Romania is a country of many customs and traditions where Christmas is undoubtedly the most tradition-filled time of the year. Many of these Christmas traditions are very old and quite unique. Others are newer and most likely borrowed from other European countries. Although some customs may differ from region to region, Christmas in Romania is celebrated in the same manner throughout the country. During the Communist era the religious meaning of Christmas was banished. “Christmas Time” became “Winter Celebrations,” and “Old Father Christmas” became “Old Man Frost.” Romanians however continued to secretly celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in their families and observe the old Christmas customs and traditions. Continue Reading
As a tourist in Romania you may easily feel at home and forget that you are in a foreign country. But the welcoming and friendly spirit of the Romanian people will not help you over-bridge the cultural differences and understand their values. So in order to avoid a culture shock, there are some things you should know about Romanians before you travel to their country. Of course, Romanians are not all the same, but there are some cultural characteristics that most of them share. Continue Reading
Although a land of natural beauty, Romania wasn’t exactly the ideal tourist destination until after the fall of Communism in 1989. The country was struggling with poverty and the tourism industry was almost inexistent. The historic sites were badly neglected, the roads poorly maintained, food was scarce and lodging was primitive. So in spite of its great history and beautiful scenery, Romania remained in the often overlooked group of Eastern European countries.
Although things have improved considerably lately, Romania is still largely unknown to the western traveler. Such is the case of the beautiful Citadel of Alba Iulia (also known as Alba Carolina), one of the biggest fortresses in Eastern Europe.
Alba Iulia has an old and rich history that dates back to the Roman period. The initial settlement called Apulum was the oldest and largest castrum on Romania’s territory, built by the Romans in the 2nd century A.D. The Slavic name of the town was Bălgrad (“The White Fortress”), which was later Latinized into Alba Iulia. Continue Reading