Romania - Terra Incognita - "The Unknown Territory"

Romania - Terra Incognita - "The Unknown Territory"

Whatever the stereotypes are that you have of Romania – you are right and wrong at the same time!

Romania has always been an unknown, mysterious, and sometimes even scary country in Eastern Europe – a true TERRA INCOGNITA. Not much was known about the country and its people for a long time, as it has existed at the edge of Europe and not at the center of worldwide attention.

Romania has always been a secluded country, following its own path. One of the reasons for this seclusion was that the country constituted a Roman speaking “island”, sandwiched between a Slavic environment in the west and south and Turkish influences in the East. Romania’s ties have always been much closer to the Roman speaking countries France and Italy than to their neighboring countries of Hungary, Serbia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria.

Although the Romanian people have been living in their territory for nearly 2000 years, the country itself was only constituted in the 19th century. This happened when the principalities of Wallachia and Moldova united - at that time still a large part of today’s Romania (Transylvania) - forming a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Just as much as the country is historically divided – it is also geographically separated by the Carpathian Mountains. They split the country into the lowland regions facing the Black Sea and the more mountainous regions in the North West – Transylvania!

Transylvania literally means “the land behind the woods”. A mountainous and very well forested area, it has always been the mysterious region with castles and fortifications where Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula, was born. This setting served as the background for many scary stories, featuring the cruel and barbarous rulers like Vlad Tepes and later on Nicolai Ceausescu.

Today, Romania is a member of the European Union and slowly finding its way into the European community. Despite spending most of its history at the edge of Europe, it has finally moved back in with the family of European countries. Not only with its Romanian speaking majority but also with its Hungarian, German (the current President is of German descent), and Gipsy population.

Although Romania is still one of the poorest countries within the EU, it is a nation that is moving rapidly from the dark ages of the Ceausescu era into the modern world of the European Union.

A territory that moves - from TERRA INCOGNITA to TERRA COGNITA – from an unknown to a known country!

 

 

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