Romania

Driving Directions Romania

ROMANIA located in southeast Europe and bordered by Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary. In the southeast, the republic’s coastline stretches for approximately 200 kilometers or 125 miles along the shores of the Black Sea.

The Carpathian Mountains run through the north, east, and center of Romania and dominate most of the country. The Carpathians are geologically unstable, and Romania period­ically experiences severe earthquakes.

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In the center of the country, almost enclosed by the mountains, is Transylvania, a high and extensive plateau of uplands and forests. There is a continuation of the Hungarian Plain or Great Alföld in the west while further plains lie to the east, southeast, and south of the mountains.

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The eastern region is called Moldavia and the southern area, Walachia. The southeastern region, bordering the Black Sea and containing the delta of the River Danube, is called Dobruja. Large areas of the steppe are highly fertile and intensively cultivated, particularly the “black earth” soils in the west and central regions.

Alpine flowers and plants grow in the mountain pastures above the treeline while lower down there are coniferous forests, mainly of spruce and pine. At still more moderate levels, deciduous trees can grow, and species include oak, birch, beech, and alder. The natural vegetation of the Romanian plains is a mixture of woodland and steppe, but this extensively cleared to provide land for farming.

The Danube, with its tributaries, is Romania’s most important river. It forms part of the western border with Yugoslavia and most of the border with Bulgaria before turning north and then east to flow along the southern boundary with Ukraine. The delta of the Danube occupies the northeastern corner of the Dobruja region, where there are also numerous lakes and lagoons. Many of Romania’s other famous rivers connected to the Danube system and these include the Mures, Olt, Jiu, Siret, and the Prut, which form the eastern border with Moldova.

Pollution, both air, and water is a severe problem in parts of Romania, mostly as a legacy of industrial development during the communist era. Efforts now made to clean up the environment and reduce the number of pollutants released.

Romania was traditionally an agricultural country until after the Second World War when, during the communist period, the emphasis was on industrial development, and farms were state-run or operated as collectives. During the 1990s, most farmland (about 43 percent of the total land area) returned to private ownership.

The cultivated areas are mainly on the plains, particularly in the Danube river basin, and the essential crops are cereals (wheat, maize, barley, rye), some of which exported, and sugar beet, vegetables (especially potatoes) and fruits. Orchards of fruit trees and vineyards for Romania’s wine industry flourish on the more sheltered lower hill slopes. Wine is produced for export as well as for the domestic market.

A variety of livestock animals are reared, including cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry, and horses. Horses still used for work on many farms. Drought can severely affect agricultural production in Romania. Romania’s extensive forests cover about 30 percent of its land area, providing valuable timber that is harvested for construction purposes and used in paper and furniture manufacturing.

The state owns the forests and the forestry industry. Romania has both freshwater and offshore fishing industry, although fish stocks have been affected by pollution in some areas. The fish that harvested include herring, flounder, sturgeon, and salmon, and the main marine fishery is in the Atlantic Ocean. Sturgeon (for caviar) caught in the Black Sea and Danube delta.

Romania has enjoyed the benefit of having considerable exploitable reserves of petroleum and natural gas, although the former is now rapidly becoming exhausted. Processing of oil is carried out mainly in the city of Ploiesti. Other mineral reserves include coal, lignite, iron ore, lead, copper, aluminum (bauxite), and zinc. Electricity generated from oil, coal, gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear facilities, and a small amount exported.

A large hydroelectric scheme operated on the Iron Gate, a deep gorge cut by the Danube in the border region.

The post-communist government has worked hard to bring about changes and improve the economy.

The principal industries produce petroleum, gas, petrochemicals, cement, construction materials, iron and steel, machinery, vehicles, electrical equipment, textiles, furniture and wood products, clothing, footwear, and processed foods.

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