Romania, is very hilly for the most part, but also has wide valleys and extensive arable slopes. It is almost completely surrounded by mountains. The Carpathian's enclose it on the north and east. Moldoveanul (2543 m/8343 ft), the highest peak in the country, is in the Transylvanian Alps, to the south, which continues south to the Danube gorge as the Banat Mountains. A smaller group of ranges, the Bihor Mountains, is west of the basin. The remaining areas of Romania are predominantly lowlands. In the west are the lowlands of the Tisza Plain, which are usually referred to as the Banat, adjacent to the Yugoslavia border, and Crisana-Maramures, adjacent to Hungary. The most extensive plains are the lowlands of Walachia, located between the Transylvanian Alps and Bulgaria, and of Moldova, east of the Carpathian Mountains. Bordering the Black Sea in the extreme east and forming part of Dobrogea, is a low plateau, which continues south into Bulgaria. The most important river of Romania is the Danube. It demarcates the eastern part of the boundary with Yugoslavia, and most of the boundary with Bulgaria. The valley of the lower course of the Danube and the Danube delta are very swampy but also very atractive . Other important rivers, all part of the Danube system, are the Mures, Prut, Olt, and Siret. Romania has many small, freshwater mountain lakes, but the largest lakes are saline lagoons on the coast of the Black Sea; the largest of these is Lake Razelm.
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Climate

The Transylvanian Basin, the Carpathian Mountains, and the western lowlands have warm summers and cold winters with recorded temperature extremes ranging between 37.8 grades Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) and -31.7 grades Celsius (-25 Fahrenheit). The Walachian, Moldavian, and Dobrujan lowlands have hotter summers and occasionally experience periods of severe cold in winter; recorded extremes in Bucharest and the lowlands are 38.9 grades Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) and -23.9 grades Celsius (-11 Fahrenheit). Rainfall averages 508 mm (20 in) on the plains and from 508 mm to 1016 mm (20 in to 40 in) on the mountains and is concentrated in the warmer half of the year.
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Natural resources

The principal resources of Romania are agricultural, but the country also has significant mineral deposits, particularly petroleum, natural gas, salt, coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, bauxite, manganese, lead, and zinc.
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Plants and animals

Wooded steppe, now largely cleared for agriculture, predominate in the plains of Walachia and Moldova. Fruit trees are common in the foothills of the mountains. On the lower slopes are found forests of such deciduous trees as birch, beech, and oak. The forests of the higher altitudes are coniferous, consisting largely of pine and spruce trees. Above the timberline (approximately 1750 m/5740 ft), the flora is alpine. Wild animal life is abundant in most parts of Romania. The larger animals, found chiefly in the Carpathian Mountains, include the wild boar, wolf, lynx, fox, bear, chamois, roe deer, and goat. In the plains, typical animals are the squirrel, hare, badger, and polecat. Many species of birds are abundant; the Danube delta region, now partly a nature preserve, is a stopover point for migratory birds. Among species of fish found in the rivers and offshore are pike, sturgeon, carp, flounder, herring, salmon, perch, and eel.
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Soil

The soils in most parts of the country of Romania are fertile. In western Romania, the soil consists largely of the decomposition products of limestone. Chernozem, or black earth, highly suited to cereal culture, predominates in the eastern part of the country
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Population

Ethnic Distribution

The Romanians

Historically, the Romanians are descendants of two very old peoples: The Dacians and The Romans. The Dacians were the ancient inhabitants of the land. Due to the legendary richness of this region, Dacia was a great temptation for the Roman Emperors. But Dacia was not easy to conquer, and general after general had to bow in front of the brave natives. Finally, the Emperor Traianus conquered the country in A.D.106. The celebration of the victory lasted 123 days. 7 years later, Traianus erected a monument depicting his victory, which is called Traianus's Column and still stands in Rome. By the mixing of the two peoples, the Romanian people emerged. As a proof of Rome's powerful influence, not only the land was later called Romania, but also, the Romanian language evolved from Latin.

The Minorities

The Hungarians, being the largest minority in Romania, have a particularly strong community that tries to preserve the Hungarian traditions and culture. Although Transylvania was a matter of dispute between Romanians and Hungarians over the centuries, and despite some political interests, the two nationalities always found a peaceful way of living together.

