Did You Know ?

Here are some facts you might not have known or associated with Romania:


» The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.”  The empire expanded into what is now Romania in 106 AD, under the rule of Emperor Trajan (98 to 117 AD) when the Roman Empire reached its greatest territorial extent through his conquests in the east.  It took the Romans seven years and two long wars to conquer Dacia (today Romania).  The Romanian occupation lasted until the end of the third century.

Transylvania was first referred to in a Medieval Latin document dating from 1075 as Ultra Silvam
( Ultra meaning “beyond” or
“on the far side of …” and Sylva (sylvam) meaning “wood or forest”).


The ruins of Sarmizegetusa Regia – the capital of Dacia (present-day Romania) prior to the wars with
the Roman Empire – are located in Hunedoara county – central Transylvania.

The Roman capital of Dacia, Ulpia
Traiana Sarmizegetusa
, was built by Roman Emperor Trajan, some 25 miles away.


» The people who inhabited the area of modern Romania were called “Getae” (Geti) by the Greeks, and Dacians (Daci) by the Romans.


» The earliest reliably dated European modern human fossils, up to now, were discovered in 2002 in southwestern Romania (at Pestera cu Oase – translated as the “Cave With Bones”).
The fossil’s age is estimated at 37,800 to 42,000 years old.


» Ancient Tomis (present-day Constanta) has been associated with the legend of Jason and the Argonauts who embarked on a long voyage from Greece to Kolchis (Georgia) on the Black Sea coast in search of the Golden Fleece.

» Three clay tablets, dated to around 5300 BC, discovered in the village of Tartaria (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.


» With an area of 92,043 square miles (238,391 square kilometer), Romania
is the largest country in Southeastern Europe. It is roughly the same size as the United Kingdom and slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Oregon.


» The Carpathian Mountains are home to one of the largest undisturbed
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.


» Some 1,350 floral species have been recorded in Romania’s Carpathian
, including the yellow poppy, Transylvanian columbine, saxifrage
and edelweiss.


» Romania features the youngest continental land (Danube Delta) in Europe.
The mighty 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 Danube Delta is a wildlife enthusiast’s (especially a bird watcher’s) paradise. Formed over a period of more than 10,000 years, the Danube Delta continues to grow due to the 67 million tons of alluvia deposited every year by the Danube River. It has the world’s largest reed bed and hosts species including endangered sturgeon, otters, wildcats and European mink.


» The second largest underground glacier in Europe (in terms of volume) can be found in Transylvania – Romania.  The 3500-year old Scarisoara glacier, located in the Bihor Mountains – 90 miles southwest of Cluj Napoca.  It has a volume of 2,649,000 cubic feet (75,000 cubic meters).
The 154-foot deep entrance shaft leads to some impressive ice structures, including spectacular 20 foot high ice stalagmites.  Scarisoara ice-cave is open to the public.


» 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 monument celebrates obduracy, audacity and pride. It is a homage to the last king of Dacia (today’s Romania), from Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Constantino Dragan.

Science / Technology

» Romanian Inventor Traian Vuia was the first European to built and fly a fully
self-propelled, fixed-wing ‘automobile airplane’ (March 18, 1906).


» The first substance proved to have a normalizing effect on blood sugar levels –pancreatine (the predecessor of insulin) was discovered by Romanian physiologist, professor of medicine: Nicolae Paulescu!

Between 1914 and 1916, Dr. Paulescu performed experiments in which he obtained an anti-diabetic pancreatic extract.  In 1916 his extract, injected into diabetic dogs, reduced blood glucose levels.


» The jet engine used by modern airplanes was invented by Bucharest-born
inventor Henri Coanda.  Romanian inventor and aerodynamics pioneer, Henri Coanda designed and built in 1910 the world’s first jet powered aircraft, known as the Coandă – 1910, which he demonstrated publicly at the second International Aeronautic Salon in Paris.  Romania’s main international airport, Bucharest Otopeni – Henri Coanda, is named after the great inventor.


» The first fountain pen was invented by Craiova-born Petrache Poenaru
(1799-1875).  Mr. Poenaru’s invention was patented in May 1827.


» The Romanian city of Timisoara was the first in Europe to have electric street-lighting (in 1889).

Timisoara was also the first European city to introduce horse-drawn trams, in 1869.


» The 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.
» The world’s first industrial oil refinery opened at Ploieşti (southern Romania) in 1857. Oil was exploited commercially in Romania since 1857, two years before oil was discovered in Pennsylvania.


» The first natural gas compression station in Europe was built in
Sărmăşel – Romania, in 1927.


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

The first plans to build this canal were made in late 1830s but construction
works only started in 1975.

13.5 billion cubic feet of soil and rock were excavated to build the
Danube – Black Sea canal (883 million more than to for the Suez respectively
4.9 billion more than for the Panama).

Its banks are reinforced with 177 million cubic feet of concrete.

This 61 miles long, Y-shape canal, was opened to navigation in 1984, it makes
the water distance from the Danube river to the port of Constanta 249 miles shorter and keeps trade ships away from the Danube Delta.


» Hollywood’s original Tarzan was born in the city of Timisoara, Romania.  Considered by movie-makers “the only man in Hollywood who’s natural in the flesh and can act without clothes”, Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984) was a box-office hit in the 1932 ‘Tarzan the Ape Man’. The ship’s roster from his family’s arrival at Ellis Island lists his birthplace as Freidorf, now a district of the city of Timisoara.
Freidorf maintains beautiful architecture, old German homes, and lots of green spaces.


» Soprano Alma Gluck – the first lyrical artist to sell one million records –
was born in Bucharest, Romania on May 11, 1884.

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