Regional training course on SAR mission coordination for Black Sea

General information about Romania

With an area of 238,397 km2 (92,046 square miles), Romania is the twelfth-largest country in Europe. Located in Southeastern Europe, bordering on the Black Sea, the country is halfway between the equator and the North Pole and equidistant from the westernmost part of Europe—the Atlantic Coast—and the most easterly—the Ural Mountains. Romania has 3,195 kilometers of border. Republic of Moldova and Ukraine lie to the east, Bulgaria lies to the south, and Serbia and Hungary to the west. In the southeast, 245 kilometers of sea coastline provide an important outlet to the Black Sea.

The Black Sea is an inland sea between southeastern Europe and the Anatolian peninsula (Turkey) and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas and various straits. The Bosporus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the long, island-bound strait of the Dardanelles connects it to the Aegean Sea region of the Mediterranean. These waters separate eastern Europe and western Asia. To its east, the Kerch Strait links the Sea to the smaller Sea of Azov. The most important river entering the Black Sea is the Danube.Countries bordering the Black Sea are Turkey to the south, Bulgaria and Romania to the west, Ukraine to the north, Russia to the northeast, and Georgia to the east. The Crimean Peninsula juts into the Black Sea from the north.

Where the mighty Danube river meets the Black Sea, it has created a massive deltaland, Europe’s largest wetland area. It is still surprisingly wild and relatively undestroyed.

The 580,000 hectare delta is home to massive amounts of waterbirds of all kinds, most notably pelicans of two species, herons, storks, cormorants and terns. It is a favourite staging area for passage migrants and also wintering grounds for masses of migrating waterbirds from the steppes, the boreal forests and the tundras further north.

Here also lie some of Europe’s very few remaining grazed mosaic forest landscapes, the beautiful woodlands of Letea and Caraorman. Beavers are slowly making their return into the area, the area holds healthy populations of golden jackal while white-tailed eagles show a remarkable comeback.

The massive productivity of the many water habitats here has led to the delta harbouring the largest number of fish species anywhere in Europe. Flagship species of which are the four species of sturgeon, which once used to wander the entire length of the Danube river all the way up into Germany. The area has unprecedented potential for wetland restoration and rewilding, in particular the former polders and lakes can be reflooded and reconnected with the Danube river dynamics.

Bucharest is a stylish and colourful capital, full of beautiful places, some of them out of sight: lovely churches & monasteries, interesting museums and cultural edifices. The city is permanently changing offering a unique urban environment: spectacular interbellic architecture mixed with XXIst century glass & steel buildings of various aspects.

Around the 1900's Bucharest attractions made it earn the title "Little Paris", due to its beautiful Belle Epoque buildings, large boulevards tree-lined, and its highlife, artists, musicians, writers & painters. Nowadays the city proudly displays its history and diversity, a mix of old and new - Bucharest is a vibrant metropolis, modern & dinamic, who is recovering fast from the scars left by the communist regime.

Romania may not be as well-known in North America as the Western European countries, but that doesn't mean it is an insignificant part of the world. Here are some facts of significance you might not have known about or have associated with Romania:

  • History

  • Geography

  • Science/ Technology


The name "Romania" comes from the Latin word "Romanus" which means "citizen of the Roman Empire."

The history of Romania is eventful and deeply connected with its geographical position on the continent, at the crossroads of great historical empires. In fact, Romania is one of the best places in Europe to discover and understand the history of the entire continent.

A history that starts with the expansion of the Roman Empire to migrant tribes invasions, from the wars against the Ottoman Empire that threatened to conquer Christianity to the self-determination movements of the 19th century. Romania was in the first line on the eastern fronts of the two world wars and was transformed into a communist state for more than four decades.

To find out more about the ancient history of Romania, visit the National Museum of History from Bucharest or the history museums from Deva and Sarmizegetusa. The ruins of the Dacian capital — Sarmizegetusa Regia — and the Dacian fortifications are included in the UNESCO Heritage Sites of Romania.


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 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.

The Carpathian Chamois (Capra Neagra) - indigenous to Carpathian Mountains of Romania - is the largest of the species.

The ancient Turda Salt Mines (Salina Turda), located in Transylvania, houses 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. 

Romania features the youngest continental land in Europe: the Danube Delta
The mighty Danube River flows 1,788 miles from its springs in Germany's Black Forest to the BlackSea.
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 world's largest saline Heliothermic lake is Lake Ursul (Bear Lake) in Sovata - central Transylvania.
Heliothermic lakes contain a sun-heated layer of warm, saline water beneath a surface layer of cooler, less saline water.
The two layers are separated by a chemocline, a stratum in which salinity increases progressively with depth.
(Attribution: U.S. Geological Survey)

The lake was named after its shape which resembles kind of bearskin.
Lake Ursul is also the world's only natural lake whose formation time is precisely known,
on May 27, 1875 at 11 a.m. a landslide led to the appearance of this hyper-saline body of water.

