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About Romania / Why Romania? / Why Romania – The attraction

Although economically, socially and politically Romania faces many hardships the country still has numerous appeals that should not be forgotten.
“A country rich in history, rustic beauty, and hospitality” (Let's Go Europe 2002),

offering an extraordinary kaleidoscope of cultures to discover and sights to see (Lonely planet Eastern Europe). The general absence of tourists is bad for Romania, but good for visitors as prices remain low and sights untainted by the hand of commercialism. These visitors are discovering a land of cosmopolitan cities, lovely medieval villages and endless stretches of pristine countryside" (Let's Go Europe 2002).

The Beautiful countryside
Considered by many the most beautiful country in Eastern-Europe, Romania still claims regions that seem bastions of a medieval past long since lost elsewhere” (Fodor's Eastern and Central Europe).
In a country where mass tourism means you, a horse and cart and a handful of farmers, Romania is the Wild West of Eastern Europe. Straddling the rugged Carpathian Mountains, with rich green valleys and farms spread throughout the countryside, it offers an extraordinary kaleidoscope of cultures to discover and sights to see (Lonely planet Eastern Europe).

Unique architecture
“Romania, a country of majestic castles and medieval towns” (The Lonely Planet) and host to the “World-famous Painted Monasteries of Bucovina part of UNESCO’s World Heritage for their rarity and beauty. Other architectural gems include the Wooden Churches of Maramureș, unique examples that combine Gothic style with traditional timber construction and numerous Saxon fortified churches.

Rich in culture and history
Transylvania's colourful old cities are straight out of medieval Hungary or Germany, while the exotic painted Orthodox monasteries evoke Byzantium. Western Romania bears the imprint of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while Roman and Turkish influences colour Constanta. Bucharest-- seen by travelers as everything from 'Paris of the East' to 'Hell on Earth' -- has a Franco-Romanian charm of its own (Lonely planet Eastern Europe).

Romania has an abundance of traditional art from Hand woven artefacts to beautifully decorated pottery. Folk and religious festivals are common throughout the year during which you can witness colourful traditional dress and dances and listen to customary music that if nothing else will have you tapping your foot to the distinctive beats.

Romania has “a huge diversity of wildlife (Rough Guide) and is one of the last countries in Europe that still practices sustainable farming. The result of which, flora and fauna now extinct in “developed” areas of Europe are still thriving in Romania.
Unique animals still common in Romania are; the Brown Bear, Lynx, Chamois, Grey Wolf and Stalks. In addition, Romania has the most specious of bats.

Romania is a country where home cooked food is still prevalent. The majority of rural folk have their own land where they grow fruit and veg and keep animals. As a result, much of the food consumed is organic and tastes amazing.

Visitors can witness bread being cooked in outdoor ovens, cauldrons of goulash being prepared over open-fires and milk being handed to you straight from the cow.

Probably the most traditional dish is stuffed cabbages (mince wrapped in cabbage leaves) but the most common is soup which is served daily at lunch time.

The concept of being vegetarian is still relatively new in Romania but there are plenty of non-meat dishes so vegetarians will never go without.

The people
The population is an ethnic jigsaw of Romanians, Hungarians, Germans and Gypsies, (The lonely planet). The hospitality of the local people is overwhelming, they always have time for visitors and although many have very little their generosity is vast.

“Romania declared by many readers as Eastern Europe's most exciting, best-value destination for the adventurous budget traveller“ (Lonely planet Eastern Europe).
For potential volunteers travelling from the UK, cheap flights with budget airlines such as Wizz Air, Malev and Blue Air can be purchased for as little as £50 if booked in advance.
The cost of living in Romania is extremely cheap in comparison to Western Europe and other developed regions such as N. America and Australia.

Location in the World
For any Western Europeans or those studying in Western Europe Romania is easy and quick to travel to. It should be considered a short-haul destination and should appeal to potential volunteers that do not want to spent a lot of time travelling to their volunteer destination.