In the south-east of Europe, bordered by the Black Sea and separated by the Danube from the Balkan Peninsula, Romania is basically equally divided between mountainous, hilly and lowland territories, with the Carpathian Mountains dominating the centre.
Vast plains, plateaus dotted with hills, and mountain chains make up the mosaic that is the country's landscape.
The shore of the Black Sea stretches over 150 miles, between the Danube delta and the Bulgarian border. It consists of a large number of fine sandy beaches and around fifteen seaside resorts, which make it one of the regions most visited by tourists. On the whole, the coast is quite built up. In the summer time, it is invaded by a mass of German, Russian and Czech tourists, who have come for their share of cheap sunshine. In July-August, the place is full of life with folk evenings, discos and concerts, campsite parties, etc. If you enjoy peace and quiet and wild nature, you should probably avoid this.
At the intersection of Western, Byzantine, Slavic and Eastern influences, Romania has a rich cultural heritage, even though this might not also be recognised beyond its borders.
Romanian art was essentially religious up until the 9th century. The monasteries bear testimony to the uniqueness of Romanian art, which can especially be seen in the paintings on the outside of the churches, in which religious subjects and traditional scenes are depicted alongside allusions to political events. Romania was influenced by Gothic art, especially in Transylvania, and then by the Italian Renaissance. In the 19th century, Western art, particularly Parisian art and Impressionism, were introduced into Romanian art.
No other European country is as invested in its music. Romania's music is represented by a blend of traditional, classical and popular songs. If you come across a marriage or a festival, you are guaranteed to find violins, Turkish flutes, lutes and chromatic button accordions in full swing and always accompanied by songs.
Romanian architecture was mostly religion-based up until the 9th century. The diverse influences, first Byzantine and then Western, made for the richness of the monuments. The monasteries in Moldova represent Romanian art.
The paintings on the exterior of the churches depict a blend of traditional religious subjects, including scenes of daily life with references to political events. Romania is also the country of castles. Very influenced by Western, Romanesque and Gothic art, and then by the Italian Renaissance, Romanian architects contributed to give the country an overall medieval atmosphere.