Romania tourist information
Tourism in Romania focuses on the country's natural landscapes and its rich history. The number of tourists is growing every year and tourism is becoming an increasingly important source for Romania's GDP with 7-9 million people now visiting yearly. Romania's economy is characterized by a huge potential for tourism. Number of tourists grew from 4.8 million in 2002 to 8.9 million in 2008. The revenues grew from 400 million in 2002 to 607 in 2004. Tourism in Romania attracted â‚¬880 million in investments in 2005.
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Tourism is a significant contributor to the Romanian economy. In the 1990s the government heavily promoted the development of skiing in the Romanian Carpathians. Domestic and international tourism generates about 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 0.8 million jobs. Following commerce, tourism is the second largest component of the services sector. In 2006 Romania registered 20 million overnight stays by international tourists, 4% higher than in the previous year and an all-time record. Two-thirds of all major trade fairs from Central Europe are held in Romania, and each year they attract 2 to 3 million business travelers, about 20% of whom are foreigners. The four most important trade fairs take place in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, IaÅŸi, TimiÅŸoara.
In the year 2006, 14,122,798 tourists vacationed in Romania. The total revenue was $4.2 billion and with an average expenditure of $679 per tourist. Over the years, Romania has emerged as a popular tourist destination for many Europeans, often competing with Greece, Italy and Spain. Romania destinations such as ConstanÈ›a and Mamaia (sometimes called the Romanian Riviera) have become very popular among European tourists.
Romania has a highly developed tourism infrastructure, making it a good market for tourism-related equipment and services.
In terms of tourism potential, Romania benefits from splendid cities, scattered on the smooth plains or high peaks. These include Sibiu, city built by Saxons, with cobblestone streets and colorful houses. In the picturesque town of Hunedoara can be visited the Hunyad Castle, one of the most important monuments of Gothic architecture in Transylvania. Also, the resorts (BÄƒile Felix, BÄƒile Herculane, BÄƒile TuÅŸnad etc.) are points of interest for local and foreign tourists. The Romanian seaside is the most exploited tourist area of Romania. In 2009, Romania's Black Sea seaside was visited by 1.3 million tourists, of which 40,000 were foreign. The shore is very varied, formed by slightly wavy shapes, with emphasized capes and extended deep bays into the Dobrogea valleys, with cliffs, beaches and sand cords. In TÃ¢rgu Jiu can be seen the sculptures of Constantin BrÃ¢ncuÅŸi (1876â€“1957), Romanian sculptor with overwhelming contributions to the renewal of plastic language and vision in the contemporary sculpture. These include The Endless Column, The Gate of the Kiss, The Table of Silence, which together represent the three parts of monumental sculpture of Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin BrÃ¢ncuÅŸi at TÃ¢rgu Jiu. Also, in the Bihor Mountains is a complex system of caves (Bear Cave, ScÄƒriÅŸoara Cave etc.), that continues throughout the Piatra Craiului Mountains, Rodna Mountains, respectively Anina Mountains (Comarnic Cave).
Owing to its distance from the open sea and position on the southeastern portion of the European continent, Romania has a climate that is transitional between temperate and continental, with four distinct seasons. The average annual temperature is 11 Â°C (52 Â°F) in the south and 8 Â°C (46 Â°F) in the north. The extreme recorded temperatures were 44.5 Â°C (112.1 Â°F) at Ion Sion in 1951 and âˆ’38.5 Â°C (âˆ’37.3 Â°F) at Bod in 1942.
Spring is pleasant with cool mornings and nights and warm days. Summers are generally very warm to hot, with summer (June to August) average maximum temperatures in Bucharest rising to 28 Â°C (82 Â°F), and temperatures over 35 Â°C (95 Â°F) fairly common in the lower-lying areas of the country. Minima in Bucharest and other lower-lying areas are around 16 Â°C (61 Â°F). Autumn is dry and cool, with fields and trees producing colorful foliage. Winters can be cold, with average maxima even in lower-lying areas reaching no more than 2 Â°C (36 Â°F) and below âˆ’15 Â°C (5 Â°F) in the highest mountains. Precipitation is average with over 750 mm (30 in) per year only on the highest western mountainsâ€”much of it falling as snow, which allows for an extensive skiing industry. In the south-central parts of the country (around Bucharest) the level of precipitation drops to around 600 mm (24 in), while in the Danube Delta, rainfall levels are very low, and average only around 370 mm.