The Transylvanian Germans have a unique history. Descendants of the original german colonists that came to Transylvania in the 12-th Century, they developed a strong and wealthy community, that flourished during the Middle Ages. They built some of the largest cities in the region, such as Sibiu, Sighisoara, Brasov. Out of a population of tens of thousands, only very few remain today, most of them fleeing from communist represion or going for a better life after the democratic changes of 1989. Nevertheless, most of those who left still consider themselves Transylvanians and dream of their homeland.

The Turkish community lives in the Southeastern part of the country, near the Black Sea coast. They are the reminder of an age-old Turkish supremacy in the Balkans - the Ottoman Empire. Their mosques in the cities of Constanta and Mangalia are nowadays a major tourist attraction. One local story says that children often go looking here for the flying rugs of the Arabian Nights.

The Ukrainians, who live in the Northermost region of Romania, near the border, are famous for their painted Easter Eggs, an age old tradition kept alive by old women.

The Russian minority live in the Danube Delta. They call themselves "Lipoveni" and are very different from the typical Russians. Due to the remoteness of their land, they lost all contacts with Russia. Still, they love drinking vodka. The Lipoveni are traditionally fishermen, and know by heart the intricate maze of canals of the Delta. Naturally, they gave Romania a multiple Olympic and World Champion in canoeing - Ivan Patzaikin.

The Serbs, living near the border with former Yugoslavia are famous for their colorful traditional costumes and music.

The Gypsies once an exotic nation of wanderers, are trying now to find their place in the modern world: they have representation in the Romanian Parliament. Nevertheless, as a reminder of their old ways, they still have an Emperor and a King.

Population Characteristics

The population of Romania (1993 estimate) was around 23,000,000. Population density was about 100 persons per sq km (about 260 per sq mi). The population was about 40% rural.
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Political divisions and main cities

The country is divided into 40 districts and the municipality of Bucharest. Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania, with a population of 2,389,800 (1993 estimate), and it is also the main industrial and commercial center of the country. Other major cities (with 1986 estimate populations) are Constanta (327,700), a port on the Black Sea; Brasov (351,500), noted for the manufacture of textiles, chemicals, and metal products; Timisoara (325,300), an industrial center; Iasi (313,100), a commercial center; Cluj-Napoca (310,000), a commercial and industrial center; Galati (295,400), a naval and metallurgical center; Craiova (281,000), a textile, electrical, and chemical center; and Ploiesti (234,900), hub of the oil industry.
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Religion and language

The largest religious organization of Romania is the Romanian Orthodox Church, to which 70 to 80% of Romanians adhere. In addition, the country has substantial numbers of Roman Catholics, predominantly the Hungarian and German minorities of Transylvania; Protestants of various denominations; Jews, primarily in Bucharest; and Muslims, mainly among the Tatar and Turkish minorities. The official language is Romanian (see Romanian Language), one of the Romance languages, spoken by more than 85% of the population. Other languages spoken include Hungarian, German, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, and Yiddish.
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Education

Primary education in Romania is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15, and most students choose to continue their education beyond the age of 16. Illiteracy has been virtually eliminated. The educational system heavily emphasizes practical and technical studies.

Elementary and Secondary Schools

In the late 1980s some 3 million children were enrolled in Romania's 13,900 primary schools, and some 1.2 million students attended 980 secondary schools. In addition, the country had 760 vocational secondary schools with 278,000 students.

Universities and Colleges

Some 157,000 students annually attended institutions of higher learning in the late 1980s. Romania has seven general universities, including the University of Bucharest ,the University of Cluj-Napoca ,and the University of 'Al. I. Cuza' of Iasi. In addition, Romania has four technological universities. Under the Ceausescu government, university admission usually depended on participation in Communist youth organizations and a stipulated period of work experience in industry or agriculture.
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Culture

Romanian culture is largely derived from the Roman, with strains of Slavic, Magyar (Hungarian), Greek, and Turkish influence. Poems, folktales, and folk music have always held a central place in Romanian culture. Romanian literature, art, and music attained maturity in the 19th century. Although Romania has been influenced by divergent Western trends, the culture remains fundamentally indigenous.

