Why Living in a Romanian Village Might Not Be the Thing for You

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You have probably heard about or seen the idyllic Romanian villages, where traditions remain untouched by the evolving technology, where the air is clear and the grass is green. Indeed, most Romanian villages are a joy to live in for those who love nature and would like a home away from the crowded, noisy and polluted urban areas.

But despite all these advantages, living in a Romanian village might not be the right thing for you! And I am here to tell you why!

A different mentality
Even though, just like all Romanians, or maybe even more so, the people living in Romanian villages are extremely friendly and nice with visitors, they all have an old and outdated mentality that might shock a lot of people. I was surely shocked after talking to an old man living in a village.

He invited me inside his house to offer me some fresh eggs (they love to give you gifts!) and I said that hopefully he doesn’t have a dog around, because I am afraid of them. His answer shocked me: “Oh, no, I had one, but he started to attack the chicken so I killed it, the motherf*****.”

He said that as if it was the most natural thing to do and unfortunately for him and many other people living in these villages, it is. In order to keep the dog population under control, they drown the newly born puppies and there are a ton of other barbaric things they normally do without even considering them wrong.

And everything revolving around their mentality is outdated and could really surprise a modern person, from the idea that the woman should stay at home, have kids and cook to all sort of minor things that are, in the end, different from what you know, think or live by. And being surrounded by such people is difficult.

Lack of education
Probably most of the problems with the people in Romanian villages come from their lack of education. Unfortunately, Romania has the highest number of illiterate people in the European Union, and almost all of them live in villages.

Just a few days ago I saw a shocking thing on TV: a reporter was asking people in a Romanian village what is the name of the country they were living in and, as shocking and unbelievable that might sound, they did not know the answer. Of course, a special kind of people were chosen, but they were all adults with a right to vote, and I believe that every person should know at least the name of the country they live in.

The lack of education leads to the old ways of thinking and the mentality problems we’ve talked about, also making them extremely unreceptive to anything new. Plus, you will probably not learn too much from them, unless it’s growing crops or animals – which in many cases is still extremely useful.

Nobody speaks a foreign language
You’ve probably heard it that most Romanians speak English – this is indeed generally true, but it completely excludes the people living in a village. With most of them unable to read, it’s pretty much common sense that learning another language was not high on their priorities list!

Lack of running water
Most of the villages in Romania don’t have running water, and people get theirs from either a well in their yard or from the village’s fountain.

No running water also means that the toilet is a bit different from what you might be used with – and it’s right there at the back of the yard. Going to the toilet during the cold winter days can be a real experience!

Together with the lack of running water, there are still places in Romania that don’t even have electricity. Although these are few and rare, the electrical cables and power is usually really low in the Romanian villages, so don’t expect to run your laptop, the microwave oven and some air conditioning units at the same time!

Poor infrastructure and services
Most of the roads in our villages are dirt roads and you won’t be too happy about them after some heavy rains. Also, public transportation might mean just one bus per day going to the nearby city or maybe nothing.

In terms of services, don’t expect to have too many shops around, or a pharmacy or hospitals or anything else you might normally find in a city. It’s usually one or two small shops and that’s all you get!

Alcohol and petty crime
Since there’s not too much to do in a Romanian village, people there like consider drinking extremely entertaining. They make their own wine and moonshine, and they have a of it, which has to be consumed.

This means that, influenced by alcohol, the villagers might become a bit more violent and it’s indeed the villages where most of Romania’s crimes happens.

Although it’s usually just fights between the drunk people (so technically, if you don’t drink, you should be safe), there are also a lot of petty crimes happening there, stealing probably being the top crime.

I did show you above the worst parts about living in a Romanian village. Although unfortunately all the Cons above can be met in the same village, and I personally believe that in most villages at least some are true, this doesn’t mean that living in a village in Romania is a nightmare.

It just means that you should do some serious research about the area you’re about to move in to and make sure you know everything about the people living there and the type of living you’d have to do before moving out. I am sure that you can still find some amazing villages to live in with none of the problems above!

Hint: start with those closest to the cities, as they are usually a step ahead of the others (but also the least village-y)

13 COMMENTS

  1. Howdy Calin:
    Well, I am #1–yippee!
    The villages you describe sound like the rustic ones in Appalachia in the USA in the 20th Century. I wonder if the people remain in the villages because they are satisfied with their lot in life. Sometimes the modern world can be rather too much at times.
    I remember back in 1968 when I spent a summer in Denmark. My uncle tied up a newborn litter of kittens and threw them in the lake. I didn’t realize what he was doing at the time, though–I was too young. Still it sure should hit home to folks to spay or neuter their pets. (Sometimes here in the USA there are people who should be spayed and neutered, too!)
    I couldn’t live without running water and toilets and showers. That is too rough for me, for sure!
    I’ve seen a very lovely Romanian city on You Tube: Piata Neamt (sorry I don’t have your alphabet). Have you been there, or has Wife Romanian?
    Thanks for another view of your country!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Yay, Teil, you are first! 🙂

      I don’t know if the people choose living in these villages because they are completely satisfied with it, but they don’t really have the means to get out of there. Most of them are happy to see their kids make the move to the city, so they clearly know that it’s not an ideal life there.