Because of Romania's geographic location, respectively the regional orographic peculiarities, there exists a varied range of local winds. Humid winds from the northwest are most common, but often the drier winds from the northeast are strongest. A hot southwesterly wind, the austru, blows over western Romania, particularly in summer. In winter, cold and dense air masses encircle the eastern portions of the country, with the cold northeasterly known as the crivÄƒÅ£ blowing in from the Russian Plain, and oceanic air masses from the Azores, in the west, bring rain and mitigate the severity of the cold. Other wind types present locally are nemirul, black wind, foehn, bÄƒltÄƒreÅ£ul, zephyr, cosava etc. Romania enjoys four seasons, though there is a rapid transition from winter to summer. Autumn is frequently longer, with dry warm weather from September to late November.
A high percentage (47% of the land area) of the country is covered with natural and semi-natural ecosystems. Since almost half of all forests in Romania (13% of the country) have been managed for watershed conservation rather than production, Romania has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe. The integrity of Romanian forest ecosystems is indicated by the presence of the full range of European forest fauna, including 60% and 40% of all European brown bears and wolves, respectively. There are also almost 400 unique species of mammals (of which Carpathian chamois are best known), birds, reptiles and amphibians in Romania. The fauna consists of 33,792 species of animals, 33,085 invertebrate and 707 vertebrate.
Some 3,700 plant species have been identified in the country, from which to date 23 have been declared natural monuments, 74 missing, 39 endangered, 171 vulnerable and 1,253 rare. The three major vegetation areas in Romania are the alpine zone, the forest zone and the steppe zone. The vegetation is distributed in a storied manner in accordance with the characteristics of soil and climate and includes various species of oaks, sycamores, beeches, spruces, firs, willows, poplars, meadows, and pines.
There are almost 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) (about 5% of the total area) of protected areas in Romania covering 13 national parks and three biosphere reserves: the Danube Delta, Retezat National Park, and Rodna National Park. The Danube Delta Reserve Biosphere is the largest and least damaged wetland complex in Europe, covering a total area of 5,800 km2 (2,200 sq mi). The significance of the biodiversity of the Danube Delta has been internationally recognised. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve in September 1990, a Ramsar site in May 1991, and over 50% of its area was placed on the World Heritage List in December 1991. Within its boundaries lies one of the most extensive reed bed systems in the world.
All transportation infrastructure in Romania is the property of the state, and is administered by the Ministry of Transports, Constructions and Tourism, except when operated as a concession, in which case the concessions are made by the Ministry of Administration and Interior.
According to CIA Factbook, Romania total road network is estimated to be 198,817 km long, out of which 60,043 km are paved and 138,774 km (2004) are unpaved. The World Bank estimates that the road network that is outside of cities and communes (i.e. excluding streets and village roads) is about 78,000 km long. A motorway system, consisting of six main motorways and six bypass motorways, whose length is about 2,262.7 km (planned); as of 2011, 371.5 km are built and 845 km have construction contracts under way.
Due to its location, Romania is a major crossroad for International economic exchange in Europe. However, because of insufficient investment, maintenance and repair, the transport infrastructure does not meet the current needs of a market economy and lags behind Western Europe. Nevertheless, these conditions are rapidly improving and catching up with the standards of Trans-European transport networks. Several projects have been started with funding from grants from ISPA and several loans from International Financial Institutions (World Bank, IMF, etc.) guaranteed by the state, to upgrade the main road corridors. Also, the Government is actively pursuing new external financing or public-private partnerships to further upgrade the main roads, and especially the country's motorway network.
Romania has a relatively well-developed airport infrastructure compared to other countries in Eastern Europe, but still underdeveloped compared to Western European standards. There are 17 commercial airports in service today, most of them opened for international traffic. Five of the airports (OTP, BBU, TSR, CND, SBZ) have runways of over 3,000 m in length and are capable of handling wide-body aircraft. Three of the airports (BCM, CRA, SUJ) have runways of 2,500 m in length, while the rest of them have runways of 1,800 to 2,000 m. As of December 2006, TCE and CSB are the only airports with no regular flights. Almost all the airports have experienced traffic growth in the last 4 years.
