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  • General Info
The country has seen several empires come and go - Roman, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian, all leaving their legacy. Romania has a rich cultural and natural diversity. Its dramatic mountain scenery includes the densely forested Carpathian Mountains, the Danube Delta (the largest wetland in Europe) and 70km (43 miles) of fine white sandy beaches on the Black Sea Coast. In picturesque valleys and on mountain slopes are many health and winter resorts. Romania’s cultural heritage can be experienced in the Saxon towns of Transylvania, also home to Bran Castle, of Dracula fame, the painted monasteries of Bucovina and the rural village idyll of Maramures.

Practical Information

Area: 238 391 km² (92 043 miles²)

Capital: Bucharest. Population: 2 million

Population: 21.6 million

Currency: New Leu (RON symbol (plural) Lei) = 100 bani

Government: Democratic Republic since 1991.

Tipping: A 5 to 10% tip is customary in restaurants.

Legal drinking age: The legal age for drinking in a bar is 18

Time zone: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October)

Languages: Romanian

Additional descriptions

Romania: Social customs

Handshaking is the most common form of greeting, but Romanian men may kiss a woman’s hand when being introduced. Mr or Mrs should be used when greeting someone for the first time. Visitors should followRead more normal European courtesies on social occasions. Dress tends to be rather conservative but casual wear is suitable. Beachwear should not be worn away from the beach or poolside. If visiting a home, a small wrapped gift should be given to the host, such as flowers or chocolates (to women only), wine or liquor. Flowers should be given as a gift in odd numbers only. Many Romanians are smokers and gifts of Western cigarettes are greatly appreciated. Other well-appreciated gifts include toiletries. Photography: Military installations should not be photographed. Some tourist attractions require visitors to pay a fee (sometimes hefty) for taking photographs.Smoking: The Romanian government bans smoking in every public place, but, as in many countries in Eastern Europe, smokers have little respect for non-smokers and for smoking laws. Smoking is forbidden on planes, on buses and on some trains. Luxury hotels have designated no-smoking floors but very few restaurants have no-smoking sections.

Romania: Food and local specialties

Romanian cuisine is a product of the influence of different cultures throughout the centuries - Greeks, Romans, Saxons, Turks and Slavic neighbours. The main ingredients used by Romanian chefs are meatsRead more such as pork, beef and lamb, fish, vegetables, dairy products and fruit. They excel in full-bodied soups. Breakfasts almost always include eggs, either soft-boiled, hard-boiled, fried or scrambled. Omelettes, filled with either cheese, ham or mushrooms, are also frequently served. Things to know: Vegetarians may have difficulties, as most local specialities are meat-based. Although there are inexpensive self-service snack bars, table service is the norm. There are no licensing hours. The national specialties are: Soups: Ciorba de perisoare (soup with meatballs), ciorba tãrãneascã (vegetable soup with meat and rice balls served with sour cream), giblet soup and a variety of fish soups. Moldavian parjoale (flat meat patties, highly spiced and served with garnishes). Mamaliga (a staple of mashed cornmeal). Nisetru la gratar (grilled Black Sea sturgeon). Pasca (a sweet cheesecake). Tuicã (plum brandy) and Tuicã de Bihor (strong brandy, generally known as palinca). Wines: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay from the Murfatlar vineyards, Grasa and Feteasa from Moldavia’s Cotnari vineyards. Sparkling wines. Glühwein (mulled wine).

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