Romania, in southeast Europe, is mountainous in the north while the main feature in the south is the vast Danube valley. The river forms a delta as it approaches the Black Sea, which is a wildlife reserve for countless native and migratory birds.
The Romanian parliament consists of two chambers, the Senat (Senate) and the Camera Deputaţilor (Chamber of Deputies). The members of both are chosen in elections held every four years.
Ethnically, the population is 90% Romanian and 7% Hungarian. The Romanian language, like a number of others in southern Europe, is directly descended from Latin, although Romania is separated from other Romance-language countries by Slav speakers.
Romania has considerable natural resources – oil, natural gas, coal, iron, copper and bauxite. Metal-working, petrochemicals and mechanical engineering are the main industries.
Romanian speciality dishes include grilled meatballs, meat wrapped in cabbage leaves, pork stew with garlic and onions and doughnuts made with cream and cheese.
The spine-chilling tale of Dracula was inspired by the 15th century Romanian Count Vlad Dracul whose son was famous in wartime for impaling captured enemies.
Less notorious Romanians include:
Eugene Ionesco – the writer
Nadia Comăneci – the gymnast
George Enescu – the composer
- Political system: Republic
- Capital city: Bucharest
- Language: Romanian
- National day: 1 December – anniversary of all Romanian states into a single state (1918)
- Total area: 237 500 km²
- Population: 21.5 million
- Currency: Romanian leu
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