The World Bank estimates that the railway network in Romania comprised 22,298 kilometres (13,855 mi) of track in 2004, which would make it the fourth largest railroad network in Europe. The railway transport experienced a dramatic fall in freight and passenger volumes from the peak volumes recorded in 1989 mainly due to the decline in GDP and competition from road transport. In 2004, the railways carried 8.64 billion passenger-km in 99 million passenger journeys, and 73 million metric tonnes, or 17 billion ton-km of freight. The combined total transportation by rail constituted around 45% of all passenger and freight movement in the country.
Bucharest is the only city in Romania which has an underground railway system. The Bucharest Metro was opened in 1979 and is now one of the most accessed systems of the Bucharest public transport network with an average ridership of 600,000 passengers during the workweek.
Romania has 16 international airports, of which the busiest are Henri CoandÄƒ International Airport (5,064,230 passengers, 2008) and Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (2,118,150 passengers, 2010). Also, Romania disposes of an unworkable international airport (CaransebeÅŸ Airport) and 16 under construction or planned airports, whose construction will be completed until 2020. Romania has about 200 flight corridors, as much as any other European country. The air traffic has doubled in the last 20 years, in summer of 2010, Romania was crossed by 150 aircrafts simultaneously, bringing considerable incomes to TAROM airline.
Romania has a unique culture, which is the product of its geography and of its distinct historical evolution. Like Romanians themselves, it is fundamentally defined as the meeting point of three regions: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, but cannot be truly included in any of them.
The list of World Heritage Sites includes Romanian sites such as the Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, the Painted churches of northern Moldavia with their fine exterior and interior frescoes, the Wooden Churches of MaramureÅŸ unique examples that combine Gothic style with traditional timber construction, the Monastery of Horezu, the citadel of SighiÅŸoara, and the Dacian Fortresses of the OrÄƒÅŸtie Mountains.
PeleÅŸ Castle (Sinaia), built between 1873â€“1914, is considered one of the most beautiful castles in Romania and Eastern Europe. Unique architecture and gold gilded rooms attract thousands of visitors daily. VoroneÅ£ Monastery, built in 1488, is one of the most valuable foundations of Stephen the Great. Also, Unirii Square is the treasure in the heart of Cluj-Napoca, on which rises the St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, guarded by two "twin" buildings on the eastern side. Located at 29.7 km (18 mi) from BraÅŸov, between Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains, Bran Castle is a major national monument and tourist landmark. Built by Saxons in the 14th century, today it hosts an art and furniture collection by Queen Marie, but is also marketed as the legendary residence of Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Romania's contribution to the World Heritage List stands out because it consists of some groups of monuments scattered around the country, rather than one or two special landmarks. Also, in 2007, the city of Sibiu, famous for its Brukenthal National Museum, was the European Capital of Culture alongside the city of Luxembourg.
Along with religious aspects, in Romania, the Easter symbolizes the rebirth and the renewal of daily life. It's usual like in the Easter morning, after the returning of villagers from churches, children go to neighbors' homes, to bring luck and wealth, in exchange for a red egg. Also, in the Christmas Eve, young people carol the village homes, hosts giving in exchange nuts, sponge cakes, apples, pretzels and other delicacies. The Star boys' singing procession is a very important part of Romanian Christmas festivity. In the week between Christmas and New Year, in all villages, groups of lads prepare for "bid", complex system of customs and habits. On the evening, in the eve of respective year which arises promising, are expected to occur "Ursul", "Capra", "Bunghierii", "CÄƒiuÅ£ii", "Malanca", "Jienii", "MascaÅ£ii" and others.
The Romanian folkloric costumes characterize own attributes of the Romanian people and contribute essentially at the definition of ethnic specificity. Closely related to human existence, the folkloric costume reflected over time, as reflected nowadays, mentality and artistic conception of the people. The folkloric costume has been developed with history, being a genuine expression of coherent traditions throughout centuries. Distinct clothing ornamentation, traditional methods used for sewing and tailoring the pieces of clothing, and wide variety of costumes from one region to another customize the defining spirit of the Romanian people.
