A COUNTRY TO ENJOY
Legacies of a Troubled but Inspiring Heritage
Legends like that of Count Dracula or the real history of Romania are testimonies of such an exciting past. Such a heritage is to be found in the high-roofed wooden churches of Transylvania. Admire the 16th century artistic treasures of the Bucovina monasteries, or listen spellbound to George Enescu's "Romanian Rhapsody" with brilliantly inspired from folklore themes. The most decisive influence on this country's development was that of ancient Rome.
Music and traditional dress
are part of the Romanian life
Six Hundred Thousand Years of History
Signs of human life are to be found in the Carpathian mountains since around 600.000 BC. Although there had been Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast since the 6th century BC, the first centralised kingdom was of a Thracian people called the Dacians.
This Dacian civilisation reached its heyday under Decebalus, in the first century AD, but he was finally defeated by the Emperor Trajan's Roman legions in 106. Roman colonisation and inter-marriage followed and the resulting population became Christian. In 271 the Legions withdrew and 1,000 years of sporadic invasion ensued, followed by several centuries of Turkish and Russian aggression. The Daco-Roman civilisation and Romania's Latin inheritance survived.
The Rise of the Principalities
"Romanians" were first mentioned in documents in the 1160s, soon after which Wallachia and Moldavia emerged as principalities. A succession of noble leaders held of the Turks, namely Prince Mircea the Old, Prince Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) and Stephen the Great of Moldavia, who built close to 50 monasteries and churches and moulded Moldavian culture. In the 16th century Michael the Brave united all these three provinces and chased away the Turks. In many respects the 15th and 16th centuries were a golden age of architecture and art.
Emergence of a Nation
After Michael the Brave's death in 1601, two and a half centuries of conflicts followed, during which a Romanian sense of nationhood developed little by little. In 1859 the two principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia united in the name of Romania as of 1862. The country became a monarchy in 1881, but it was only in 1918 that union took place between the three Romanian provinces.
After 1945 the Russians deposed the king and imposed communism. The revolution of December 1989 brought Romania firmly back into democratic Europe. The most obvios result is that the age-old friendliness and generosity of Romanians have been asserted again, as visitors will soon appreciate.
Romanian village architecture
is imaginative and colourful
Exquisite churches and monasteries adorn
Inspiring Cultural Diversity
Such a past was bound to create a great range of artistic and cultural achievements. Broadly, three main strands are discernible and anyone travelling across Romania can see splendid examples of them all.
Country-style Crafts and Cuisine
Romania's traditional village architecture, crafts and cuisine represent a living culture of unique value. Look for the finely carved doorways of Transylvanian houses, the beautiful wooden churches, the variety of regional costumes and the simplicity of country artefacts. Ceramics and pottery, woven rugs, icons, and woodcarvings are accompanied by local cuisine and wines. Cooking is an art, too, and Romanians make good use of their mushrooms and vegetables, their pork, chicken and beef, sometimes in spicy dishes with an oriental flavour.
The noble families of Romania were great builders and patrons. There are numerous medieval castles, some of which are like taken from fairytales: Bran, others fancifully French such as Corvin, while Renaissance and Baroque styles were adapted to a specifically Romanian pattern the late 17th century ruler of Wallachia, Constantin Brancoveanu.
Modern Art and Music
In the 19th and 20th centuries nationhood was matched by an outpouring f artistic talent. The playwright Eugen Ionesco, the sculpturer Constantin Brancusi, and the composer George Enescu, are just three outstanding examples. Their talent, and that of their successors, is appreciated throughout the country in concerts, operas, galleries and exibitions. Romania's cultural heritage is a living one both in fine art and folk art.
Colourful local festivals take place every year
Constantin Brancusi celebrated sculpturer
The monumental works of Brancusi (1876-1957) are famous and well represented in international collections, namely in the Museum of Modern Art in New - York.
Visiting Romania gives you the chance to see his work in the marvellous setting of a park in Targu Jiu, near Hobita, his home village, in the north of Oltenia. Here, among trees and lawns, there are works such as "The Gate of the Kiss", "The Endless Column", "The Alley of Chairs" and "The Table of Silence" displayed as Brancusi wanted them to be. Targu Jiu is in a spectacular country, too. If the town is not on your itinerary-then put it on!
Clasa a IX-a B, Liceul Teoretic Ion Barbu