Literature

Romanian literature is rich and varied and may be roughly divided into five periods. The literature from the 15th to 18th centuries was primarily religious. The dominant literary form in the 18th century was history, and a number of major works promoted the idea of the Latinity of the origins and language of the Romanian people. In the century before World War I, Romanian literature reached maturity and reflected national unity. A major figure of the period was Vasile Alecsandri (1821-90), a narrative poet and dramatist. Others whose work had a profound influence on later writers included the romantic poet Mihail Eminescu (1850-89) and Ion Luca Caragiale (1852-1912), a dramatist whose plays satirized the bourgeois life of the late 19th century. Between World War I and World War II, Romanian literature largely dealt with national themes, and the novel first came into the foreground. The most outstanding novelist was Mihail Sadoveanu (1880-1961). From the late 1940s through the 1980s, the literature was characterized by Soviet realism except for a brief period in the late 1960s when cultural controls were relaxed. The Romanian-born playwright Eugˆne Ionesco became famous after World War II while living in France.

Art and Music

Romanian art, like Romanian literature, reached its peak during the 19th century. Among the leading painters were Theodor Aman (1831-91), a portraitist, and the landscape painter Nicolae Grigorescu (1838-1907). Romanian art during the 1945-90 period was dominated by Soviet realism. A notable contribution to modern concepts of 20th century art was the work of the Romanian-born French sculptor Constantin Brancusi. A number of Romanian musicians achieved international recognition in the 20th century. Most notable among them were Georges Enesco, violinist and composer, who is perhaps best known for his Romanian rhapsodies, and pianist Dinu Lipatti (1917-50).

Libraries and Museums

The principal libraries are the Central State Library and the Library of the Academy of Romania, both in Bucharest. The Art Museum of Romania, in Bucharest, contains fine collections of national, Western, and Oriental art. Many other museums of art are located throughout the country.
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Economy

Primarily agricultural before World War II, the Romanian economy was subsequently transformed through a series of 5-year plans and is now dominated by manufacturing; among the consequences of an emphasis on heavy industry were chronic shortages of consumer goods and severe degradation of the environment. In the late 1980s the gross national product (GNP) was estimated by Western analysts at $151.3 billion, or about $6570 per capita. After the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime in December 1989, the domestic economy virtually collapsed, and exports plummeted. Economic reform programs introduced in 1990 called for devaluation of the currency, removal of subsidies on most consumer goods, and privatization of state-owned companies in order to move Romania toward a free-market system.

Agriculture

About 65% of the total area of Romania is used for pasturage and cultivation, which in the late 1980s employed about 29% of the civilian labor force. Almost 90% of the land was worked as collective farms that in the mid-1980s numbered about 3745 and larger state farms that numbered about 420. Because of government emphasis on industrial development, agricultural improvements and investments were neglected, and food shortages developed in the 1980s. In the late 1980s the principal crops included corn, with an annual yield of 19.5 million metric tons; wheat, 9 million tons; sugar beets, 6.5 million tons; potatoes, 8 million tons; sunflower seeds, 1.1 million tons; grapes, 2.2 million tons; and a wide range of other fruits. Its extensive vineyards make Romania a major wine producer. In the late 1980s Romanian livestock included some 7.1 million cattle, 15.2 million hogs, 18.8 million sheep, and 142 million poultry.

Forestry and Fishing

Forests, covering approximately 27% of the total land area, are state property. Production totaled about 24.6 million cu m (about 869 million cu ft) annually in the late 1980s. The Black Sea and the Danube delta regions are known for their sturgeon catch, and the country undertakes considerable fishing operations in the Atlantic Ocean. In the late 1980s the yearly catch totaled about 264,400 metric tons.

Mining

The principal mineral resource of Romania is petroleum. In the late 1980s annual crude-oil production was about 76.6 million barrels and that of natural gas, about 38.9 billion cu m (about 1.4 trillion cu ft). The leading petroleum center is Ploieþti, and important new deposits were found under the Black Sea in the early 1980s. The western part of the Transylvanian Alps has deposits of bituminous coal and iron ore, and the country also has scattered lignite deposits. Annual coal production in the late 1980s was about 47.3 million metric tons. Iron-ore production totaled some 2.3 million tons. Large salt deposits in the Carpathians yielded more than 5 million tons annually.

Manufacturing

Romania pursued a policy of rapid industrialization after World War II, with an emphasis on heavy industry (especially machinery and chemicals) and, to a much lesser extent, on consumer goods. Crude steel production reached about 13.9 million metric tons in the late 1980s. Other major manufactures were chemical fertilizers (about 2.9 million metric tons annually); cement (12.4 million tons); radio and television receivers; automobiles; processed food; rubber goods; cotton, woolen, and silk fabrics; clothing; footwear; and refrigerators.

