This week’s Amateur Traveler podcast was about traveling in Transylvania in Romania. What should you know if you go to Romania?
Transylvania in Romania – Amateur Traveler Episode 161
1 – Dracula
Dracula was a real person, not a vampire. Vlad III Dracula was a ruler in Romania in the 1400s after whom Bram Stoker patterned his character Dracula. Although we should point out that you don’t get the nickname “Vlad the Impaler” by being Mr. Nice Guy.
2 – The People’s House
Before former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was ousted from power in 1989 he built the second-largest building in the world (the largest being the pentagon outside Washington D.C.). Ceausescu had over 1/5th of Bucharest demolished to build The People’s House which now houses the parliament. The building survived Ceausescu who was deposed, tried, and executed.
3 – Romania language
The Romania language is a romance language with ties to Latin as this region was part of the ancient roman empire.Hello.”Salut.” (sah-LOOT)Excuse me. (Getting attention) “Pardon” (pahr-DOHN)
4 – Romania Population
Romania is shrinking. No not the country, the population. With a fertility rate of 1.38 children born for every woman, Romania like many other European nations is losing population.
5 – Romania History
Romania did not appear on the map until 1856. According to the CIA Factbook:
The principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia – for centuries under the suzerainty of the Turkish Ottoman Empire – secured their autonomy in 1856; they united in 1859 and a few years later adopted the new name of Romania. The country gained recognition of its independence in 1878. It joined the Allied Powers in World War I and acquired new territories – most notably Transylvania – following the conflict.
6 – Old Romanian Superstition
According to Unbelievable Facts – Strange Facts – Barmy Beliefs:
In parts of Romania, they used to think it was dangerous for someone to sleep with his or her mouth open. They believed that the person’s soul, in the shape of a mouse, would run out of the open mouth and escape. If the mouse didn’t return, the sleeper could never wake up.
7 – Social Conventions
According to the World Travel Guide:
Handshaking is the most common form of greeting, but Romanian men may kiss a woman’s hand when being introduced. Mr or Mrs should be used when greeting someone for the first time. Visitors should follow normal European courtesies on social occasions. Dress tends to be rather conservative but casual wear is suitable. Beachwear should not be worn away from the beach or poolside. If visiting a home, a small wrapped gift should be given to the host, such as flowers or chocolates (to women only), wine, or liquor. Flowers should be given as a gift in odd numbers only. Many Romanians are smokers and gifts of Western cigarettes are greatly appreciated. Other well-appreciated gifts include toiletries.