General information Romania


Romania is situated in south central Europe (46 00 North, 25 00 East) from a geographical standpoint, 2900 kilometres south, east and west of the northern tip of Scandinavia, the westernmost point in continental Europe and the Ural mountains respectively as well as 900 kilometres north of the Mediteranean sea. Politically, many people include Romania in the Eastern European bracket of countries or in the Balkans.


The Carpathian mountain range running from the northern border with Ukraine to the southern border with Serbia divides the country in three historical regions: Transylvania, Muntenia and Moldova. Each of these three regions are divided themselves into subregions (please do notice that the total area covered by some of the subregions I’m going to mention does not equal the area of the region that it is part of), such as Ardeal, Banat, Crisana and Maramures for Transylvania, Oltenia and Dobrogea for Muntenia or Bucovina for Moldova.


Romania is divided into 41 counties (“judeţe” in Romanian) and the capital Bucharest. For an easier understanding of this administrative setup.

I could also mention that Romania is divided into 6 or 7 regions as per European Union regulations in order to ease up the distribution of EU funds in the upcoming years, but they’ve been built up so badly that no Romanian is using them in day to day talking.


Much of the southern border with Bulgaria and Serbia is formed by the Danube, as is the border with Ukraine. The Prut river is the natural border between Romania and Moldova and that’s about it when it comes to borders and major rivers. Other Romanian rivers worth romania

mentioning are the Mures in Transylvania, the Olt in Transylvania and Oltenia and the Siret river in Moldova. The Danube forms a Delta in Dobrogea, flowing into the Danube.

The Carpathian mountain range is divided in three parts in Romania: the Oriental Carpathians (easternmost, the Meridional Carpathians (central) and the Apuseni (Occidental) Carpathians (westernmost). The Făgăraş mountains located in the Meridional Carpathians have the highest peaks in the country, the Moldoveanu Peak (2544 m) and the Negoiu Peak (2535 m).

Major Cities

By far the largest city in Romania is the capital, Bucharest, with a population of about 2 000 000 inhabitants. Right after Bucharest there are 7 cities (Iasi, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Constanta, Craiova, Galati, Brasov) very similar in size, with a population ranging between 285 000 (Brasov) and 320 000 (Iasi). These numbers are for the cities themselves and not for the metropolitan areas. One could argue that a future merger (probable, but uncertain due to the rivalry between the two cities) between Galati and Braila (a mere 15 kilometres apart) might create the second largest Romanian city with about 515 000 inhabitants.


Romania is a constitutional republic, with a president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (one person could only be president for two terms maximum) and with a council of ministers appointed by the prime minister which is the head of government. Parties must be voted by more than 5% of the population in order to enter the parliament. 

The parliament is bicameral, consisting of a Senate (137 seats) and a Chamber of Deputies (332 seats). Both elected senators and deputies serve four-year terms.

Major political parties and/or alliances include: Alianta D.A., comprised by PNL (National Liberal Party, center-right) and PD (Democratic Party, center), PSD (Social Democratic Party, left-wing) and PRM (Greater Romania Party, extreme right). Minor parties worth mentioning are UDMR (the party representing the Hungarian minority; they always manage to beat the voting threshold and get into parliament), PC (Conservative Party; sort of a camel-ostrich, jumping from side to side depending on present interests).


After the overthrow of the Communist regime in late December 1989, the Romanian economy started a long journey from a planned economy to a market economy. This journey kicked off with a decade of economic instability as a result of lack of structural reforms from the stubborn neocommunists at the helm of the country. It climaxed in the late 90s with an near bankruptcy, Romania being close of defaulting on its loans almost at the same time that its southern neighbour, Bulgaria, did. Right afterwards Mugur Isarescu, the national bank governor, was appointed as prime minister and things slowly started to change, the year 2000 being the first of decent economic growth in quite a long time. Since then, Romania’s economy changed at a fast pace given the prospect of EU entry and economic growth followed at an average of about 6% for the 2000-2005 period, with a peak 8.4% in 2004. Unemployment (6.2% in May 2006) and inflation (expected to be around 7.5% for 2006) also fell slowly but surely during the whole period. According to the IMF, the GDP per capita in PPP (purchasing power parity) terms for 2005 is $8785, putting Romania in the lower middle income countries according to the World Bank.

Some other statistics you might have an interest in

Area: 237500 square kilometres

Coastline: 225 kilometres

Population: aprox. 22300000 (2006)

Life expectancy: 71.63 years (male: 68.14 years, female: 75.34 years) (2006)

Ethnic groups: Romanian 89.5%, Hungarian 6.6%, Roma 2.5%, Ukrainian 0.3%, German 0.3%, Russian 0.2%, Turkish 0.2%, other 0.4% (2002 census)

Religions: Eastern Orthodox 86.8%, Protestant 7.5%, Roman Catholic 4.7%, Muslim and others 0.9%, none 0.1% (2002 census)

Languages: Romanian (official), Hungarian, German

Literacy: 98.4% (male: 99.1%, female: 97.7%) (2003)

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