Here are 50 of the most interesting facts about Romania, a South-Western European country that’s definitely worth checking out!
Romania is beautiful, full of interesting architecture, fun things to do and has a dark and intriguing history. It’s also an extremely affordable place to visit!
What’s not to like?
I wanted to learn all I could about the country so I compiled this list of the most interesting facts about Romania to encourage other travellers to visit and to give people already here some more insight!
50 Interesting Facts About Romania
- The capital city of Romania, Bucharest, has a population of nearly 2-million people (unofficially 3-million). This makes it the 7th largest city in the European Union right behind Vienna and Paris.
- Many famous books used different regions in Romania as the main setting. Dracula by Bram Stoker is one that most people are familiar with and it’s said that Transylvania is home to the real Dracula, Vlad Tepes. Jules Verne and his book “The Castle in the Carpathian’s” also focusses heavily on the Transylvanian regions.
- The country is full of some of the most beautiful castles in Europe such as Peles Castle, Bran Castle and Corvin Castle.
- The Danube to Black Sea canal, obviously connecting the Danube River with the Black Sea, is one of the longest man-made navigational routes. Only the Panama Canal in Central America and the Suez Canal in Egypt are larger.
- Romania has the largest concentration of Roma people than anywhere else in Europe.
- The country is so diverse that you can go from skiing in the Carpathian’s to walking through the Bucharest metropolis to swimming in the Black Sea in one day if you were so inclined.
- Nearly 200,000 business have their headquarters in Bucharest, compromising of almost one-third of the country’s entire GDP.
- Bran Castle, near the cities of Bran and Brasov, is a popular tourist destination and is regarded as the home of Dracula, or Vlad Tepes. Although it’s hard to say if the man we know as Dracula ever lived at this castle, or even visited it more than a handful of times, tens of thousands of people visit everywhere hoping to catch a glimpse of the fanged individual.
- In Bucharest you’ll find the second largest building in the world, the Palace of Parliament.
- In 2002 a cave was discovered in Southern Romania full of human bones and in-tact skeletons. Research was done and it turns out that the bones were almost 40,000 years old providing researchers and historians with quite a large amount of data regarding human history.
- The vast forests in Transylvania and the Carpathian’s have some of the highest concentrations of bears, wolves and lynx in all of Europe. Check them out if you’re looking to spot some unique and captivating wildlife!
- Head to Sibiu and visit the Astra Museum. It’s one of the biggest outdoor museums in the world, number one or number two depending who you ask, and you’ll be pleased to find an enormous outdoor exhibit with more than 320 buildings .
- In 1869 Timisoara was the first city to ever use horse-drawn trams.
- Romania is home to the most beautiful road in the world, as coined by Top Gear. The Transfagarasan Highway cuts through the heart of the Carpathian’s and is packed with scenic views and hairpin curves. Looking to go on an amazing Sunday drive or day trip from Bucharest? Head to the Transfagarasan Highway and let loose!
- In Sapanta Peri, Maramures stands the tallest wooden church in the entire world. The church stands at over 85 meters tall and on a clear day can be seen from many kilometers away.
- Not only is there plenty of wildlife in the Transylvanian Carpathian’s but the area is one of densest and heavily wooded areas in all of Europe.
- The current Romanian language, with a few phonetic changes of course, has been spoken for over 1300 years.
- One of the biggest and heaviest organs in Europe can be found in Brasov at the famous Black Church.
- More than 10,000 people are bitten by stray-dogs in Bucharest every year. It’s one of the leading causes of injury in the city.
- Bucharest is extremely well-connected. In a few hours you can reach Belgrade, Budapest, Sofia and even Istanbul. It’s a great starting point for exploring the Balkans.
- One of the best preserved European river delta’s, the Danube River Delta, enters the Black Sea on the Romanian coast after flowing across the entire country.
- Romania was the only communist country in the Warsaw Pact to violently put an end to the country’s communist reign and overthrew the government with force.
- Nadia Comaneci, a Romanian gymnast, was the first Olympian to ever receive a perfect-10 score. This was during the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
- Romania encompasses an area of nearly 240,000 square kilometers. It’s compareable in size to the United Kingdom.
- Hungarians make up the second-largest demographic of people living in Romania after Romanian’s themselves. However, you might hear locals arguing that it’s the Roma people (gypsies) who are second.
- The 2015 summer season was the hottest that many cities in Romania experienced in over 80 years.
- Romania is currently a member of the European Union and is undergoing big changes in order to join the Schengen zone.
- There are more than 300 cities and nearly 13,000 villages in the entire country.
- The name “Romania” is derived from the word “Romanus” which is an old Latin word meaning “citizens of the Roman Empire”. There is a statue in the Bucharest Old Town dedicated to Romulus, the supposed founder of Rome.
- Some of the oldest cave drawings and paintings in Europe were found in a Southern-Romanian cave, Coliboaia.
- Almost 1,400 floral species exist in the Carpathian Mountains that run through Romania.
- The Danube River turns into its narrowest part at the Iron Gates, a natural channel that the river carved through the Balkan and Carpathian mountains.
- Henri Coanda, a Romanian born engineer, invented the modern jet engine. The country’s largest airport is named after him.
- The first city in Europe to have electric street lighting was Timisoara, located in the Western part of the country.
- Similarly, Peles Castle was the first castle in Europe to be lit using electrical current.
- The first industrial oil refinery in the world was opened in Ploiesti, just south of Bucharest. This happened in 1857 and it was nearly three more years until oil was even discovered in the United States.
- Sarmiza Bilcescu was the first woman to not only gain admission to the Paris Law School but the first in Europe to gain a PHD and subsequently begin a profession as a lawyer.
- Regions in Romania have been producing wine for more than 4,000 years.
- Today, Romania is the 20th largest producer of wine worldwide.
- The public transportation system in Bucharest, RATB, is the 4th largest and most extensive in all of Europe.
- Strada Sforii, known in English as the Rope Street, is said to be the narrowest street in Europe.
- Cold Mountain, a hollywood movie including famous actors like Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, was filmed in Romania, specifically the Transylvanian region and Poiana Brasov.
- The actor who played the original Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, was born near Timisoara.
- The banks of the Danube River as it runs through Romania are reinforced and lined with more than 180 million cubic feet of concrete.
- The fountain pen, which is used around the world today, was invented and patented by Petrache Poenaru, who lived in Craiova.
- The majority of the people in Romania are Christian’s and adhere to Eastern Orthodox practices
- Bucharest, and Romania itself, is one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
- The Scarisoara Glacier, a glacier located underground, is the second biggest in Europe.
- Clay tablets found in Tartaria represent an example of the earliest known form of writing throughout history and are one of the best preserved window’s to the past in the world.
- Bucharest and many other cities in Romania are making an effort to purge corruption and improve the quality of life. In a few years you can expect to see these cities becoming serious players on the international travel and tourism markets.
So there you have it – 50 of the best and most interesting facts about Romania!
Did I miss anything? Or do you have any cool facts you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!