10 interesting facts about Romania
This time we take a closer look at the unknown sides of Romania. Did you know, for example, that very early fossils of Homo sapiens were found there or that the tallest wooden church in Europe is in the country? We have collected ten facts that will probably surprise you.
1. Roman roots
The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.” The Romanian language is 1,700 years old and goes back to Latin, but also has Slavic influences.
2. The tallest wooden church in Europe
The tallest wooden church in the world and the second tallest wooden building in Europe, is in Sapanta Peri, Maramures in north-western Romania. In this small village in northern Romania, there is a group of almost one hundred churches carved out of wood, eight of which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO for their religious architecture and wooden building traditions.
3. And the second largest building in the world
The Parliament Palace in Bucharest is the second largest building in the world, behind only the Pentagon. The building is 240 metres long, 270 metres wide and 86 metres high. Built on 12 floors, the monument has 1,100 rooms. According to Guinness World Records, it is also the heaviest building in the world.
4. A hidden underground glacier
The Scărișoara Glacier is one of the biggest ice caves in Romania. It is considered a show cave and one of the natural wonders of Romania. The cave is located below the Bihor Mountains and is the second largest underground glacier in Europe. With a volume of 75,000 cubic metres, the glacier has existed for more than 3,500 years.
5. The Merry Cemetery
The Merry Cemetery is situated in the village of Săpânța and is certainly the most unique of its kind. The cemetery is a creation of local folk artist Stan Ioan Pătraș and features painted crosses with satirical epitaphs that reveal the message of the deceased to the living. This cheerful attitude towards death comes from the Dacians, the ancestors of the Romanians, who believed that death was only a transition to a better life.
6. Tallest rock sculpture in Europe
We’ll stay with the Dacians right away: the statue of the Dacian king Decebal, carved into the rocky bank of the Danube, is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe at 55 metres. It was created by twelve alpinist sculptors over a period of ten years.
7. The oldest cave drawings in CEE
… were discovered by chance during a routine expedition in the Coliboaia cave in the Apuseni National Park. The 13 drawings are about 32,000 years old and depict animals such as rhinoceroses, buffalos, horses, and cats.
8. Early Homo sapiens fossils
Very early Homo sapiens fossils, were discovered in 2002 in southwestern Romania, in the Cave of Bones. The fossils’ age is estimated at 37,800 to 42,000 years old.
9. The Căluşul Ritual Dance
Romania is on the UNESCO List of Immaterial Cultural Heritage with its ritual dance, named Căluşul. This dance is extremely old. The Căluşul tradition is part of the tradition of Christian thaumaturgical games of mixed Jewish-Roman tradition typical of the first Christian centuries or older. The dance is believed to represent both the galloping of a horse and dances with the fairies. The dancers belong to a secret, men-only society, and they are known for “their ability to create the impression of flying in the air.”
10. A Paranormal Forest
Baciu Forest in Cluj Napoca is considered the most paranormal area on the planet. Given its eerie atmosphere, it is considered one of the most haunted forests in the world. A place that lends itself well to stories steeped in darkness. Some even call it the “Bermuda Triangle of Romania”.
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