My name is Romania and this year, on the 1st of December 2016, I turn 98, a beautiful age that I will cheerfully celebrate in my hometown, Alba Iulia. I was born in troubled days, from a torn apart nation that made its way through difficult times. My ancestors, the Romans and the Dacians were hardworking people, but too bellicose sometimes. From the Romans I inherited the Latin language, enriched with the charm of the Dacian language and, over the years, with Slavic influences. All these led to the birth of my beautiful language, the Romanian language.
Due to the fact that I have a numerous family, I will go on with the presentations and I would like to introduce you to a few personalities raised by my family: artists, inventors, sculptors, writers, prominent people who make me proud everywhere in the world.
The most famous character is undoubtedly Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Ţepes), mostly known as Dracula. The stories tell us that Vlad the Impaler used to kill the enemies and the villains by impaling them. This cruel method of eliminating the enemies brought him the name of The Impaler. Vlad Ţepes became famous worldwide when the Irish writer, Bram Stoker, published the novel Dracula, where Vlad is presented as a fierce vampire from Transylvania. I am sorry to deny (again) this story, so beloved by the foreigners, but Vlad the impaler was actually a ruler of Romania. His name, Dracula, comes from the Order of the Dragon, that he and his father were members of: Dragon – Dracul – Dracula (Dracula meaning in this context, son of the Dragon).
I also brag about Petrache Poenaru, the inventor of the fountain pen and Nicolae Păulescu, who brought a huge contribution to the modern medicine, by discovering the insulin. His discovery was “stolen” by two Canadian brothers who received the Nobel Prize. Only after Nicolae’s death, the truth was proven and he was named the true inventor of the insulin. Another valuable legacy is the lyric opera of the biggest Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu. This genius was not only the idol of the crowd, but also of Mircea Eliade. The masterpiece of the latter includes the study of the history of religion, the first complete work of this kind; philosophical essays; romantic novels, inspired by the author’s life, who was fascinated by the Indian culture. In arts stands up the indisputable talent of the sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi, called the patriarch of modern sculpture. Brâncuşi sought all his life the essence of flight, as he himself confessed several times. He managed to “portray” the movement in the sculpture Bird in Space.
Two pioneers of modern aviation were Traian Vuia and Henri Coandă. Vuia managed the first self-propelled flight and 4 years after this success, Coandă built the first jet engine. Speaking of aviation, I have to mention the first and only Romanian cosmonaut, Dumitru Prunariu who flew 7 days in space, in 1981.
If I am to talk about my children who made performance after 1918, I have to remember Nadia Comăneci, the gymnast who scored the first perfect 10 in history, Gheorghe Hagi, a top footballer, Ilie Năstase, first no. 1 in ATP’s tennis ranking, an explosive tennis player who exasperated the referees, but entertained the spectators, and Elisabeta Lipă, considered the best rower of the 20th century. Regarding the actors, I love watching the movies of Marcel Iureş, who is appreciated and beloved both at home, and Hollywood. I commend the pan flute master, Gheorghe Zamfir, who made this instrument popular in the whole world.
I could talk uninterruptedly about the brilliantly smart people that my family raised, but I stop here and I will try to briefly introduce myself. Putting the modesty aside, I declare myself a beautiful, gifted, rich person. My friends criticize me because I am pretty much dressed in the same colours, red, yellow, blue, but these three colours represent me the best: red – my ancestors’ blood; yellow – the wheat fields in the summertime; blue – the color of the sky. For the holidays, I give up on these clothes and I exhibit my beautiful blouse, “ie”, made of flax or canvas with manually sewed embroidery, my dear “ie” that was recently included in Unesco Cultural Heritage.
Besides fashion, I am a big traveler and the”Carpato-Danubiano-Pontic” space where I live offers me a lot of alternatives.
If I want to escape from the daily stress, I choose the mountains. The Carpathian Mountains have a unique beauty: in the summer, landscapes that take your breath away and rich fauna, in the winter, layers of snow and ski slopes. I often feel the need to retreat near a river or a lake and to hear its sound. There are so many places that can make my dream come true, that it is hard for me to choose: shall I go to the volcanic lake St. Ana or to the Red Lake (Lacul Roşu); should it be Colibiţa with its impressive scenery or Bâlea Lake, situated on the most beautiful road in the world, Transfăgărăşan, or Bigăr Falls, another jewelry of the nature?
My favourite place remains beyond doubt the Danuble Delta, a faunistic paradise, part of Unesco heritage. It is the place where thousands of birds dance in the sky and where wild horses run freely amongst the Greek lianas, from Letea forest. Close to Danube Delta I can visit the muddy volcanoes from Buzău and the Black Sea with its young and cheerful resorts, Mamaia and Vama Veche.
In the regions of Moldavia and Maramureş I can find the orthodox churches made of wood, remarkable exponents of Romanian architecture, as for example the oldest wooden church from Europe: the church from Putna. Another well-known monastery from Moldavia is Voroneţ, famous for the blue color used for its wall painting. This shade of color, sky-blue, is also known as Voroneţ-blue, its composition remaining a mystery.
As a conclusion, I just want to let you know that I am friendly, sociable person who is interested in meeting as many people as possible, from all the corners of the world. I am waiting for you with my arms wide open. Come, discover me!
Boat alley in Danube Delta
K Island or the Island of Happiness, no man’s land – still disputed between Romania and Ukraine
One happy pelican
The beautiful Carpathians
Transfăgărășan road, considered the most beautiful road in the world (copyright www.romaniajournal.ro)
Transfăgărășan, seen from the car
Shepherd coats, exposed on Transalpina road
Sunrise at the Black Sea, Mamaia
Village in Moldavia
Voroneț monastery with its famous shade of blue