Romania lies in the Central-South-Eastern part of the European continent. Having a surface of approximately 238,000 sq km and a population of 22.5 million inhabitants, it is one of the medium-sized countries of Europe. Romania neighbours Moldavia, Ukraine, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and coasts of the Black Sea.
About a third of the country consists of the Carpathian Mountains (also known as the Transylvanian Alps). Another third is hills and plateaus, rich with orchards and vineyards. The final third is a fertile plain, largely devoted to agriculture. There are around 3,500 lakes in Romania, most of them small or medium.
Romanian is the official language of Romania. The name Romania, and its derivatives, come from the Latin word 'Romanus', a legacy of Roman rulers who took control of ancient Dacia in 106 A.D. Romanian retains a number of features of old Latin and also contains many words taken from the surrounding Slavic languages, as well as from French, Old Church Slavonic, German, Greek and Turkish.
The Romanians have an old and rich history. The ancient name of this territory is Dacia. After the wars against Rome, between 101-102 and 105-106, Dacia became a Roman province. During the Middle Ages, the Romanians lived in three provinces, namely Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. The provinces united during the 19th and 20th c., forming modern Romania.
The capital of the country is the city of Bucharest, which has a population of over 2 million inhabitants. Here it is concentrated approximately 15% of the national industrial capacity, over 50% of the direct foreign investments, over 30% of the higher education institutions and over 50% of the Romanian students. Other big cities, having more than 300,000 inhabitants, are the regional centres Iasi, Cluj, Timisoara, Craiova, Brasov and Constanta.
The economy of Romania was dominated by the heavy industry, especially between 1979-1990, covering almost all the industrial branches: from those linked to oil extraction, up to those representing fine mechanics. After a period of profound restructuring, Romanian industry probates recovery, especially in the high-tech domains. The industrial restructuring has opened the door to the development of financing-banking, telecommunications and trade domains.
Romania has been a member of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007.
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