Most of you know Romania as the country of Dracula. It is a country in located in southeastern Europe. It borders with Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east.
A country of captivating stories, unique sites, beautiful scenery and artistic treasures, Romania is a surprising land. We will definitely visit the Dracula castle but first let’s learn some interesting facts about the country.
Interesting facts about Romani
1. The real Dracula (Vlad Draculea) nicknamed Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) was a Romanian prince who fought bravely against the invading Turkish army in the mid 1400’s. According to reports, Vlad Tepes murdered 40,000 to 80,000 people during his reign.
A few weeks after his supposed death, people claimed to have seen Vlad in the palace grounds, the forest, and in the hills. The rumours have still not ceased, not even 500 years after the incident. Strangely, the death dates have not been recorded for any of the male members of the family. This further spiked the rumors that the family was that of the Vampires.
Vlad Tepes, Bran Castle, the stories of the unrecorded deaths, the bloodshed, the imposing Carpathian mountains, the bodies, the folklore, the tales, the fear, the lust for the supernatural, all became an inspiration for Bram Stoker to create his wonderful novel – Dracula. It’s funny, the man who killed thousands and thousands of people, hearing whose name people wanted to flee their homes, their country, and their lives now could be the reason for a million people to visit the same land.
Read the full story here.
2. The Palace of Parliament, located in Bucharest, is the world’s largest and most expensive civil administration building in the world. It is also the world’s heaviest building. At 2.55 million square meters, the volume of the building is more than the Great Pyramid of Giza. The decadent interiors of the Palace make it one of the most beautiful places in Romania.
3. The capital city, Bucharest is also called “Little Paris.” The city’s Arcul de Triumf was constructed in 1935 to be modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
4. Coffee has become a part of our lifestyle. A shot of espresso is what many people need to get that boost of energy. So it’s interesting to know that Francesco Illy, creator of the automatic steam espresso coffee machine, was born in Romania. He is also the founder of the world-known coffee roasting company Illy Cafe.
5. Timisoara in Romania was the first mainland European city to be lit by electric street lamps, back in 1884. The city was also the first one to introduce horse-drawn trams in Europe. The Romanians were quite advanced.
Peles Castle in Sinaia was the first European castle entirely lit by electrical current. The electricity was produced by the castle’s own plant and its central heating system which is still functional and in use today.
6. Romania is home to some of the most beautiful and spectacular churches. The tallest wooden church in the world can be found in Sapanta Peri – Maramures (northwestern Romania). The 257 foot tall church is topped by a 23 foot cross that weighs 1,000lbs.
There is also a huge gothic church in the country. The Black Church of Brașov was partially destroyed by the fire in 1689, the church’s walls darkened and so the church got its name. The church is famous as it has the largest pipe organ in Europe. It has 4000 pipes!
7. It was a Romanian who scored the first ever perfect 10 in the Olympics. Nadia Comaneci was a 14 year old gymnast who made history in Montreal in 1976. In 2000, Nadia was named as one of the athletes of the 20th century by the Laureus World Sports Academy.
8. You will find the best driving roads in Romania. The famous British auto show Top Gear shot one of its episodes on Transfagarasan in 2009, naming it “the best road in the world”. One more reason to go on a long drive here.
9. The country has Europe’s largest population of brown bears. 60% of the brown bear population lives in the Carpathian Mountains. You can also see the largest mammal in Europe – the bison. It was hunted almost to extinction but has bounced back and you can see them running freely in the country.
10. The Romanians believe that death is only a passage to a better life, so why not celebrate it. You will find a unique cemetery in the country which is sometimes known as the ‘happiest cemetery’. The Merry Cemetery, located in the village of Sapanta became famous due to its colorful high wooden crosses carved in oak and painted with scenes of the deceased’s life. Each tombstone features a witty poem depicting the person’s life and the way he/she died. The Romanians are the best people to make fun of themselves.
11. The Statue of Decebalus in Romania is Europe’s largest rock sculpture. Located near Orsova is the 140 ft high statue of Decebalus, the last king of Dacia and ancestor of the Romanians.
