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ROMANIA, MY BELOVED COUNTRY

Romania is a fascinating country that many people don’t know much about. The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.”

The Romanian language is 1,700 years old.

However, it is very popular with the British Royal Family. Prince Charles is quoted as saying “Maybe people do not see it, but Romania is a wonderful country. Remarkable people live here who will not give up. They have gone through terrible experience that affected them greatly: the two world wars and all the sufferings endured from World War II until now.”

He continued “These people have been through a lot, they have seen much suffering, destruction, and their lives have been destroyed. We owe it to find a path for a better future that they should preserve their culture, traditions and values.”

The first ever first perfect 10 in the Olympic Games was given to Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. She bagged the score after her performance in Montreal, Canada in 1976.

Romania is the ninth largest wine producer in the world.

The archetypal vampire Count Dracula, created by Bram Stoker, was inspired by the Romanian prince Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler because he was fond of impaling his enemies and standing them along the roads.

The Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Just before reaching the sea it forms the second largest and best preserved of Europe’s deltas: 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands.

The Carpathian Mountains are home to one of the largest virgin forests in Europe. 400 unique species of mammals, including the Carpathian chamois, call the Carpathian Mountains home. 60% of European brown bear population lives in the Carpathian Mountains.

The statue of Dacian king Decebal, carved in the rocky bank of the Danube River, is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe (135 feet tall).

The Danube to Black Sea canal in southeast Romania is world’s third longest man-made navigation route, after the Suez and the Panama Canals.

Romanian inventor Traian Vuia was the first European to build and fly a fully self-propelled, fixed-wing ‘automobile airplane in March 18, 1906.

It’s official. Romania has the most beautiful waterfall in the world. Bigar Cascade Falls in Caras-Severin has been voted as number one by The World Geography. It is unique because of its stunning beauty and the way the water falls.

People that enjoy a good coffee will be surprised to know that Francesco Illy, the founder of Illycaffè was born in Timisoara, Romania in 1892. He also invented the first automatic steam espresso coffee machine.

Timisoara became the first city of Europe to have electric street lighting in 1889.

The modern jet engine was invented by the Bucharest-born inventor Henri Coanda in 1910.

Peles Castle was the first European castle entirely lit by electrical current. The electricity was produced by the castle’s own plant. The castle’s central heating system, built in 1888, is still functional and in use today.

Europe’s second largest underground glacier, the Scarisoara glacier, is found underneath the Bihor Mountains in Romania. It has a volume of 75,000 cubic meters and has existed for more than 3,500 years.

The scientist who discovered insulin was Nicolae Paulescu, a Romanian, who originally called it pancreine. Although two Canadian scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for their study of insulin, Paulescu’s pioneering work in the field of diabetic medicine was duly accredited.

The tallest wooden church in the world, and the second tallest wooden structure in Europe, can be found in Sapanta Peri, Maramures of north-western Romania. It has a 23 foot tall cross that weighs 1,000 lbs, on top of the 257 foot tall church.

The earliest Homo sapiens fossils, up to now, were discovered in 2002 in south-western Romania, in the Cave of Bones. The fossil’s age is estimated at 37,800 to 42,000 years old.

The actor who first played the role of Tarzan was Romanian born Johnny Weissmuller, who starred in Tarzan the Ape Man in 1932.

Three clay tablets, dated to around 5300 BC, discovered in the village of Tartaria in central Romania, have been the subject of considerable controversy among archaeologists, some of whom claim that the symbols represent the earliest known form of writing in the world.

The Romanian Palace of Parliament in Bucharest is the second largest building in the world, next only to the Pentagon in the United States.

The Voronet Monastery in Moldavia is dubbed as the Romanian counterpart of the Sistine Chapel.

Romania’s Astra Museum in Sibiu is the second-largest outdoor museum in the world. It features more than 300 buildings as well as watermills and windmills, gigantic presses for wine, fruit and oil, hydraulic forges and more.

The Romanian “Merry Cemetery” of Sapanta, a tiny village in the Valley of Maramures is unlike any other cemetery in the world. This graveyard presents a very unusual and different way to look at death. Each of its gravestones is carved in cheerful colors and darkly-humorous poems that offer a glimpse into the lives of the dead.

Although still regarded by many as an off-the-beaten-path destination, Romania is a country full of surprises, folklore, and exciting places that leave long lasting impressions on visitors’ minds.