Romania has always been a unique country, starting with the fact that, even though surrounded by Slavic countries, people here speak a Romance language, quite similar to French or Portuguese. In addition, there are so many other peculiar yet fascinating aspects of Romania and its culture, that make this country worth a long visit if not a lifetime commitment.
Today’s blog entry celebrates Romania and its uniqueness. Let’s discover together 10 facts that will make you want to dig for more:
- Romanian is the only Romance language that prevailed in Eastern Europe.It’s still unclear how the Romanian language and most of its Latin roots survived in a territory invaded and occupied by Slavic and Uralic populations like the Hungarians, Turks and Bulgarians. However, Roman and Latin influences were so strong that Slavic populations managed only to affect, not transform the language.
- Timisoara, one of the biggest cities in Romania is the first city in the world to be illuminated using electricity.
- Nadia Comaneci, a Romanian gymnast, was the first in the world to get a perfect score – 10 – at the Olympics. This happened in 1976, in Montreal.
- Insulin was invented by a Romanian, Nicolae Păulescu. However, he failed to get a Nobel Prize for this massive discovery – instead, two Canadians got it for their studies of the hormone.
- Romania is the home of the so called “Merry Cemetery” in Săpânța, a tiny village in Northern Romania. All the tombstones there are colorful (as opposed to the somber ones that are traditional to Romanian cemeteries) and many also feature funny poems written about the deceased.
- The Danube Delta is Europe’s best preserved delta, but also the second largest on the continent, after the Volga Delta.
- Romania is the home of the tallest rock sculpture in Europe: King’s Decebal sculpted portrait near Orșova city, which is visible from the Danube river. It is 55 meters tall and 25 meters wide.
- Tarzan is Romanian! Well, not really, but the actor who played the original Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, was born in Romania.
- The national coin is called Leu (Lion), which is curious because there was never a lion or anything related to a lion on the face of the coin (nor is the animal part of Romania’s fauna).
- Let’s end our list with a rather amusing fact. There is one city in Romania that will make most people – except for those living there – smile. This city is called Caracal and is (in)famous for a lot of funny things, as well as an endless source of jokes. Below are some of the funny things about Caracal, Romania:
- The fire lookout tower in the city burnt down.
- The main door of the police station was stolen.
- The cemetery is on the Resurrection street.
- The prison was located on Freedom Street (officially named “Iancu Jianu Street”, but referred to as “Freedom” or “Liberty” Street by the locals).
- They have only one school, named School no. 2.
I hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Romania. Don’t forget to add this beautiful country to your travel wish list!
Article by Lavinia Marcu