      Regarding Piatra Neamt (often referred to as “The Pearl of Moldavia”) – I have only been there when I was little, so I don’t remember much. I know that the entire Moldavia is a great place to visit because of its monasteries, which are indeed worth seeing. I just checked the city on Wikipedia and it seems that it’s just as large as the one I am currently living in, so it could definitely be considered a good choice.

    • I’m looking to move out the u.s. at least for 6 months a year or more. Rommania sounds nice…concerned about water for home…I’m in construction n thought maybe I could buy a home that needs work, or build my own. How much is property there…appreciate any information… Thank you…Michael Martuscelli…

      • If you don’t want to live the country life, then you will have no problems with the water – tap water is drinkable too. Properties are very cheap here compared to the US and rent is even cheaper.

  2. Hi Calin: Thanks for your reply. Who knows, maybe in time, as the older folks pass on, village life will change for the better. The younger folks may come back to improve their lot. It would be nice if all the arable land was used for agriculture. So many people in the world go hungry.
    I spend a lot of time looking at the different Romanian cities on You Tube, Wikipedia, et al, just to see what is what. As much as Bucharest has to offer, I am afraid of the earthquake risk. So many people are living in “red circled” buildings in the city because of the lower rent, I guess. Also, I understand a lot of the building owners are just waiting for some of their older and damaged buildings to collapse so they can build or sell the land. For new construction, do you know if the Romanian law requires reinforced construction to minimize damage in an earthquake?
    It’s the same way here in the USA. I live in an earthquake tsunami risk zone right now (coastal Washington State–Ring of Fire). Seattle, up north of me, is the fastest growing city right now, and it’s also in a very high earthquake risk area. There are laws for new construction to be reinforced, but the many older brick and masonry buildings aren’t reinforced, and hence will suffer the most damage in an earthquake. For that matter, the whole West Coast Of the USA is at risk of a really BIG ONE. (This definitely s*cks!)
    My ideal Romanian city would be out of the seismic zone, scenic, free of a lot of “undesirables,” have a good mass transit system (no Dacia for me;-), a variety of shopping options, a theater or opera house, a train station, a nearby airport, a good infrastructure, a variety of apartments (not a fan of the “blocks” as in Bucharest), etc.–basically what anyone would want, eh?
    Sorry to blather on;-) I hope all is well with you and your little family.
    TTYL,
    ~Teil (USA)

    • Teil, I don’t know if the law requires reinforced construction, but I believe there’s nothing about it. I might be wrong, though.

      The fact that you want a nearby airport and you want to be as far away from the potential seismic areas, actually narrows you down to Western Romania – the areas that I would recommend to anyone willing to make the move. Major airports are in Timisoara and Cluj so anything around them would fit this bill. But I am sure you already know that 🙂

  3. This sounds just like back home! 🙂 . I am not so sure about the kitten and dog killing though. Amazing how similar everything is though. Nice post C, people need to be aware. It’s easy to say ‘oh, l want to live somewhere rustic etc’ . Be careful what you,wish for ..lol..

  4. Hi Calin,
    I’ve been enjoying reading your articles today, they are a great source of very useful information, well wriiten and fun to read 🙂 I was wondering if you could please tell me how tattoos are viewed in Romanian cities and villages? I plan to move to (ideally) Brasov for a few months (maybe longer if it works out well) and was curious if there was any discrimination, in particular being a girl with a couple of tattoos?
    Thank you for your time,
    Sera

    • Hello Sera,

      I am glad that you enjoyed reading the blog! I’ve never heard anything about any kind of discrimination for people with tattoos, be them boys or girls. Actually, tattoos are pretty widespread in Romania and you can always see those full sleeves on somebody. So don’t worry about that – boy or girl, tattoos are welcome! 🙂

      • Thank you for the swift reply Calin,
        that’s great! I only visited Romania for 4 days in 2008 (Brasov and Zarnesti, with a quick visit to Sinaia) and fell in love with both the place and the people, I look forward to returning 🙂

  5. I was a frequent visitor in a small town not far from Sighisoara. Houses could be bought for very cheap but they were in very bad shape. Actually as a foreigner one had to sign a “rent in perpetuity” contract because foreigners weren’t allowed to buy land just the buildings on it. The villagers were really nice but after a while got to be a little annoying with their constant “requests” which always got bigger and bigger (“Oh, if you can remember it, maybe a chainsaw would be nice… Oh, make sure it’s a Stihl!”). As one of the few foreigners in our party who could speak some Romanian, the villagers always made a beeline for me. The strangest request I got was from a Romanian mother who had a very nice daughter who was deaf and had recently divorced her violent husband. “Could you find a nice deaf man in Germany who will marry my daughter?” I told her, sorry, I wasn’t in the matchmaking business, and besides, I thought German sign language was different from Romanian sign language. Well, imagine the egg on my face when the next time I visited, the same mother told me her deaf daughter had met a nice deaf German through the Internet, and she had moved to him in Germany!

    • Ah, I didn’t even consider the requests, but I am sure the same happens everywhere. When we visit our village life, they also try to get things from us as well, usually by offering insanely overpriced services. Probably for foreigners, things are even worse.

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