Land and People
The Danube River, which forms part of the border with Serbia and almost all of the frontier with Bulgaria, traverses Romania in the southeast; its tributary, the Prut, constitutes most of the border with Moldova and Ukraine. The Carpathian Mts., of which the Transylvanian Alps are a part, cut through Romania in a wide arc from north to southwest; the Carpathians' highest peaks in Romania are Moldoveanu (8,343 ft/2,543 m) and Negoiu (8,317 ft/2,535 m). The country's climate is continental, with hot, dry summers and cold winters; severe droughts are common during the summer. Romania includes seven historic and geographic regions: Walachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, and parts of Bukovina, Crişana-Maramureş, the Dobruja, and the Banat.
About 90% of the people are ethnically Romanian; Hungarians and Romani (Gypsies) make up the largest minorities. Most of the German minority emigrated after the Ceauşescu regime fell. Romanian is the official language, but Hungarian is also spoken. By far the largest religious body is the Romanian Orthodox Church. There are also Protestant and Roman Catholic minorities.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.