Energy

In the late 1980s Romania annually produced about 73.1 billion kwh of electricity, up from 35.8 billion kwh in 1970. About 83% was produced in thermal installations burning petroleum, natural gas, and low-grade coal, and virtually all of the rest was generated by hydroelectric facilities, of which the largest was the Iron Gates I project (owned jointly with Yugoslavia) on the Danube. Persistent energy shortages in the mid-1980s led to the rationing of electricity. Rationing was also imposed on fossil fuels, which Romania was exporting in order to earn badly needed foreign exchange revenues.

Currency and Banking

The basic monetary unit of Romania is the leu, divided into 100 bani; the leu was devalued in October 1990 to an official rate of 35 equal U.S.$1. All banking institutions were nationalized by the Communist government. The National Bank (1880) is the bank of issue and supervises the financial activities of all state enterprises. Romania also has an agricultural bank, an investment bank, and savings and deposit banks.

Foreign Trade

From the mid-1940s through the 1980s, foreign trade in Romania was a state monopoly. Exports were about $11.4 billion per year in the late 1980s; the principal items included fuels, machinery, furniture, textile products, and chemicals. Imports, valued at about $12.5 billion annually, included crude petroleum and industrial equipment. The Soviet Union and other Communist nations were Romania's leading trade partners, but Romania also had significantly increased its trade with West Germany (now part of the united Federal Republic of Germany), Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Great Britain, and Egypt since the early 1970s.
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Transportation

Romania has about 11,275 km (about 7005 mi) of railroad track and about 72,800 km (about 45,235 mi) of roads. The principal seaports are Constanta, on the Black Sea, and Galati and Braila, neighbors on the lower Danube; Giurgiu, which has pipeline connections to the Ploieþti oil fields, is an important river port. A canal, opened in 1984, links Constanta with Cernavoda, a Danube River port. The merchant fleet has a total displacement of about 5.4 million deadweight tons. The state airlines TAROM and LAR link Bucharest with other Romanian and foreign cities.
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Communications

Postal, telegraph, and telephone services in Romania are state owned. In the late 1980s the country had some 2 million telephones in service. In addition, about 3.2 million radios and 3.9 million television receivers were licensed. The country had about 495 newspapers and periodicals, 52 of which served the non-Romanian minorities.
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Labor

In the late 1980s the Romanian work force numbered about 10.7 million persons, about 70% of whom were members of workers' organizations that were affiliated with the General Trade Union Confederation.
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Trade relations

While the USSR and the Eastern European states were the primary Romanian trade partners in the 1960s, trade and diplomatic relations with the non-Communist world improved steadily. In January 1967 Romania became the only Communist nation other than the USSR to establish full diplomatic relations with West Germany (now part of the united Federal Republic of Germany), and at about the same time the first Communist nation to open consular relations with Spain. Trade with the Soviet Union, which had accounted for more than 50 percent of Romanian foreign trade in the late 1950s, was reduced to an estimated 30 percent in 1967.
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Government

Romania was governed according to a constitution adopted in August 1965, as amended. After the Ceausescu regime was toppled in December 1989, the Council of National Salvation, consisting predominantly of former Communists, wielded executive power. Presidential and legislative elections were held in May 1990. A new constitution approved by popular referendum in December 1991 declared Romania to be a multiparty presidential republic and guaranteed human rights and a free-market economy.

Executive and Legislature

Under the 1965 constitution, executive power was theoretically vested in the Grand National Assembly, which only met for short sessions. Between assembly sessions, executive power rested with the State Council, which was elected by the Grand National Assembly from among its members and was headed by the president, who was also head of state and leader of the Communist party. The interim government elected in May 1990 consisted of a president and a bicameral parliament, directly elected by universal suffrage. The lower house, or national assembly, had 387 seats, including 10 guaranteed for national minorities; the upper house, or senate, had 119 seats.

