Travel Guides: Romania Part 2
Romania has a unique culture due to its distinct geographical and historical evolution. It is fundamentally defined as a meeting point of three regions: Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, but it can not be truly included in any one of them. The Romanian identity formed on a substrate from a mixture of Roman and Dacian elements, with many other influences.
Folkloric culture of the Romanian space operates mostly as a synthesis of elements borrowed from other populations, consisting of originality and the selection of the lock. In ancient and medieval times, the most important influences were the Slavic peoples who migrated in the Carpathian-Danube and who have formed near them – Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, Poland and Russia – the Greeks of the Byzantine Empire and then under Turkish protection from Fanar, the Ottoman Empire, the Hungarians and the Germans living in Transylvania.
Modern Romanian culture emerged and developed in the last 250 years under a strong influence from Western European cultures, especially French and German. In addition, under the influence of Byzantine and Slavic tradition, the Romanians are also the only Orthodox Christian people of Latin nations.
By its geographical location, Romania is an area of intersection of several main transport thoroughfares linking the east and west. On the other hand, the transmission network in Romania as a liaison between community and network transmission network to transport non-neighboring states in Eastern Europe and Asia. However, due to investment, inadequate maintenance and repairs, transport infrastructure does not meet the needs of today’s economy; it is far behind Western Europe.
Lately, efforts are being made to bring the main road network in Romania in the European corridors. There have been initiated several projects to modernize the network of European corridors, financed from ISPA funds and state-guaranteed loans from international financial institutions. Government seeks external financing or public-private partnerships for other road network upgrades, especially the highways. In March 2009, Romania has completed only 280 km of highway.
The only highways in Romania are: A1, from Pitesti to Bucharest and A2 from Bucharest to Cernavoda. It is in question the construction of a highway through Transylvania. Other segments that are in various stages are: Transylvania highway, linking Brasov to Oradea (PCTF Bors) Bucharest – Brasov, Cernavoda – Constanta, Turda – Dej, Nadlac – Arad – Timisoara, Bucharest – Rosiorii De Vede – Craiova. The national railway company is Romanian Railways.
In 2004, 22,247 km of railway infrastructure included railways, of which about 8585 km and 2617 km electrified double track lines, most of the standard gauge of 1,435 mm, railway network is Europe’s fourth largest. During 1990-2002, the number of passengers transported by rail for domestic and international routes saw a steady decline, more pronounced between 1990 and 1994 and slower after 1994. The causes which led to a continuing reduction in passenger ship and the journey are related to general economic and social situation in the country, reduced household incomes, increased unemployment (for commuters) and the increase in car numbers.
Rail travel is ensured with a total of 817 locomotives, of which more than half were older than 20 years. Since 2005, passenger rail transport was liberalized, several secondary lines being leased for private operators. Airport network for public air traffic consists of 17 civil airports, all of which are open to international traffic. 12 of them are permanently open, and the rest of the application.
Of the 17 airports, four operate under the MTCT, 12 under the authority of county councils and the airport was privatized. As a general observation, the air fleet in Romania is a comprehensive process of modernization. The fleet of aircraft for commercial traffic has been reduced from 55 aircraft in 1991 to 34 aircraft in 2004, the decommissioning of old aircraft. After Vuia Traian, Aurel Vlaicu and Henri Coanda results have contributed to the development of pioneering aviation company was founded in 1920 by the Franco-Romanian Air Navigation, which provides air passenger, cargo and mail, being the first airline in the world that has made transcontinental flights.
In the following years have been established companies Lares (Romanian Air Lines), SART (Society for the Romanian Air Transport), TARS (Soviet-Romanian Air Transport). On September 18, 1954 was established TAROM (Romanian Air Transport), which are still operational today. A few years later, TAROM was operating flights to almost all European countries and flying across the Atlantic in 1966. Since 1974, it made flights to Sydney via Calcutta and introduced regular flights to New York and Beijing.
The present domestic market is the largest classical European airlines (Lufthansa and Air France) and low-cost (and Easyjet Ryanair). Blue Air was founded in 2004, the first Romanian company to transport low-cost airlines. Romanian river transport is still very low (below one percent) but with high growth potential due to rivers and waterways of the Danube River. In 2006, in Romania there were 1731 kilometers of navigable waters. Romania has the 2251 Class I river vessels, which may make economic missions and about 587 international river waters, which can navigate only on the Romanian side of Danube River.
