Fun Facts about Romania: Things You Certainly Didn’t Know

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If you’re planning to move to Romania or simply visit the country for a short period of time, you might be interested to know some less mainstream things about the country, its history and whatnot. I am here today to share with you some fun facts about Romania and I’ll make sure to dig up even more information that it’s not general knowledge and would be fun to know about the country and its people.

So let’s start checking out a few facts about Romania that will hopefully make you smile – and surely boost your Romania knowledge levels above the average:

#1. There is one city in Romania that will make most people – except for those living there – smile. This city is Caracal and is known for a lot of funny things – some of which we’re going to share with you below:

– The fire lookout tower in the city burnt down
– The main door of the police station was stolen
– The cemetery is on the Resurrection street
– The Railway Station Clock in Caracal uses the wrong Roman numbers for number 4 (which should be IV, but is IIII).
– The prison was located on Freedom street (officially named “Iancu Jianu Street”, but referred to as “Freedom” or “Liberty” street by locals)
– They have only one school, named School nr. 2

NOTE: Some people say that most of these stories about Caracal are exaggerations, but at least some are certainly true.

#2. The words dor (to miss someone) and doina (the type of music) can’t be translated in other language and are unique to the Romanian language.

#3. Romania is the only country in Europe where the Brown Bear still lives in the wilderness.

#4. Prince Charles is a big fan of Romania and Transilvania. He visits our country often and owns land in Transilvania.

#5. Romania is considered the gateway to the Caucaz Region, Middle East and Western Balkans – and this is the reason why many civilizations did their best and tried to capture us.

#6. The reason for the large number of orphans in Romania in late 80s, early 90s was Nicolae Ceausescu because of his measures to boost birthrate: he banned abortions for women under 45. Married women under 45 were not allowed to buy contraceptives and even if they wanted to buy them, it would’ve been a tough job because they were removed from the market.

#7. Palatul Parlamentului is the second biggest building in the world after the Pentagon. It lies on 365,000 square meters, which means that it’s absolutely HUGE.

#8. Timisoara is the first city in the world to be illuminated with electricity.

#9. The national coin is called Leu which means Lion which is curious because there was never a lion or anything related to a lion on the face of the coin.

#10. Helmuth Robert Duckadam is a retired goalkeeper (soccer player) who helped his team Steaua Bucuresti to win the 1986 European Cup Final saving four consecutive penalty shots – he holds a World Records Academy award for being the only keeper to achieve something that spectacular.

#11. You might already know about Nadia Comaneci who was the first gymnast in the world to get a perfect 10 at the olympics, but you don’t know about the last gymnast to get a perfect rating. Lavinia Miloşovici is a national gymnast who won 19 World Championships or Olympic medals in her. She is famous for getting a perfect 10 score at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona making it the last ever awarded at any Olympics.

#12. Ivan Patzaichin is a former famous Romanian canoer. He competed in five Summer Olympics and received seven medals, 4 gold, 3 silver, more than any other competitor in the history of sprint canoeing. He also won 22 world championships, 9 gold, 4 silver, 9 bronze. He is now the head coach of the Romanian national team.

#13. Ilie Năstase is a former professional tennis player, is one of the five players in history to win more than 100 ATP professional titles. He is the second male player to win a Grand Slam without dropping a set and the first one to achieve this feat at French Open (1973).

#14: Romanian scientists also had interesting hobbies. For example, Lazăr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine.

#15: Tarzan is Romanian! Well, not really, but the actor who played the original Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, was born in Romania. At the time, the region he was born was actually under Hungarian occupation, but since 1920 it’s part of Romania and close to Timisoara. (thanks, Michael!)

And this is all for now – some fun facts about Romania (but there are so many more that will follow in an upcoming article!)