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 135-ft. tall statue of Dacian king Decebal, carved in the rocky bank of the Danube river, is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe. 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, a wealthy Romanian businessman and historian.

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 Peles castle was built by the first King of Romania, Carol I of Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen, between 1873 and 1914. By 1883, the year of its inauguration, it was used as summer residence. Between 1890 and 1914, under the supervision of the Czech architect Karel Liman, considered the main architect, the castle was transformed and enlarged. Decoration: in the first shape (1883), both exterior and interior stylistic dominant is provided by the German neo-Renaissance style with two exceptions, the neo-Ottoman and the neo-Rococo styles. In the second stage (1890-1914), fundamental changes to the volumes, façades and interiors enriched the previous stylistic range, adapting the castle to the stylistic pluralism of Historicism.

Science/ Technology

Bitdefender – one of the best antivirus / Internet security software suites - was developed by Romanian company Softwin.

Romanian Inventor Traian Vuia was the first European to built and fly a fully self-propelled, fixed-wing 'automobile airplane' (March 18, 1906).

The first substance proved to have a normalizing effect on blood sugar levels - pancreatine (the predecessor of insulin) was discovered by Romanian physiologist, professor of medicine: Nicolae Paulescu.
Between 1914 and 1916, Dr. Paulescu performed experiments in which he obtained an anti-diabetic pancreatic extract.
In 1916 his extract, injected into diabetic dogs, reduced blood glucose levels.

The jet engine used by modern airplanes was invented by Bucharest-born inventor Henri Coanda.
The Romanian inventor and aerodynamics pioneer, Henri Coanda designed and built in 1910 the world's first jet powered aircraft, known as the Coandă - 1910, which he demonstrated publicly at the 2nd International Aeronautic Salon in Paris. Romania's main international airport, Bucharest Otopeni - Henri Coanda, is named after the great inventor.

Romanian physician, biologist, and one of the earliest bacteriologists, Victor Babeş
discovered more than 50 germs and a cure for a disease named after him, "Babesiosis".

Another Romanian biologist, Emil Palade, received the Nobel Prize for his contributions to cell biology.

The birth of the Theory of Sonics can be considered the publication of the book 'A treatise on transmission of power by vibrations' in 1918 by the Romanian scientist George Constantinescu.

Mathematician Ştefan Odobleja is regarded as the ideological father behind cybernetics, his work "The Consonantist Psychology" (1938) was the main source of inspiration for N. Wiener's Cybernetics (1948).

In 1924, Romanian physicist (ms.) Stefania Maracineanu was the first scientist who identified the phenomenon of artificial radioactivity and has demonstrated the first laboratory experiment proving the possibility to produce artificial nuclear radiation. In her Ph.D. thesis, Maracineanu showed that led, activated with radioactive polonium, emits radiations.
This first laboratory proof was investigated for ten more years by French scientists Frederic and Irene Joliot-Curie which formulated a theoretical model for artificial radioactivity. The French savants who received the Nobel prize in 1935 have acknowledged the initial discovery of Stefania Maracineanu in an article published in "Neues Wiener Journal" (1934).

Lazăr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine; he also invented the modern method of refining crude oil.

The first fountain pen was invented by Craiova - born Petrache Poenaru (1799-1875):
his invention was patented in May 1827.

The Danube - Black Sea Canal - in south-east Romania - is world's third longest man-made navigation route, after the Suez and Panama Canals.
The first plans to build this canal were made in late 1830s but construction works only started in 1975.
13.5 billion cubic feet of soil and rock were excavated to build the Danube - Black Sea canal (883 million more than for the Suez and respectively 4.9 billion more than for the Panama).
Its banks are reinforced with 177 million cubic feet of concrete.
This 61 miles long, Y-shape canal, was opened to navigation in 1984, it makes the water distance from the Danube river to the Black Sea port of Constanta 249 miles shorter and keeps trade ships away from the Danube Delta.

Europe's first curved bridge "Podul Bisetz" was built in Giurgiu, southern Romania, in 1905 (a technical innovation of two Romanian engineers: Anghel Saligny and Ion Ionescu Bisetz).
In 2007, rail and vehicular traffic has been diverted to a new bridge, nearby, but historic Bisetz bridge remains open to pedestrians and bicyclists.

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