Distinctive Romania 🇷🇴: Setting It Apart from the Rest of Eastern Europe...and all Europe 🌟🌍

Distinctive Romania 🇷🇴: Setting It Apart from the Rest of Eastern Europe...and all Europe 🌟🌍
📍Exploring the Cucuteni-Trypillia complex (CTC), more precisely the Cucuteni village in Romania, 35 miles (57 km) North-West of Iași. Trypillia is located in Ukraine 🇺🇦. This culture flourished in eastern Europe for over two millennia (5100–2800 BCE) from the end of the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age.
Among the diverse nations of Eastern Europe, Romania stands out as a treasure trove of unique, ancient, and authentic traditions and history. Today, we're delving into the ethnic composition of Romania 🇷🇴.


Unlike any other country in Europe, Romania boasts a rich and distinctive heritage that sets it apart. When you explore Romania, you're embarking on a journey like no other in Eastern Europe. Its history is a testament to resilience, as it managed to thwart Ottoman invasions through strategic diplomacy, ultimately leading to the Suzerainty agreements with the Moldavian, Wallachian, and Transylvanian Principalities—forming the foundation of modern-day Romania 🇷🇴. The "Sublime Porte" was happy having the Suzerainty deal with the Romanians, in exchange of their neutrality - sometimes they military alliances.

This is why you won't find Ottoman-era mosques in most of Romania, with the exception of the Dobruja region in the southeast, which was once part of Ottoman territory. The Ottomans recognized the importance of securing neighboring naval ports, including Constanta in Romania, in their quest for Constantinople. Prince "Mircea cel Batran" was the first to secure a strong rule of a large Wallachia, securing the entire Dobruja region, south east of Romania. The Wallachian Principality temporarily lost Dobruja to the Ottomans in 1418, but it took Romania more than 400 years, marked by the tumultuous Romania-Ottoman wars of independence in 1877-1878, to reclaim it.

Here's a glimpse of what makes Romania 🇷🇴. I hope you enjoy reading.

Cucuteni culture (7000 years old)

The Cucuteni culture, which thrived in what is now Romania and parts of Ukraine and Moldova between approximately 4300 and 2600 BCE, represents one of Europe's most fascinating and enigmatic ancient civilizations. Renowned for its advanced pottery, the Cucuteni culture is often characterized by its intricately decorated ceramic artifacts, featuring intricate designs and symbols that reflect their artistic sophistication.

📍Cucuteni site, 35 miles (57 km) North-West of Iași. The picture shows a mortuary of a thracian King, and his wife. Several artefacts, pottery and golden jewelry were found in this site, some of them are exposed in the Palace of Culture of Iași, and others are in the city of Bucharest 🇷🇴.

They established a complex society with densely populated settlements, demonstrating a significant level of social organization and town planning. Cucuteni settlements were characterized by circular dwellings and a strong focus on agriculture, as well as evidence of trade networks that extended across vast distances. The culture's decline remains a mystery, with theories ranging from environmental factors to potential conflicts. Nonetheless, the legacy of the Cucuteni culture endures through its archaeological findings, shedding light on an ancient European civilization that left a lasting mark on the region's history and cultural heritage.

The Tărtăria tablet (7500 years old)

The Tărtăria tablets, discovered in Tărtăria, Romania, in the late 20th century, are a set of three clay artifacts that have intrigued archaeologists and historians due to their potential significance. Dating back to around 5300-5500 BCE, these tablets bear incised symbols and characters that have been interpreted as one of the earliest forms of writing in Europe.

Although the exact meaning of these symbols remains a subject of scholarly debate, some researchers suggest they might represent an early form of proto-writing, possibly used for record-keeping or religious purposes. The Tărtăria tablets hold a special place in the study of ancient European cultures, shedding light on the intellectual and symbolic expressions of prehistoric societies and offering tantalizing hints about the development of written language and communication in this region thousands of years ago. Their discovery continues to be a subject of ongoing research and fascination within the field of archaeology.

The Tărtăria tablet (5500 BCE), from the Turdaș–Vinča culture. Note: Vinča is in Serbia (near Belgrade capital) and Turdaș being in Romania, where I recorded this video. The Tărtăria tablets are believed to be the first forms of writing (older than Egyptian hieroglyphs 3200 BCE)...at least that's what Romanians claim 😅📍Recording location: Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, between the city of Cluj-Napoca and the city of Alba Iulia in Romania 🇷🇴, where the Great Union of Romania was signed on December 1st 1918 (still celebrated until today), and where the coronation of King Ferdinand and Regina Maria was held in the coronation cathedral on October 15th, 1922.

The Dacian Kingdom (2500 years old)

This is the last kingdom to resist the Roman Empire invasions. They were so powerful that they even invaded the Roman EMpire of Julius Caesar, and walked away with it. The Dacian Kingdom, located in what is present-day Romania, was a formidable and resilient ancient civilization that emerged in the Carpathian region around the 1st century BCE. The Dacians, a Thracian people, established a powerful kingdom under rulers like Burebista and later Decebalus.

They developed a sophisticated society with complex tribal structures and a rich cultural heritage. Dacia was renowned for its gold mines, which attracted the interest of the Roman Empire. In 106 CE, the Roman Emperor Trajan launched a series of campaigns against the Dacians, ultimately leading to the annexation of Dacia into the Roman Empire. The Dacian Kingdom's legacy endures through its archaeological remains, including fortresses, burial sites, and artifacts, which provide insights into its unique culture and historical significance in the ancient world. Today, the memory of the Dacians plays a role in the national identity and cultural heritage of modern Romania.

