Romania is the largest country within South-East Europe, sharing borders Ukraine to the north, with the Republic of Moldova to the East, with the Black Sea to the South-East, with Bulgaria to the south, with Serbia in the South-West and with Hungary to the West – Northwest.
Romania’s territory is equally distributed between mountains, hills, lowlands territories with numerous rivers and lakes. The Carpathian Mountains (known also as the Transylvanian Alps) dominate the central Romania. They are surrounded by the Moldavian and the Transylvanian plateaus followed by the Pannonian plain to the West and the very fertile plain of Wallachia to the South.
Our forests cover approx. 20% of our territory so the fauna is one of the richest in Europe including bears, deer, lynx, chamois and wolves. The legendary Danube River ends its eight-country journey at the Black Sea, after forming one of the largest and most bio-diverse wetlands in the world, the Danube Delta.
Europe’s oldest remains of modern human were discovered in the “Cave with Bones” in present day Romania and are estimated to be 42,000 years old. However the first written history of the country was about the Getae tribes and dates back in 440 BCE. The Dacians, believed to be part of the Getae, made its greatest expansion during the reign of King Burebista in 82 BC. When the Romans left Dacia, the region was attacked by the Goths, then by the Huns.
During the late Middle Ages, Moldova and Wallachia were under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire while Transylvania was occupied by the Austrian-Hungarians. The Romanian inhabitants, especially in Transylvania, faced several suppressions and were often not even considered to be citizens (as it was the case with the city of Brasov where they not allowed to live within the city walls).
In 1600, Michael the Brave united for the first time the three principalities under one flag, but one year later he was assassinated by the Hungarians and the unification dissolved. 1699 Transylvania became a possession of the expanding Austrian Empire, which acquired also a large part of Wallachia in 1718 and returned it in 1739. Shortly afterwards (1775), northern Moldova was also occupied, while the rest of the province fell 1812 under the Russian influence.
The desire of forming an independent national state emerged also in the three Romanian historical provinces and led to several uprisings against the occupying powers, the most important one being the one of Tudor Vladimirescu in 1821. The revolution year of 1848 which started in France expanded very rapidly and reached also the three Romanian provinces. They failed to achieve their goal but opened the path of free election of Alexandru Ioan Cuza as ruler in both Wallachia and Moldova (with the support of the Great Powers) and the foundation of the first state of Romania . Though, because of internal struggles for power and the thread of the Ottoman Empire unhappy with the independence policy of this new state, a foreign prince was brought to rulership ower Romania.
During the Russo-Turkish War Romania defended with the Russian, and the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, the Great Powers declared the country as an independent nation. The country joined the Axis during World War II. It supplied the Nazi Germany with oil resulting to numerous attacks from the Allies. Eventually Romania changed sides and united with the Allies but the Paris Peace Conference of 1947 did not recognize its role in the defeat of the Nazi Germany.
In the Middle Ages Romanians lived in three distinct principalities: Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. Moldavia and Wallachia were under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire while Transylvania was occupied by the Austrian-Hungarians. Modern Romania was formed in 1859 through the union of Wallachia and Moldavia, and then extended in 1918 through the union of Transylvania, as well as Bukovina and Basarabia.
With approx. 2.3 million inhabitants Bucharest is the largest city of Romania. Other 20 cities are over 100.000 inhabitants, among them Iasi, Cluj Napoca and Timisoara are over 300.000 while other five are over 200.000 – Ploiesti, Constanta, Craiova, Brasov and Galati.
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