Romania State of Eastern Europe ; it borders to the NE with Ukraine and Moldavia, to the NW with Hungary, to the South with Bulgaria and to the SW with Serbia ; it overlooks the Black Sea for almost 250 km.
For lack of defined physical limits to N and W there has always been a strong interpenetration between the Romanians and the surrounding Hungarian, Slavic and Germanic populations. The situation has finally virtually stabilized only after the huge movements that took place following the Second World War: the Romanian element represents about 89% of the entire population, but there are also minorities of Magyars (6.6%), Roma (2.4%), Germans (0.3%). The Ukrainian, Russian, Turkish, etc. minorities are extremely small compared to the past, well located in the border areas. However, despite the long march towards Romanization, which lasted for decades, the country it remains, in Europe, one of those that are distinguished by ethnic-cultural variety and numerical incidence of minority nationalities. The policy towards these, and in particular the Hungarians, has gone through alternating phases, of openness and restriction, with moments of tension. The scarcity of sources and the fact that the Romania has undergone numerous territorial variations constitute a serious obstacle to the historical reconstruction of the numerical entity of the population, starting from the most remote times up to recent times. It increased for over forty years, from the immediate post-war period to the end of the socialist experience (in 1946 the residents were 15.8 million, rising to 18.4 in 1960, to 20.2 in 1970, to reach 22.7 in 1984), it began to decrease starting from 1992, with an average annual decrease of 0.3%: negative trend which however seems to have ended in the last two years of the 20th century. The decrease is due to the trend of the natural balance, but also to the conspicuous emigration flow which began after the end of the socialist regime; this flow, removing from the country individuals of fertile age, in turn led to a further lowering of the birth rate: 10.53 ‰, compared to a mortality rate of 11.9 ‰, according to a 2009 estimate, which also contributes to a infant mortality dramatically increased (22.9 ‰).
● The destination of Romanian emigration is above all the Germany, followed by other European states, including Italy. The distribution on the territory is on the whole quite homogeneous, with the greatest densities in Wallachia, in the Siret and Prut valleys and in some districts of Transylvania. The lowest densities are found in the districts of Tulcea (Dobruja) and Caraș-Severin (Banat Mountains). The incidence of the urban population, which went from 23% in 1948 to more than 40% at the end of the 1960s, is now 54% (2006). Among the urban centers, the capital clearly dominates in terms of both the demographic size and the weight of the activities producing goods and services. Of the other cities, the most populous are Iași, Timișoara and Constanta. The urban planning work imposed by the industrialization process deserves a mention. Unlike other Eastern European countries (such as the former Czechoslovakia), it was preferred to distribute the population in a certain number of ‘new cities’, equipped with the full range of necessary equipment, well served by communication routes, integrated into a larger complex that also includes traditional cities, ancient and recent industries. At the same time, steps were taken to renovate the unhealthy districts of large cities, to create double or satellite cities in the suburbs, and to develop seaside resorts.
● By far the most prevalent religion (87%) is the Orthodox one of the Romanian Church, with Catholic (5%), Protestant (4%), Muslim and Jewish minorities.
The rural populations of the Romania had, until a few decades ago, an agricultural-pastoral economy, with the survival of ancient techniques and tools (the wooden plow without wheels with the tip hardened by fire, the clay ovens, the millstones by hand etc.). The shepherds, during the transhumance, used, and in part still use, particular huts (stâne), where in a special environment the cheeses are packaged which, once ready, are pressed and stored in skins. Where the violent and often dramatic changes imposed by political power in the 1950s-90s did not take place, the rural dwelling has a variable structure, according to the census: in some areas of the Danube plain you can still find the ancient houses of clay and earth. Elsewhere, a type of house with a front balcony prevails, through which you access the internal environments; these have walls surrounded by benches and adorned with mirrors, icons, carpets. ● The costume varies from place to place: characteristic of women’s clothing are the beautiful embroidered shirts and the double apron, of the men’s one the tight white trousers and the sheepskin bodice. In legends, beliefs and literature, overlapping and Roman, Byzantine, Slavic, Christian influences are noted. on the ancient heritage of the Dacians. Widespread belief in the devil, at the same time antagonist and collaborator of God, with nocturnal power, the ability to incarnate himself in various animals and to make men obsessed; as well as the fear of witches and werewolves. Traces of magic are found in rural rites. Quite rich and varied popular literature: colinde, that is to say good wishes with epic-dramatic parts, sung by young men in the period between Christmas and New Year; hagiographic or historical-legendary tales; lyrics; biting epigrams that girls and young men exchange during a characteristic round dance (hora). The dance is usually accompanied by singing: in some areas the flute is used, more rarely bagpipes and bagpipes.
Lower Paleolithic lithic artifacts have been found in surface sites, but the oldest reliable evidence refers to the Mousterian, of which various facies exist. For the upper Paleolithic the Aurignacian and the Gravettian are documented, whose age and typology are poorly known. A rich Mesolithic site was discovered at La Scaune, in the Eastern Carpathians. After an aceramic horizon, the Neolithic with ceramics begins towards the middle of the 6th millennium BC and is strongly influenced by the ‘culture of linear ceramics’, whose people penetrate the Carpatho-Danubian area, coming from central Europe; other influences come from the southern regions of Romania. In the final Neolithic (about 2900-2700 BC), especially in the western part of the Romania, fortified settlements multiplied, as proof of changed living conditions; copper tools and weapons are widespread, while gold is used for ornaments; some groups of pastoral populations are beginning to penetrate, coming in particular from the north-pontic steppes. ● The transition to the Bronze Age takes place at different times in the various areas of the country: around 2200 BC in the southern and south-eastern regions, up to around 1800-1700 BC in the rest of the region. During the Bronze Age the local copper deposits were intensely exploited, a source of wealth through trade with nearby and distant regions. Metallurgy continues to be of great importance during the Iron Age, which sees the development of populations known as Thracians. ● At the end of the 6th-beginning of the 5th century. BC Scythian elements begin to appear, Greece is growing stronger, especially after the foundation of the colonies on the shores of the Black Sea (Histria, Tomis, Callatis). Around 300 BC Celtic elements from the west and south-west also entered Romania In the following period the Geto-Dacians created a rich culture, with a highly developed metallurgy, an original architecture and their own currency. After the Roman conquest of part of the territories occupied by these populations, an independent evolution continued in the areas not subjected.