EMERGENCY NUMBER: 112
ROMANIA IS LOCATED IN SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE, ROMANIA IS BORDERED BY THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDAVIA, UKRAINE, HUNGARY, SERBIA, BULGARIA AND THE BLACK SEA.
As of Population and Housing Census in 2011, Romania had a stable population of 19,042,936 people, the majority (88.6%) being ethnic Romanians with 6.5% Hungarians, 3.2% Gypsy (or Rro- ma) and 1.7% Germans, Ukrainians, Serbs, Turks, Tatars, Slovaks, Jews and other nationalities. Romania, the twelfth largest country in Europe, covers 238,391 square km and is divided into 41 counties (judete) and the Municipality of Bucharest, which form six historical regions (Moldavia, Transylvania, Crisana, Banat, Wallachia and Dobruja). Bucharest is the country’s capital and the largest city. It has an area of 228 square km and is home to 1.678 million people. The national capital since 1862, Bucharest is located in the plains between the Carpathian Mountains and the Danube River.
Although it is located in a temperate zone, Bucharest is affected by continental air masses originating from neighboring ar eas. Eastern air currents give excessive temperature variations of up to 70° C, from hot summers to cold winters. In winter, temperatures can fall below 0° C, with heavy snowfall from December to March. Summers are usually sunny and hot – perfect for lounging by the seaside. Spring and Fall have mild temperatures and bring exquisite changes to the city’s vegetation, making these seasons the ideal time to visit. Average rainfall is 600 – 700 mm, most of it falling between October and July. Temperatures average 22.8° C (83° F) in Bucharest in July, but recent heat waves have brought temperatures up to 40°C (104° F).
Like Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Catalan, Romanian is a Romanic language, but it shares stronger similarities with Vulgar Latin than with other Romanic languages. Romanian established its Latin roots during the Roman Empire’s occupation of the region during the third century and, although the language incorporated some Slavic words, maintained its Latin heritage in a land surrounded by Slavic dialects. Speakers of Portuguese and Italian may find that Romanian sounds like a combination of the two. English and French are common second languages spoken; German and Hungarian are more prevalent in the Transylvanian region.
Romania is a constitutional republic with multi-party, bicameral parliamentary system divided into a Senate and House of Representatives. Its constitution is based on that of France’s Fifth Republic. Bucharest is the political and administrative center of Romania. Parliamentary elections take place every four years, while presidential elections are held once at five years. Those minorities receiving less than five percent are awarded one deputy seat as mandated in the Constitution. Headquarters for the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice, the General Headquarters of the Police and all foreign embassies are also located in Bucharest.
Time, Business Hours
In general, banking hours are weekdays between 09:00 and 17:00 or 18:00. Most shops and markets are closed on Sundays. While supermarkets stay open later, many small shops close around 20:00 on weekdays. The shopping centers are open 10:00 to 22:00, seven days a week. Romania is in the Eastern European time zone (GMT +2) and changes to Daylight Savings Time (GMT +3), from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday in October.
Public holidays in Romania are New Year’s (January 1 and 2), Union Day (January 24), Easter & Easter Monday, Labor Day (May 1), Independence Day (May 10), Whitsuntide (50 days after Easter, Sunday and Monday), Saint Mary’s Day (August 15), Saint Andrew’s Day (November 30), National Day (December 1) and Christmas (December 25 and 26). National Day is the anniversary of the 1918 Union of all regions of Romania into a single country. The school year runs from September 15 tojune 15, with holiday periods at Christmas and Easter, while university classes usually begin start-October.
The main religion of Romania (86.8% of the population) is Romanian Orthodox. Approximately 4.7% of the population is Roman Catholic, 3.2% is Protestant, 1.5% is Pentecostal, 0.9% is Greek Orthodox, 0.3% is Muslim, 0.2% is Jewish and 2.4% with other religions. The headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Church – the Patriarchy, is located in Bucharest close to Piata Unirii.
Romania boasts a 97% literacy rate and school is compulsory through the tenth grade. Within Bucharest there are 345 junior-high schools, 166 high schools and vocational schools, 56 colleges and 28 state and private universities.
The official Romanian currency is the Leu (plural: Lei), which is subdivided into 100 bani (singular: ban). Bank notes come in denominations of: 500 Lei, 200 Lei, 100 Lei, 50 Lei, 10 Lei, 5 Lei, and 1 Leu; coins in 50, 10, 5 and 1 ban. Currency can be exchanged at hotels, banks or official exchange offices (Casa de schimb valutar). Travelers’ checks in US dollars are easiest to exchange (usually for a seven percent fee), but they are only accepted at banks, tourist offices and some hotels. Changing money on the street is illegal and inadvisable, as scam artists are more than willing to take advantage of gullible tourists.
While their use became common, credit cards are widely accepted in Romania. Within Bucharest, most major hotels, restaurants and shops will accept Visa, Master Card or American Express. Be sure to ask before counting on credit card payment for accommodation, meals or purchases. Cash advances on credit cards can be taken out at most city banks. ATMs, called Banco- mats, are spreading throughout the country. You can get cash from most ATMs in Lei.
International, local or long-distance calls can be made from the orange public telephones located throughout the cities. The phone card values are: 10.00 Lei, 15.00 Lei, 20.00 Lei and can be purchased at post offices, and shops displaying RomTelecom log, or from the RomTelecom offices. International calls can be made from the Telephone Palace (Palat- ui Telefoanelor) on Calea Victoriei, major Post Offices and from public phones with a phone card, or from private phones. When dialing an International destination you can dial directly or through an operator, by dialing 971. To get an international connection you must first dial (00) followed by the country code (without the first 0), the area code and then the individual number.
Dial 021-800-4444 for British Telecom, 021-800-4288 for AT&T USA Direct and 021-800-1800 for MCI Worldwide. Romania’s country code is (40); the city code for Bucharest is (021). Cellular phones are extremely popular — you can purchase a phone and basic calling plan for about US $ 30 a month or less. Mobile phones can be rented at the airport or at most major hotels.
Internet Usage Statistics: 10,812,784 Internet users on December 31, 2013, 49.8% of the population. 5,374,980 Facebook subscribers on December 31, 2012, 24.7% penetration rate.
Romania’s Internet and broadband market is experiencing strong growth. 55.54 Mbps Broadband download speed on August, 2014, per Net Index. Broadband services are widely available from the cable operators as well as the fixed-line Telecom, which has also ADSL services. Large LAN based broadband services are also popular. Triple play services have been launched by the cable operators. WiFi hot spots – wireless 802.11b Internet access is provided in major hotels, free or paid, and always free in several restaurants, pubs & cafes. You can also use some pay-internet cafes.
Post offices (Posta Romana) are spread throughout the city; the main post office is located at 12, Matei Millo St., near the phone company building and Novotel Hotel. Post offices are usually open Monday through Friday 07:30 – 20:00 (lunch break 13:00 – 13:30), Saturday 08:00 – 14:00 and closed on Sunday. Mailboxes are red and located throughout the cities. When sending purchases home remember that all packages must be inspected before shipment, so bring them to the post office unsealed.