Judiciary

The supreme court is Romania's highest judicial authority, and its members supervise the lower courts. Lesser tribunals include district and local courts.
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Defense

Military service is compulsory for all men for a period of 16 months in the army or air force or two years in the navy. In the late 1980s the armed forces numbered 171,000, of whom 128,000 were in the army, about 9000 in the navy, and 34,000 in the air force. The Securitate, a well-armed secret police force loyal to Ceausescu, was subordinated to the army after the 1989 uprising.
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History

The territory that is modern Romania first appeared in history as the greater part of the Roman province of Dacia, conquered by Emperor Trajan about ad 106. Most of its inhabitants, known as the Daci, had originally emigrated from Thrace in northern Greece. Roman colonists were sent into the province, and Rome developed the area considerably, building roads, bridges, and a great wall, its ruins still visible, from the present Black Sea port of Constanta across the Dobruja (Dobrogea) region to the Danube River. During the 3d century ad, raids by the Goths became so grave a menace that the Roman legions were withdrawn across the Danube. While successive waves of invaders, including Goths, Huns, Slavs, and Bulgars, made Dacia a battleground, the Romanized population preserved a Latin speech and identity. Gradually, through intermarriage and assimilation with Slavonic tribes, these people developed into a distinct ethnic group, called Walachians or, in Slavonic, Vlachs, whose nomadic and warlike customs became a constant threat to the neighboring Byzantine Empire. Under Bulgarian rule, in the 9th century, the Orthodox form of Christianity was introduced. About the end of the 13th century Hungarian expansion by Magyars drove many of the people from the western provinces to settle south and east of the Carpathians. Here they established the principalities of Walachia and later that of Moldavia, each ruled by native princes, or voivodes (Russian voevoda, ôleader of an armyö), many of whom acknowledged the suzerainty of the kings of Hungary or Poland. With the defeat of the Hungarians by the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Mohßcs in 1526, Moldavia and Walachia came under Turkish rule, which lasted for three centuries. At the close of the 16th century the two principalities were temporarily united by Prince Michael of Walachia (reigned 1593-1601), who made continual war on the Turkish sultan in an attempt to gain and maintain independence. For a time Michael successfully opposed the Ottomans; he conquered Transylvania in 1599 and Moldavia in 1600, but he was assassinated the following year, and the spirit of independence waned. The Ottomans restored their control of the principalities after Michael's death, imposing severe political restrictions. Finally the Romanians turned to Russia for help. Because of the decline of Turkish power and the growing influence of Russia in the early 18th century, the Ottoman government established the so-called Phanariot system. Moldavia and Walachia were ruled through Turkish-appointed hospodars (Old Slav gospodŒ, ôlordö), usually members of Greek families from Constantinople. Many Romanian boyars, or nobles, allied themselves with ruling Greek families, and Greek became the official language. Russian influence became preeminent after 1750 and remained so for a century. In 1774 Russia defeated Turkey, which was then forced to promise lenient treatment of Moldavia and Walachia. In 1802 Russia obtained a voice in the appointment of hospodars, and in 1812, having again defeated Turkey in the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-12, obtained Bessarabia, which had previously been part of the principality of Moldavia. The weakening of Turkish influence became more evident after the start of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. By the Treaty of Adrianople, which ended the Greek war in 1829, the principalities, although remaining nominally under Turkish control, became more autonomous. The Phanariot system was ended, and Russia became the unacknowledged suzerain of the two states, a situation disapproved of by the great European powers, which had begun to intervene in Balkan affairs during the Greek war.

Unification and Independence

After the Russian defeat in the Crimean War, the powers ended the Russian protectorate and returned part of Bessarabia to Moldavia. Under the joint control of France, Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Turkey, the question of union became a major concern. It was resolved by Walachia and Moldavia themselves when, in 1859, Colonel Alexandru Ion Cuza (1820-73) was elected as the common prince. In 1861 the two states were united and recognized by the Turkish sultan as the autonomous principality of Romania. A single ministry and legislature were established at Bucharest. Prince Alexandru Ion I was deposed by a conspiracy in 1866. A provisional government then elected Prince Karl Eitel Friedrich of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who took office as Carol I and was invested as hereditary prince by the sultan. A constitution based on the Belgian charter of 1831 was adopted on his arrival. Carol entered the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 as a Russian ally and proclaimed the complete independence of Romania. The Congress of Berlin in 1878 recognized Romanian independence, but Romania was forced to restore its part of Bessarabia to Russia. In 1881 Romania proclaimed itself a kingdom. Neutral during the First Balkan War against Turkey in 1912, Romania joined Serbia and Greece in the Second Balkan War (1913) against Bulgaria in 1913. By the Treaty of Bucharest on August 10, 1913, Romania obtained the southern Dobruja region, which its army had occupied, and thus became the largest Balkan power.