Most recreational vessels are registered, about 13,246, leisure tourism on the Danube and Romania in the waters of developing in recent years. For Romania is the Danube-Black Sea port of Cernavoda connecting with the port steadily grown, about 400 km shortening the route of goods from Black Sea to the ports along the Danube in central Europe. The main means of transportation are buses, trolleybuses, trams and buses, operated by autonomous generally administered by local authorities.
The only city that has a metro system is Bucharest. Bucharest Metro was opened in 1979, is today the most used means of transport in Bucharest, with over 650,000 passengers daily. UNESCO World Heritage List includes monuments in Romaniasuch as: Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania, the painted churches of northern Moldavia, the wooden churches of Maramures, the Monastery Horezu, citadel of Sighisoara, Dacian fortresses, Orastie Mountains and Danube Delta. Also in 2007, Sibiu was declared European Capital of Culture together with Luxembourg.
With an estimated GDP of 404.7 billion lei (1 euro = 4.4 lei) and 18.791 lei per capita in 2007, Romania is a country with an upper-middle income. Romania’s gross domestic product climbed last quarter of 2008 by 2.9% over the year making the growth to 7.1%. The value of GDP in 2008 was 503.959 billion lei (136.8 billion euros). After the fall of communism, the country experienced a decade of instability and deep economic decline, the consequences caused by maladministration, corruption and lack of real structural reforms.
Since the beginning of the millennium, the Romanian economy was transformed into a relatively stable economy, characterized by a visible growth, coupled with lower unemployment and inflation. In 2006, according to the National Institute of Statistics, GDP grew 7.9% in real terms, one of the highest in Europe and GDP per capita equaled made by Romania in 1988. Unemployment in Romania was 3.9% in September 2007, a low percentage when compared to other medium and large countries in Europe such as Poland, France, Germany and Spain. External debt is relatively small, representing 20.3% of GDP.
Romania’s main industries are textiles and footwear, metallurgy, machinery and light assembly, mining, wood processing, building materials, chemical, food and petroleum refining. Secondary importance has pharmaceutical industries, heavy machinery and appliances. The motor industry is very dynamic, being supported mainly by the vehicle manufacturer Dacia.
Romanian IT industry also knows a steady annual growth. In general, Romania has a busy trade with EU countries, notably Germany and Italy which are some of the most important partners of Romania’s trading. After a series of privatizations and reforms of the late ’90s and early 2000s, government intervention in the economy was quite absent, in comparison with the economies of other countries in Europe. In 2005, Romania has replaced progressive system of taxation in which the maximum rate was 40% with a single rate of 16%.
In 2007, it was the smallest share of the EU. However, in 2008, Romania was overshadowed by Bulgaria who is now a flat rate of 10% and the Czech Republic, where was recently introduced a rate of 15%. The economy is predominantly based on services, which accounts for 55% of GDP, while industry and agriculture also have an important contribution of 35% and 10% of GDP.
In contrast, 32% of the population is employed in agriculture and manufacturing, one of the highest rates in Europe. Since 2000, Romania has attracted more foreign investors, as the most important foreign investment destination Central and Southeastern Europe. Foreign direct investment in 2006 was worth € 8.3 billion. An important contribution to the Romanian economy is money sent by the Romanian citizens working in other countries of the world. The latest World Bank estimates, this figure rose in 2008 to 9 billion dollars.
Among the economic problems in Romania are: about half the rural population do not subject to taxation, social assisted are too many, too much money spent on expensive drugs, high tax evasion. According to a 2006 report by the World Bank, Romania’s economy ranks 49 out of a total of 175 national economies on the ease of doing business, thus recording a better position than other countries in the region, like Hungary and Czech Republic.
In addition, the same study found that in 2006 Romania was the second country in the world as the pace business environment reforms, after Georgia. On the other hand corruption rate in Romania continues to remain at alarmingly high. The average gross salary in Romania, in January 2009 was 1839 lei.11