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Brief Facts

Capital:
Bucharest (2.6 million)
Population:
22.2 million
Languages:
Romanian 91.0% (official); Hungarian 6.7%; Romany (Gypsy) 1.1%
Religions:
Eastern Orthodox 86.8%; Protestant 7.5%; Catholic 4.7%
Time Zone:
UTC/GMT +2 hours (+3 hours with Eastern European Summer Time)
International Dialling Code:
+40
Additional Facts
Location:
Southeast Europe
Neighbouring Countries:
Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine
Birth Rate:
9.58 per 1000
Death Rate:
11.78 per 1000
Life Expectancy at birth:
73.74 years (male 70.26; female 77.42)
Literacy:
97.3 % (male 98.4%; female 96.3%)
Government Type:
Republic
Climate:
Temperate; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow and fog; sunny summers with frequent showers and thunderstorms
Currency:
Leu (RON)
Basic Facts Only
ROMANIA is the largest country in south-eastern Europe.  After the overthrow of Communist rule in the revolution of 1989-90, Romania joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 2004; and the European Union (EU) in 2007.

 


Historical Background

Romanians trace their origins back to the Indo-Europeans and indigenous peoples of the Dacian Kingdom of the first century BC. Another strain was added following conquest and integration by the Romans in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The Daco-Roman civilisation survived eight centuries of barbarian invasions and the Ottoman Turkish expansion of the early modern period.

During the 18th century Austria, Russia and the Ottoman Empire all laid claims to parts of the country, and in order to recoup lost territory, Romania fought on the side of the Allies in World War I, and the Axis Powers in World War II. At the end of WWII Romania was occupied by the Soviets and became a Communist ‘people’s republic’.

Tens of thousands were incarcerated and thousands died in prisons or labour camps in an era of repression that continued until the 1989-90 revolution when the last communist president Nicolae Ceausescu was executed. But only in the last decade, under a new Centrist government has the economy shown sufficient signs of growth for EU accession, and Romania finally joined the union in January 2007.

Traian Basescu has served as President and Calin Tariceanu Prime Minister since 2004.

 


Geography

Romania is a Balkan country bordering the Black Sea, between Ukraine to the north and Bulgaria to the south. It is roughly the same size as the UK with an area of 92,000 sq miles, evenly divided between mountains (31%), hills (33%) and plains (36%).  The Carpathian Mountains form a great arc through the varied relief forms.  he most important river is the Danube. It marks part of the border with Bulgaria and where it flows into the Black Sea, it forms the largest delta in Europe. Nearly 40% of the land is arable. Natural resources include minerals and oil.

Romania has a temperate and continental climate. Winters are cold and cloudy with frequent snowfalls, and average temperatures ranging from 5˚C to -15˚C. Summers are generally hot, with some showers and thunderstorms, and average temperatures ranging between 28˚C - 35˚C.

 


Society & Culture

Around 7% of the population is Hungarian, most of whom live in the Transylvanian district which borders Hungary. Most Hungarians in this area use their own language including in schools and civil administration. 

The Roma (Gypsey) population in Romania often face social and economic discrimination and have high levels of illiteracy and poor living conditions. 

The Romanian language is Latin-based Romance-language, despite the fact that many surrounding countries are Slav speakers. It uses a 31 letter alphabet. 

Romanian food is similar to other Eastern European countries. Pork is the preferred meat and popular dishes include grilled meatballs, meat wrapped in cabbage leaves, pork stew with garlic and onions, various soups and doughnuts made with cream and cheese.

The vast majority of the population are ethnic Romanians, (around 89%), with Hungarians, Roma (Gypseys), Germans, Ukrainians, Armenians, Croatians, Serbians and Turks making up the most of the remainder. 

 


Economy

Romania's economy was traditionally based on agriculture and in the 1930s Romania was one of the main European producers of wheat, corn and meats. Heavy industries were developed under communism, but agriculture still remains very important and employing around 30% of the workforce.

Agricultural products include corn, wheat, vegetable oil seeds, vegetables, apples and grapes for wine, with sheep and pigs the main livestock.  

Romania has considerable natural resources including, oil, natural gas, coal, iron, copper and bauxite. Major industries include metal-working, petrochemicals and mechanical engineering, textiles and manufactured consumer goods. 

Since 1990, much effort has been put into turning Romania into a market economy. A middle-class has slowly emerged and the country’s poverty levels are falling. Romania gained entry to the European Union on 1 January 2007 and hopes to be in a position to join the Euro-zone by 2014.

Corruption and bureaucracy continue to hinder economic development.   

 


Christianity in Romania

Under the persecution of Ceausescu’s regime many churches were destroyed. The Christian church still faces a struggle. 86.8% of the population may be members of the Romanian Orthodox Church, but Romania is a secular state with no official religion. Controls are still in place, with the government affording official recognition to only 15 religious groups. Recent legislation requires denominations to have at least 20,000 members before they can officially register.

PCI partners with the Hungarian Reformed Church in Romania, in the districts of Transylvania and Kiralyhagomellek.



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This page was last updated: 30/04/13
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