12. The country has invented many things. The jet engine used by modern airplanes was invented by Bucharest-born inventor Henri Coanda. Nicolae Constantin Paulescu was the discoverer of insulin. Petrache Poenaru was the Romanian who invented the world’s first fountain pen.
The country has four Nobel prize laureates: George Emil Palade (medicine), Elie Wiesel (peace), Herta Müller (literature) and Stefan Hell (chemistry).
13. With these amazing inventions, Romania boasts of some quirky records as well. The world’s longest sausage was created here and it measured 62.75 km. Now, this record is not easy to break.
Guinness World Records also recognises the Chestnut Festival in Baia Mare, Romania, for creating the largest bowl of goulash (7,200 litres), and Romanian firm ING Asigurari de Viata for printing the world’s largest legal document (9 x 6 metres).
14. The Dracula castle is not the only spooky place in the country. Hoia-Baciu Forest is dubbed as the “Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania” as many visitors have disappeared from here. And those who managed to survive have reported rashes, nausea and feelings of anxiety. In 1968, a photograph was captured of a “UFO” hovering over the forest which has added to the existing mystery. Even if you don’t believe in the paranormal activities, the eerie atmosphere and the curved trees is bound to give you chills.
15. Romania is the richest country in Europe in terms of gold resources. Also, the only Gold Museum in Europe is in the Romanian city of Brad! It holds over 2000 pieces of gold from all over the planet on exhibit.
16. There’s a whole village displayed in a museum. The Astra Open-Air Museum in Sibiu is the second-largest on the planet. It displays more than 300 traditional houses, watermills, windmills, gigantic presses for wine, fruit and oil, stables and barns, giving visitors the feeling of wandering around a traditional village.
17. The Romanian language is 1,700 years old and it is the only Latin language spoken in Eastern Europe.
18. Romania has the best preserved delta in Europe. The waters of the Danube form a wonderful delta before flowing into the Black Sea. It features 23 natural ecosystems, boasting an amazing variety of unique flora and fauna. The delta hosts over 300 species of birds and 45 species of fish.
19. One fun fact about Romania is that it produced the smallest banknote. The Romanian 10-bani measured 27.5 x 38 mm and was put into circulation in 1917.
20. You don’t have to worry about the internet when in Romania. It is one of the best places in the world for 4G speed. According to the Ookla Net Index, nine cities in Romania are among the top 15 cities in the world with the highest download speed of fixed broadband internet connections. Netfix and err chill?
21. What if I tell you that the country has one of the world’s prettiest bookshops. Carturesti Carusel in Bucharest contains more than 10,000 books, 5,000 albums and DVDs and a top floor bistro. Oh did I forget to tell you that it is located in restored 19th century building. Read your favourite book with a hot cuppa.
Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting Romania:
Try to find Dracula in Bran Castle. This is the most famous Romanian castle and the number one tourist attraction in the country.
Check out the amazing architecture of Pele’s Castle. One of the most beautiful castles in Europe, it was ahead of time for generating and using electricity. The castle is situated at the base of the Carpathian Mountains in the charming resort town of Sinaia. It was built in 19th century to serve as summer residence for Romania’s royal family and still exudes the romantic charm.
Go on a slow and picturesque train ride through Oravita-Anina. This 3 hour train ride will take you through the mountains with a fairy tale like scenery and will cross small traditional villages. Best way to experience the beauty of Romania.
And when talking about traveling through the country, you should not miss the Transfagarasan Highway. This road is getting a lot of attention thanks to an episode of the popular BBC show Top Gear which named it the best road in the world. You will travel through the Carpathian mountains with dramatic scenery and an even more dramatic road route!
Visit the pretty city of Sibiu. Located in Transylvania, the city looks like postcard perfection. Climb the clocktower for the beautiful views and stroll through the cobbled streets of Sibiu.
Visit Turda Salt Mine. This salt mine dating from Roman times has become very famous as it is now converted into an amusement park. Ride an underground Ferris wheel, go boating on a salt lake and visit a beautiful museum, everything inside the salt mine.