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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.

During the Middle Ages Romanians were also known as Vlachs, a blanket term ultimately of Germanic origin, from the word Walha, used by ancient Germanic peoples to refer to Romance-speaking and Celtic neighbours.

The meaning of the word “Transylvania” is the land beyond the forest.

Paved Dacian Road

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.

The oldest cave drawings in Central and Eastern Europe were found recently in Romania’s Coliboaia cave. Discovered by chance during a routine expedition in a very remote area in Apuseni National Park , the 13 drawings, which represent animals such as rhinos, buffalos, horses and cats, are approximately 32,000 years.

The drawings are very well preserved, likely because the area the where the gallery is located is not subject to flooding. Experts believe that the entrance of the cave was once used for hunting related rituals.
Attribution: Caving News

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.

Geography

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

Mountains, including the yellow poppy, Transylvanian columbine, saxifrage
and edelweiss.

Inside the old Turda Salt Mines (Salina Turda) located in Transylvania, Romania, stands the world’s largest salt mine museum.

Originally established in the 17th century, the massive mines were formed completely by hand and machine rather than by using explosives. Visitors are invited to descend as far down as almost 400 feet into the Earth in order to witness the history of the trade.More information & images.

Romania features the youngest continental land: (the 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 Danube Delta – second largest and best preserved in Europe – 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, tree-fringed lakes and reed islands.
The Danube Delta is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise (especially a bird watcher’s). It is home to the world’s largest reed bed and hosts rare species of plants and animals, including endangered sturgeon, otters, wildcats and European mink.

The Danube Delta is a final resting place for gravel and sediment washed form the Alps. Formed over a period of more than 10,000 years, the Danube Delta continues to grow; 67 million tons of alluvia and sediments – the bulk of ten Great Pyramids – are deposited every year by the Danube River.

The Iron Gates (or the Gate of Trajan) – a natural river channel between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains- are the Danube River’s narrowest point (492 ft). The narrow is flanked by 984 feet high cliffs and the water is 296 feet deep.

» 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.