World War I

When war began, Carol, despite his friendship with Austria, declared Romania neutral. The king's death, in October 1914, placed his nephew Ferdinand I on the throne. The kingdom was officially neutral until 1916, when Romanian forces invaded Hungarian Transylvania, but Austro-German and Bulgarian armies shattered Romanian power in less than six months and by the end of January 1917 controlled most of the country. With the triumph of the Allies in November 1918, however, Romania reentered the war on November 10 and reoccupied Transylvania and other territories. By the treaties of Saint Germain (with Austria) and Trianon (with Hungary), Romania was awarded sovereignty over most of Bukovina, all of Transylvania, a strip of the Hungarian plain west of the Transylvanian uplands (Criþana-Maramures), and the northeastern portion of the Banat, a total of 133,765 sq km (51,647 sq mi). Romania also occupied Bessarabia and was confirmed in its position there by the Allies, although Russia refused to acknowledge Romanian sovereignty of the area. As a result of the postwar settlements, Romania more than doubled its area. After World War I the Romanian government struggled with domestic problems of constitutional reform, agrarian reform, and lagging economic reconstruction. The Liberal party was in power, led by Ion Br tianu, who from 1922 to 1926, and again in 1927, was virtually dictator. A new constitution was adopted in 1923; one of its provisions was the political emancipation of the Jews. Peasant opposition to the Liberal government and the regime's dictatorial policies caused almost constant political discord, however. In foreign relations, dissension continued with the Soviet Union concerning the ownership of Bessarabia. In 1925 the crown prince renounced his right to the throne, preferring to live in exile with his mistress, Magda Lupescu (1896?-1977); his son Michael (1921- ) was declared heir-apparent and succeeded to the throne in 1927, with his uncle as regent. In 1928 opposition to the policies of Bratianu resulted in the rise to power of the National Peasants' party, under the leadership of Iuliu Maniu (1873-1953), with a program of reform, decentralization of government, and extended popular representation. Maniu became premier in 1928 and supported the exiled crown prince, who returned to Bucharest in 1930 as King Carol II, despite bitter opposition by the Liberals. Economic conditions within Romania became increasingly grave. Political dissension was heightened by the growth of a native Romanian Fascist party, the so-called Iron Guard, under Corneliu Zelea-Codreanu (1899?-1938). A growing tendency toward fascism in government was evidenced by severe anti-Jewish laws, rigid censorship, and attempts by King Carol to make himself dictator, in which he ultimately succeeded (1938).

World War II

Although Romania was initially neutral in World War II, its internal policies aligned it with the Axis powers and led to a policy of friendship toward Germany. In June 1940, without opposition from Germany, with which it had signed a nonaggression pact in August 1939, the Soviet Union occupied Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. On August 20, at the demand of Germany and Italy, Romania ceded 44,988 sq km (17,370 sq mi) of Transylvania to Hungary, and on September 7, southern Dobruja was ceded to Bulgaria. The German army occupied Romania under the pretext of protecting the oil fields from British attack. In the ensuing unrest Carol named General Ion Antonescu, a sympathizer with the Iron Guard, as dictator. The king was forced to abdicate on September 6, 1940, and he left the country. Carol's successor, Michael, was king only in name, the real power being held by General Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Popular riots were met with massacres. Romania, led by Antonescu, entered World War II in June 1941 by attacking the Soviet Union at the same time as Germany did. Romanian troops reoccupied Bessarabia and Bukovina and by October 1941 had penetrated as far as Odessa. In December the kingdom declared war on the United States. Opposition to Antonescu and political unrest continued, led on one hand by the anti-German Iron Guard and on the other by the National Peasants' party. The swift Soviet advance in the spring of 1944 brought the Red army back to Bessarabia and Bukovina and deep into Romanian territory. Aided by the imminent arrival of Soviet troops, King Michael and several loyal generals led a coup on the night of August 23, arrested Antonescu and his cabinet, and announced the surrender of Romania. On September 12, the Soviet Union signed an armistice with Romania in Moscow. A so-called Democratic Front government, approved by the USSR, took over Romanian administration as a coalition of Communist, Liberal, and National Peasants' parties. Gradually the Communist party acquired supreme control. In March 1945 a coalition cabinet was formed under Petru Groza (1884-1958), leader of the Plowmen's party (a splinter group of the National Peasants), with the key positions held by Communists. In January 1946, at the request of the Council of Foreign Ministers (Great Britain, United States, USSR), two opposition members were added, but they had little voice. On official pledges by the Romanian government that free elections would be held, the United States and Great Britain recognized the government on February 5. The results of the election on November 19, 1946, were declared fraudulent by the various opposition parties, who received a total of 66 out of 414 seats. On December 30, 1947, King Michael abdicated under Communist pressure, and the government at once proclaimed Romania a people's republic and vested supreme authority in a five-member state council. A new constitution was adopted on April 13, 1948, based on that of the USSR. By the peace treaty signed in Paris on February 10, 1947, between Romania and the Allies, northern Transylvania was returned to Romania, and the other land transfers of 1940 were validated. Reparations to the Soviet Union of $300 million in raw materials, machinery, sea and river craft, and other commodities were designed to be paid within eight years but were reduced by half in 1948. The peace treaty also limited the strength of the Romanian armed forces and stipulated that the Romanian people should enjoy all personal liberties.

