Between green plains, ancient mountains and the vast Black Sea, Romania is a land which has been blessed with an energy beyond compare. The three important historical regions, Moldavia in the East, Transylvania in the West, and Wallachia in the South, share the same people, yet the cultural influences and geographical particularities have molded their characters in slightly different directions.
If you thought there are breathtaking landscapes in the Alps and Himalayas, it means you have never hiked on Mount Ceahlau, in the North of Moldavia. With some of the best hiking routes in the world, there is something for everyone here. Are you not particularly interested in walking for miles in order to get to the top? Then why don’t you take the gondola in Piatra Neamt, in order to get to see the beautiful combination of mountain, plain and water?
Okay, maybe you’re a bit afraid of heights. What about visiting some churches? No, it’s not as boring as it sounds. Moldavia is home to the biggest collection of wooden churches in the world, some of them having been built as far back as the 13th century. And don’t even think that these were peaceful lands where some monks made wine and cheese the whole day. These are lands that have been through countless wars, not to mention the communist regime that opposed religion vehemently.
Speaking of wine and cheese. In Northern Moldavia, there is a smaller region called Bucovina, which is renowned for the variety and ‘personality’ of its cuisine.
Not as dark and gloomy as Bram Stoker might have made you think, this region has one interesting particularity: even though it has been under Austro-Hungarian sovereignty for several centuries, the Romanians here refused to give in to the oppression.
The region is famous for its beautiful castles – many times used as settings for movies set in the Middle Eve. And I don’t only refer to Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle), but also to the Hunyad Castle in the West.
But there’s one more detail about Transylvania: the people here really know how to party. Just think about the UNTOLD festival in Cluj, or try to explore all of the partying opportunities in Sibiu or Timisoara (the first city to be lit with electric street lights in Europe).
Home to the capital, Bucharest, this region is known for the most beautiful road in the world, the Transfagarasan (Top Gear).
This is the region that includes the Romanian Riviera. Among teenagers, the preferred city is VamaVeche (the old cutoms), a place worthy of any indie music video.
Bucharest itself is believed to be the city with the best nightlife in Europe, with its famous Old Town, where there are cafes, pubs and clubs for any budget or music genre.
Apart from all the places mentioned, Romania is home to the ‘Merry Cemetery’, where each stone tells an anecdote about the life of the deceased or about their personality.
Romania was also home to an impressive number of artists, such as Constantin Brancusi who set very high standard to modern sculpture; his atelier was re-created in a specifically designed building of the George Pompidou Museum, in Paris.
Oh, and I forgot to mention: Moldavia is now home to MoldaviaMUN, an international MUN which will have its maiden edition in May 2016, in Bacau.