Also, the folklore of Romania is defined by its mythology, branch of folk literature that integrates a variety of ancestral habits, tales, fables and ballads, whose authors are anonymous. The rural character of the Romanian communities resulted in an exceptionally vital and creative traditional culture. So, in Romanian mythology were conceived fabulous beings, unreal characters endowed with supernatural powers. These include Baba CloanÅ£a, a misshapen and recondite witch, Iele, inconstant virgins endowed with unapproachable ability of seduction and superhuman features, Muma PÄƒdurii, a hag that lives in deep forest, Strigoi, troubled souls of the dead rising from the grave and FÄƒt-Frumos, a knight hero that fights with griffons, dragons and witches to liberate his heart chosen, Ileana CosÃ¢nzeana. The words "longing" and "mourning" have correspondent in another language, but the abstract character remains undecipherable and define specificity of the Romanian soul. Doina, characteristic only Romanian literary folklore, represents the lyric creation that Romanian expresses the most varied and complex range of feelings, strongly rooted in his spiritual structure. In the Romanian folkloric tradition, "doina" was played mainly orally or accompanied by a single instrument, being the song of elegy, played for self comforting and not intended for festive events because of its sober nature.
Romanian cuisine is a diverse blend of different dishes from several traditions with which it has come into contact, but it also maintains its own character. It has been greatly influenced by Ottoman cuisine but also includes influences from the cuisines of other neighbours, such as the Greeks (musaca), Bulgarians (zacuscÄƒ), Turks (pilaf), and Hungarians (langoÅŸi). Quite different types of dishes are sometimes included under a generic term; for example, the category ciorbÄƒ includes a wide range of soups with a characteristic sour taste. These may be meat and vegetable soups, tripe and calf foot soups, or fish soups, all of which are soured by lemon juice, sauerkraut juice, vinegar, or traditionally borÅŸ (fermented wheat bran). Popular main courses include mititei, frigÄƒrui and the ÅŸniÅ£el. One of the most common dishes is mÄƒmÄƒliga, a cornmeal mush served on its own or as an accompaniment. Pork and chicken are the preferred meats, but beef, lamb and fish are also popular.
Sarmale are prepared from minced meat (pork, beef, mutton, poultry or fish meat, especially in the Danube Delta), mixed with rice and other aliments (pap, couscous etc.) and wrapped in cabbage (fresh or sour) or vine leaves in the form of rolls. Usually, they are served with polenta and smetana, but can be served with a spoonful of fresh butter.
The list of desserts includes names like amandine, clÄƒtite, chec, cozonac, gogoÅŸi, griÅŸ cu lapte, lapte de pasÄƒre etc. In the north-western Romania, are prepared so-called ciureghe, gomboÅ£i cu prune, pancove, plÄƒcinte creÅ£e, while in the north-eastern Romania, the traditional desserts are chec cu viÅŸine, tartÄƒ cu mere, alivenci moldoveneÅŸti.
Å¢uicÄƒ is a strong plum brandy that is widely regarded as the country's traditional alcoholic beverage, along with wine. Romania is the world's second largest plum producer (after the United States) and as much as 75% of Romania's plum production is processed into the famous Å£uicÄƒ, a plum brandy obtained through one or more distillation steps. Alcoholic beverages are also obtained from other fruits (see rachiu, palincÄƒ and viÅŸinatÄƒ). Wine, however, is the preferred drink, and Romanian wines have a tradition of over three millennia. Romania is currently the world's 9th largest wine producer, and recently[when?] the export market has started to grow. Romania produces a wide selection of domestic varieties (FeteascÄƒ, GrasÄƒ, TamÃ¢ioasÄƒ, BÄƒbeascÄƒ), as well as varieties from across the world (Italian Riesling, Merlot, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel). Beer is also highly regarded, generally blonde pilsener beer, the traditional methods of preparation being generally influenced by German wheat beers. There are some Romanian breweries with a long tradition, such as TimiÅŸoreana, Ursus and Azuga. Since the 19th century, beer has become increasingly popular, and today Romanians are amongst the heaviest beer drinkers in the world.
Certain recipes are made in direct connection with the season or the holidays. At Christmas, each family usually sacrifice a pig and prepare a large variety of dishes of its meat and organs (cÃ¢rnaÅ£i, caltaboÅŸi, chiftele, tobÄƒ, ÅŸniÅ£ele). At Easter, is customary to sacrifice a lamb, preparing of its meat drob de miel and roast lamb with thyme, as dessert being served pascÄƒ cu brÃ¢nzÄƒ and cozonac cu nucÄƒ.