Fascinating Facts About Romania
I’m realizing that most of my fellow Americans don’t know much about Romania, so I’ve collected a few interesting facts about this incredible country (hardly a full list–not enough time to list EVERYTHING!). After reading through this partial list of what makes Romania worth knowing, be sure to check out the snowshoe trip I have planned in Transylvania in February 2022!
Romania is home to the second-largest administrative building for civilian use in the world. Only the Pentagon is bigger! The construction is 270 meters wide and 86 meters tall, has 1,100 rooms, most of which are empty, eight underground levels, and a nuclear bunker linked to other government buildings through tunnels. This construction contains 3,500 tons of crystal, 480 chandeliers, and 700,000 tons of steel and bronze. Guinness Book has ranked the Palace of Parliament as the most expensive administrative building and the world’s heaviest one.
It’s the birthplace of good coffee. Francesco Illy, the founder of the Italian coffee roasting company, was actually born in Timișoara, Romania. He later moved to Vienna, and then the Italian city of Trieste.
Bucharest has one of the world’s prettiest book stores. Cărturești Carusel opened in 2015 in a restored 19th century building. It contains more than 10,000 books, among other things.
Romania is home to the world’s most beautiful road. In his search for the “world’s best driving road” Jeremy Clarkson declared that he had found it in the middle of Romania – in the form of the Transfagarasan highway. Whichever way you look at it, it is an extraordinary feat of engineering: a stretch of tarmac packed with tunnels, viaducts and bridges and which takes the skill of navigating hairpin bends to new heights.
The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.” The Romanian language is 1,700 years old and it is the only Latin language spoken in Eastern Europe.
The most famous novels inspired by Romania are “The Castle in the Carpathians” by Jules Verne, and “Dracula” by Bram Stoker. Also, Nobel Literature Prizewinner Elie Wiesel was Romanian.
Romania is one of the world’s largest wine producers–ranked 13th in the world.
Romania is home to Europe’s largest population of brown bears. According to a 2014 wild animal census, Romania’s forests are home to some 6,000 bears.
Seven Romanian landmarks are declared UNESCO patrimony. These locations are the Danube Delta, the painted churches in the north of Moldavia, the Dacian Fortresses of the Orastie Mountains, the historic center of Sighisoara, the Horezu Monastery, the villages with the fortified churches in Transylvania, and the wooden churches in Maramures. The churches in Moldavia are adorned with beautiful frescoes, and Voronet Monastery is also known as the Romanian version of the Sistine Chapel.
In the Carpathian Mountains, you can find the largest virgin forests in Europe. They are also home to over 400 unique mammal species, including the black goat. AND–Baciu Forest in Cluj Napoca is considered the most paranormal area on the planet. The place is eerie, and if you are a fan of getting spooked, even being near it will be enough.
The Scarisoara Cave Glacier is the second-largest underground glacier in Europe. It is located at the foot of the Bihor Mountains, it has a volume of 75,000 cubic meters, and it is more than 3,500 years old.
Romania is the wealthiest country in Europe in terms of gold resources. Also, it has the only museum in Europe dedicated to gold. This museum exhibits over 2,000 pieces from all over the world. The most valuable exhibit is pure gold, identical to the one that can be found in the mountains of Romania.
The Astra Museum, located in Sibiu, is the second-largest open-air museum in the world. This museum has works of traditional, pre-industrial folk civilization. The houses and the buildings are located around the lake. The whole museum has approximately 1,000 square meters, 15,000 exhibits, 300 homes and buildings, including watermills and windmills, huge wine presses, hydraulic forks, and much more.
The oldest oven in the world was discovered in Campeni, Romania. It was established it is approximately 6,000 years old.
Oldest humanoid fossils in Europe were discovered in southwestern Romania. The fossils were dated 35,000 years ago or 45,000 years ago if using calibrated data.
In 1869, Timisoara, Romania, became the first European city to introduce a horse-drawn tram. Twenty years later, Timisoara became the first city in Europe to introduce street lighting.
The city of Brasov has the third narrowest street in Europe, after Spreuerhofstraße in Germany and Parliament Street in England. Its width varies between 1.11 and 1.35 meters, and it is 80 meters long.
Bucharest’s mass transit network is the fourth largest in Europe.
JOIN ME IN FEBRUARY 2022 TO SNOWSHOE IN THE MAGICAL CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS OF TRANSYLVANIA, ROMANIA!