Soviet Influence

The reorganization of Romanian cultural institutions to conform with Soviet models was the chief domestic development during 1948 and 1949. The process of sovietization included frequent purges of dissidents, and twice in 1949 the United States and Great Britain accused Romania of systematic violation of human rights guarantees in the peace treaty. In November 1950 the charge was upheld by the United Nations General Assembly. New constitutions were adopted in 1952 and 1965, but the Soviet pattern of government was followed in each change. Throughout the postwar period Romanian leadership remained stable. Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (1901-65), secretary of the Communist party since 1945, became premier in 1952. He turned the latter office over to Chivu Stoica (1908-75) in 1955. Petru Groza, who had assumed the largely ceremonial office of president in 1952, died in 1958 and was succeeded by Ion Gheorghe Maurer (1902- ), who in turn became premier in 1961, Gheorghiu-Dej assuming the presidency. At the latter's death in 1965, Stoica assumed the presidency, and Nicolae Ceauþescu became party secretary. Ceauþescu, Maurer, and Stoica functioned as a collective leadership, but Ceauþescu was the dominant figure, becoming president in 1967. Throughout the 1950s the government emphasized the nationalization and development of industry. This effort proved highly successful, and in the 1960s the official estimates of the national industrial growth rate averaged about 12 percent annuallyùamong the highest in Eastern Europe. Agricultural collectivization was begun in July 1949, and in 1962 the government announced that all arable land had been absorbed into the socialized sector. Farmers were permitted, however, to retain half-acre plots for private use. In the early postwar years, under Soviet domination, Romania cooperated fully in the Cominform, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, known as COMECON, or CMEA, and, after 1955, the Warsaw Pact. From the early 1960s on, however, Romania began to exercise a considerable degree of independence. In 1963 the government rejected COMECON plans for the integration of the economies of the Communist states, chiefly because the plans restricted Romania to a role as supplier of oil, grains, and primary materials. Romanians thought these plans would hinder their rate of industrial growth, which had been higher in the past several years than that of any other satellite country. Romanian protests gained some concessions in the form of Soviet aid for the development of a major steel plant at Galati. The government nevertheless issued a so-called declaration of independence from COMECON proposals in 1964.
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Foreign affairs

In 1964 Premier Maurer visited Beijing and Moscow in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the two Communist powers. Thereafter, Romanian foreign policy indicated continuing independence. Ceauþescu urged the withdrawal of Soviet troops from East Germany (now part of the united Federal Republic of Germany), Poland, and Hungary. Also, in the face of Soviet attempts to strengthen the Warsaw pact, Ceauþescu suggested the abolition of the Warsaw Pact and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He refused to participate in the pact maneuvers. In mid-1967 Romania boycotted a conference of Communist countries called by the USSR, chiefly to criticize U.S. activity in Vietnam. When the Warsaw Pact nations, led by the Soviet Union, invaded Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia) in August 1968, Romania took a strongly anti-Soviet stand.

