Most people think of Dracula and Transylvania when they hear about Romania, but the country is so much more. For example, did you know that a Romanian castle was the first fully electrified castle in Europe?
Here’s a list of 25 interesting facts about Romania that even some Romanians might not yet know.
- Romania’s famous Peles Castle, located in Sinaia mountain resort, was the first completely electrified castle in Europe. The electricity was produced by the castle’s own plant.
- The Voronet Monastery, located in northeastern Romania, is also known as the “Sistine Chapel of the East”. Its frescoes feature an intense shade of blue also known as the “Voronet blue”.
- The Astra Museum in Sibiu is the largest open-air museum in Romania, and the second-largest museum of this kind in Europe.
- Romania not only has rich gold resources but also hosts Europe’s only museum dedicated to gold.
- Romania joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007
- Bucharest’s Palace of Parliament, also known as the People’s Palace, is the world's largest civilian building with an administrative function and the second-largest building in the world after the Pentagon in the US. It covers some 330,000 sqm.
- Timisoara, in western Romania, was the first city in Europe to have electric street-lighting (1889).
- Timisoara was also the first European city to introduce horse-drawn trams (1869).
- Bucharest was the first city in the world illuminated by oil lamps (1895).
- 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. That is why, in some mountain areas, you may see bears searching for food through garbage dumpsters.
- The Carpathian Mountains are home to one of the largest virgin forests in Europe.
- The Danube Delta is the second-largest river delta in Europe and the best preserved on the continent. The delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.
- The famous British auto show Top Gear shot one of its episodes on Transfagarasan in 2009, naming it “the best road in the world”.
- Strada Sforii (The Rope Street) in the Central Romanian town of Brasov is said to be the narrowest street in Europe.
- The stone sculpture of Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe. Located near Orsova, Romania, the statue carved in stone is 40-meter high.
- Romania is the twelfth largest wine producer in the world and the sixth largest in Europe.
- Romanians enjoy some of the fastest internet speeds in the world. 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.
- Romania has one of the happiest and unusual cemeteries in the world. The Merry Cemetery, located in the village of Sapanta, in Maramures County, became famous due to its colorful crosses and the satirical poetry written on them.
- Romania also hosts some spooky places. One of them is the Hoia Baciu Forest, also known as Romania’s Bermuda Triangle. Several paranormal activities and unexplained events allegedly took place there: from ghost and other unexplained apparitions, to UFOs sightings. Other spooky places, here.
- Romania inspired Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and Jules Verne’s The Castle in the Carpathians.
- Several foreign films were shot in Romania, including Ghost Rider 2, Transporter 3, Cold Mountain, Modigliani and TV mini-series Hatfield & McCoys. You can find a list of 20 films shot in Romania here
- Romanian Nadia Comaneci was the first gymnast to receive a perfect score of ten in an Olympic competition. She made history in Montreal in 1976.
- George Enescu, one of Romania’s greatest musicians, was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. A very popular festival in Romania was named after him - the George Enescu festival.
- Romanian Nicolae Paulescu discovered pancreatine, later named insulin.
- Petrache Poenaru was the Romanian who invented the world’s first fountain pen. More Romanian inventors here.
If you know any other interesting facts about Romania, please drop a line in the comment box below.
Irina Popescu, [email protected]