Some countries pay a high price for having nice stuff but being in the wrong place. Got fertile land and a temperate climate? Check. Are you in a great location that deftly bridges the gap between very divergent cultures, allowing for vibrant trading possibilities? Check. Are you going to be invaded by just about everyone? Double check.
That’s pretty much Romania’s story. A true melting pot of so many cultures (and invasions): Persians, Romans, Huns, Goths, Saxons, Magyars, the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires…and more. In the 20th century, Romania got kicked around during both World Wars, endured a lengthy dictatorship and then the vagaries of a hastily cobbled-together market economy.
Fascinating stuff, and so much to learn about that I could easily stick around for a while. That’s why I was happy to find a concise but comprehensive guide, Romania: An Illustrated History by Nicolae Klepper. A quick read, this book takes you through really interesting early history (as in Bronze and Iron Age) all the way to the end of the Cold War, and the bumpy path that most all of the ex-Iron Curtain countries have had to tread. Oh, and Dracula!
Hitting the milestone of my 30th country! At this pace, I’ll be done with this blog in 20 years!
Anyway…country #30 is Romania. Excited to be back in Central/Eastern Europe; I had only superficial knowledge of this part of the world before I started this blog, and have been happy to learn more about it.
Regions and Counties of Romania (image by Alex:D via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of Romania (image by AdiJapan (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Romania (image by David Liuzzo via Wikimedia Commons)
A lovely celebration in Moldova and Romania that celebrates March 1st, and the coming of spring.
Gifts of small tokens of affection, most often red and white, are a fun part of a holiday that has its roots in the ancient past.