11 COMMENTS

  1. This is so cool!!! I love the police door being stolen..and the prison on freedom road especially. I also did not know about Prince Charles, but l am not surprised somehow. He seems like he would enjoy Romania. Who wouldn’t? It looks beautiful. I think it was horrific about the birth control for 45 and under, jeez!!!! What a twat he was ! 🙂

    • Yes, a lot of jokes appeared around Caracal lately and it seems that most of them are not true. It’s like all the stupid things that happen in Romania happen in Caracal (which is not true, of course).

  2. Hey Calin: A very enlightening piece! I’ll have to check out Caracal on YouTube;-) Also the gymnast and canoe paddler.
    I’ve never been much of a fan of Prince Charles–especially the way he treated poor Diana. I think he and a lot of royals have arrested development. However, Prince William and Kate do seem to be on the beam.
    As for “Brownie the Bear”: If he doesn’t have me for lunch–I won’t have him for din-din (I don’t think I’d savor Ragu of Bear, or Bear Goulash;-]
    I know Ceausescu was no “Mr. Nice Guy,” and hearing of his contraceptive policy only reinforces my opinion, but he would NOT have let Ferentari become what it has today, I’ll wager. It would be so nice if money could be funneled in to have that whole area razed and have decent housing built. Here in the States we have a program, “Habitat for Humanity,” which funds people to help build their own houses with their own hands. It’s called “sweat equity.” The people take great pride in their new homes, knowing they had a great part in building them. They help each other. In the 21st Century, it’s sad to see such a neighborhood in a great European capital. (Sorry for the rant;-() Of course, the U.S. has a lot of blighted areas, so I guess while I live in a glass house, I shouldn’t throw stones;-)
    I bet May doesn’t come soon enough for the start of your long vacay. I’ll bet your journal will be most interesting!!! Ciao, ~Teil
    p.s. “Madge” Madonna needs to start acting like a 57 year-old–not like a Miley Virus. I used to like her back in the day, but now–yuck!!! She’s a great talent who should continue to play a role in the entertainment industry–just not dressed up and acting like some underage trollop.

    • Hello, Teil. Indeed, May seems so far away… :))

      Ceausescu was actually destroying houses to build blocks of flats and Ferentari was there, similar to how it is today, during his “reign”. And it was certainly built during his time, so I’m not too sure that things would’ve stayed differently. 🙂 But the Habitat for Humanity program… not that’s something really amazing!

  3. I still remember watching Nadia Comaneci at the Olympics as a child, and watching the movie that was made after her story. Nadia was the first person that really made an impact on me regarding having a lofty goal and doing her best to reach that goal. Great post, C – thanks for sharing. 🙂

  4. Yes, I too as a teenager fell in love with Comaneci (I was 17, so give me a break!). She was cute, the pinnacle of perfection and made it look so easy. I couldn’t even part my hair in the morning without at least three tries… Much, much later, we heard she had defected to the West. She ended up marrying a fellow Oklahoman and also a famous gymnast named Bart Connor and settling down in Norman, Oklahoma, just about 25 miles from where I grew up in Oklahoma City.

  5. ( Later, that same decade.) I have only come across Your site here lately, so pardon me if You noted this already. If You are so young or deprived to have to ask “Who ?”, please feel free to discard this, too.
    Didn’t You say that You live in Timisoara ? Well, if You did or not, I recently saw that Johnny Weissmuller was born there.
    I don’t know the address.
    Tarzan Rules !

    • Happy Anniver’sary to me, too. Graduated H.S. 47 years ago today.
      Why what ? Oh, because I swallowed something and forgot to go back to school for 6 months or so.
      Wife and I plan to be in Your adopted country in a couple of months, for the first time. So I hope all Your info is accurate. ( Ha ha,wise ass. I know it is. )
      Should we bring You a T- shirt like ours’ that says “65 million of U.S. voted for someone else” ?

      Nice Web thing, thanks
      Michael

    • Hello Michael,

      That is true! Tarzan was born in Romania 🙂 That is indeed a fun fact to mention – I will add it to the article right away. There are probably more that I simply missed.

      I am trying to keep the info as accurate as possible for sure. I hope that you will enjoy Romania once you get here.

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