The 1970s and 1980s

Romania continued to pursue a nonaligned foreign policy, despite the disapproval of the Soviet bloc. It actively increased its contacts with the West. After a visit from U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1969, it sent President Ceauþescu several times to the U.S.; his missions resulted in the U.S. granting Romania ômost-favored-nationö status in 1975 and a 10-year economic pact in 1976. Romania joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972 and in 1976 signed the first formal pact (on textiles) between the European Economic Community and an East European state. As head of the only East European nation to recognize both Israel and Egypt, Ceauþescu helped arrange Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat's historic peacemaking visit to Israel in 1977. Romania signed a friendship treaty with the USSR (1970), received Soviet Communist party chief Leonid I. Brezhnev (1976), and sent Ceauþescu to the Soviet Union and East Germany (now part of the united Federal Republic of Germany). Romania also made a treaty of friendship with Hungary (1972) and agreements on hydroelectricity with Yugoslavia (1976) and Bulgaria (1977). It joined the Communist International Investment Bank in 1971. Taking an unprecedented step outside the Soviet bloc, Ceauþescu visited the People's Republic of China in 1971, subsequently signing economic and air transport agreements. In 1980, he refused to endorse the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Accommodating in foreign policy, Ceausescu strictly enforced Communist orthodoxy in domestic affairs. In 1971 he cracked down on all deviation in party, government, and cultural leadership. He was reelected head of state in 1975, and the party and government were reorganized in 1977. Despite enormous damage caused by severe floods in 1970 and 1975 and an earthquake in 1977, the economy grew, especially heavy industry and foreign trade. Real wages rose slowly, and Romania was beset with shortages of food, fuel, and electricity in the 1980s, as Ceauþescu used virtually all of Romania's hard currency reserves to pay off the nation's $11-billion foreign debt. Popular resentment of the Communist leadership was aggravated by a forced resettlement program, announced in 1988, that called for the destruction of up to 8000 villages.
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Travel - International

AIR: Romania’s national airline is Tarom (RO). Other airlines that fly to Bucharest include Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss.

Approximate flight times: From Bucharest to London is 3 hours 10 minutes.

International airports: Bucharest (BUH) (Otopeni) (website: http://www.otp-airport.ro/) is 16km (10 miles) north of the city (travel time – 25 minutes). The airport has been greatly modernised in the past few years, but some visitors may find it relatively limited compared to Western European or American standards. A bar, snack bar, restaurant, 24-hour left luggage, 24-hour first aid, post office, car hire and full duty-free facilities are available. There is an express bus service (Bus no. 783) which runs every 15 minutes between 0530-2330 Mon-Fri and every 30 minutes Sat-Sun and holidays; the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. Taxis, minibuses and limousines are available 24 hours (travel time – 25 minutes).
There are also international airports at Constanta (CND) (Mihail Kogalniceanu), Timisoara (TSR), Arad (ARW), Sibiu (SBZ), and Cluj (CLJ).

Departure tax: None.

SEA/RIVER: The main international passenger port is Constanta on the Black Sea. Sea ferries: Not running at present. Contact the Romanian National Tourist Office for up-to-date information (see Contact Addresses section). River cruises: Sailings from Passau to Constanta on the Black Sea along the Danube are available; these stop at various places of interest, including Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Bazias, Giurgiu, Calafat and Bucharest. The cruises incorporate varied itineraries: historic towns, museums, art collections, monasteries, spas, archaeological sites, folk evenings, nature reserves and of course, the dramatic scenery of Eastern Europe, including the ‘Iron Gate’ through the Carpathians. With the opening of the Main-Danube Canal, some companies now offer travel as far west as Rotterdam along the Rhine. For further information, contact the Romanian Tourism Promotion Office (see Contact Addresses section).

RAIL: The main international train from Western Europe to Romania (Bucharest) is the Wiener Waltzer, which runs to Bucharest in summer only (June to September) and includes two nights’ travel from Basel, arriving in Bucharest two days later. There are no through carriages from Basel, which means moving to the Bucharest coaches in Vienna. As well as day carriages, there are sleeping cars from Vienna to both Bucharest and Constanta on the Black Sea coast. There are also through trains from other Eastern European cities. InterRail allows unrestricted train travel in Romania.

ROAD: The most direct international routes to Romania are via Germany, Austria and Hungary. The best route from Hungary is the E64 from Budapest to Szeged through Arad, Brasov, Campina and Ploiesti. There is also a route from Szeged to Timisoara. A more frequently used route from Hungary to Germany is via the E60 through Oradea. Eurolines, departing from Victoria Coach Station in London, serves destinations in Romania. For further information, contact Eurolines (4 Cardiff Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, L41 1PP; tel: (08705) 143 219; fax: (01582) 400 694; website: http://www.eurolines.com/ or http://www.nationalexpress.com/). For permit regulations, see Documentation in Travel – Internal.

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Dorin and Maria Paraschiv  Guest House, Starchiojd village, Grui street, Prahova county, Romania

contact us by e-mail : contact@vacance-roumanie.com

 Phone : 0040 766564117