Romania is a place full to the brim with history, culture and natural beauty. Sharing a border with Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine, Romania truly is the heart of the Balkans. Whether you have already visited or plan to, some of these facts might surprise you. Without further adieu, here are some of the most interesting facts about Romania.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Romania
1. You can drive the most beautiful road in the world in Romania
The Transfagarasan highway is often hailed as the world most beautiful road to drive on. And you can find it in Romania. This gorgeous stretch of asphalt weaves and winds through every nook and cranny of the Southern Carpathians. Connecting Transylvania to Muntenia, the road passes through both sides of the Fagaras Mountains and the Balea Lake area.
2. It’s home to the world’s heaviest building
The Palace of Parliament in Bucharest holds the title for the world’s heaviest building. To give an idea of just how massive it is, there are 1,100 rooms, eight underground levels beneath its 12 storeys, and even a nuclear bunker that connects to other government buildings. Not only that, but inside you’ll find a whopping three and a half tons of crystal, nearly 500 chandeliers and more than 700,000 tons of steel and bronze for the windows alone.
3. Romania has a ton of brown bears
Romania is known for its dense woods and rich wildlife, so its no surprise that it also boasts an extremely large bear population. In fact, when it comes to brown bears, Romania has the largest population in Europe. More than 60% of the continent’s brown bears roam the forests of the Carpathian Mountains. Other common predatory animals include grey wolves and the Eurasian lynx.
4. It has a plethora of stunning churches
Romania is known for its gorgeous churches that dot the countryside. It’s estimated that there are more than 18,000 churches spread across the country. The most famous churches can be found in the Voronet Monastery. This ancient monastery holds the eight Churches of Moldavia famous for their elaborate frescoes. Despite being a secular state on paper, Romania is one of the most religious countries in Eastern Europe. The main religion being Orthodox Christian.
5. Romania has eight UNESCO sites
In addition to the Churches of Moldavia, Romania boasts seven other UNESCO sites; 6 of which are cultural. Among them are the entire historic centre of Sighisoara and the ancient remains of the Dacian Fortresses in the Orastie Mountains. Natural sites include the Danube Delta and the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians.
6. There’s a very colourful graveyard
No, really. The name is Merry Cemetery and it’s located in Sapanta. Widely hailed as the world’s most colourful graveyard it’s one of the nation’s most unique attractions. Throughout the cemetery, you’ll find elaborately painted tombstones that breathe a figurative life into the grounds. They’re more than just pretty, too. Many of the designs serve as analogies of the frailty of life.
7. There’s a hidden glacier
Head to the Bihor Mountains you’ll be on top of one of Romania’s most interesting natural wonders, The Scarisoara Glacier. This underground glacier is the second largest in Europe at has a volume of 75,000 cubic meters. Located in the Scarisoara Ice Cave, this beauty is also more than 10,000 years old.