@oopsimovedagain The Real Reason Why I’m in Romania ⚔️🇷🇴 #romania #dacia #sarmizegetusa #regia #decebal #burebista #romanempire #oopsimovedagain ♬ original sound - Oops, I moved again!

Russian Lipovans in Romania

Also known as the Old Russian Orthodox, living in Romania for +350 years since Russia persecuted them after the reforms of the Russian orthodox Church of the mid 1600s. So they found safety and home in Romania. The Lipovans, also known as Russian Lipovans or Old Believers, are an ethnic and religious group that resides in several countries, including Romania. They are descendants of Russian Orthodox Christians who rejected the liturgical reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century. These reforms were known as the Nikonian reforms and were aimed at standardizing and modernizing Orthodox liturgical practices. The Old Believers, including the Lipovans, refused to accept these changes and maintained the older, traditional liturgical practices.

📍Visiting the city of Targu Frumos to meet the Russian Lipovans of Romania 🇷🇴. They are also Christian Orthodox ☦️

In the 18th century, due to persecution and conflicts with the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state, many Old Believers, including the Lipovans, sought refuge in various countries, including Romania. They settled primarily in the region of Dobruja, in southeastern Romania, along the Black Sea coast. The Lipovans in Romania have preserved their traditional religious practices, customs, and way of life for centuries. They have their own religious hierarchy and churches, which follow the Old Believer traditions. Their distinct culture and unique religious practices make them an interesting and culturally significant minority group in Romania. The Lipovans have made significant contributions to the cultural diversity of the regions where they have settled, and their presence continues to be an important part of Romania's cultural heritage.

Tatar Muslims (nothing to do with the Ottomans)

They migrated and settled in Romania +1000 years ago; you remember the girl in front of the Mosque of Mangalia? Well she was Tatar.

But the Tatars of Romania settled because of the Ottomans, right?

No ❌.

The origins of the Crimean Tatar community in Romania can be traced back to the 10th century with the migration of the Cumans. This is least a century prior to the arrival of the first Turk in Anatolia, specifically referring to the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, where Alp Arslan emerged victorious over the Byzantine emperor Romanus IV Diogenes. Romanus IV Diogenes was the son of Constantine Diogenes and belonged to the influential Byzantine Greek family known as the Diogenoi, which had strong connections to many prominent aristocrats in Asia Minor by birth. Alp Arslan continues to be revered in Türkiye, as he is considered one of the founding figures of the Ottoman Empire, which eventually led to the establishment of modern Türkiye.

The Tatar Muslims of Romania, often referred to as the Tatar community in Romania, are an ethnic and religious minority group living in Romania. They are descendants of the Tatars who migrated to the territory of present-day Romania during the medieval period, primarily from the Golden Horde, a Mongol state in Eurasia.

The Tatar community in Romania is known for its Islamic faith and traditions, which have been passed down through generations. They practice Sunni Islam and have their mosques and religious institutions in certain regions of Romania, with a notable presence in places like Dobruja (especially in the cities of Constanta and Mangalia). Despite being a relatively small minority within Romania, the Tatar Muslims have managed to preserve their cultural and religious heritage. They celebrate various Islamic holidays and maintain their distinct identity. The community has also contributed to Romania's cultural diversity and heritage. It's important to note that the Tatars in Romania are just one part of the broader Tatar ethnic group found in various countries across Eurasia. Each Tatar community may have its unique history, traditions, and language variations, although many Tatars share a common Islamic faith.

Hungarian “Székelys”

They ruled Transylvania since the 1400s and formed an alliance with “Michael the Brave” (Mihail Viteazul, first to unite Romania the way we know it today…). The Székelys are a Hungarian-speaking ethnic group living in the historical region of Transylvania, which is now part of Romania. They are often associated with the Székely Land, a specific area within Transylvania.

The Székelys have a unique cultural identity and are known for preserving Hungarian traditions, language, and customs. Historically, the Székelys were frontier guards of the Kingdom of Hungary, tasked with defending the eastern borders of the kingdom. They have a long history in the region, and their cultural identity is closely tied to their Hungarian heritage. Today, many Székelys continue to maintain their distinct cultural identity and traditions, including their language, folklore, and cuisine. They are an important part of the cultural diversity in Transylvania and play a significant role in preserving Hungarian heritage in the region.

German Saxons

The German Saxons, also known as the Transylvanian Saxons or Siebenbürger Sachsen, are a historical ethnic German community that settled in Transylvania, Romania, during the Middle Ages. Their migration, primarily in the 12th and 13th centuries, was invited by Hungarian kings to help fortify and develop the region. This migration began under the reign of King Géza II of Hungary (1141–1162). For several consecutive centuries, the main task of these medieval German-speaking settlers (as that of the "Szeklers" for example in the east of Transylvania) was to defend the southern, southeastern, and northeastern borders of the then Kingdom of Hungary against foreign invaders stemming most notably from Central Asia and even far East Asia (e.g. Cumans, Pechenegs, Mongols, and Tatars). The German Saxons played a significant role in the cultural, economic, and architectural development of Transylvania.

🎥 Vlog from the city of Sibiu city (best place to meet the German Saxons of Romania), and the Transfăgărășan epic road.

They established well-organized towns, fortified churches, and contributed to the region's prosperity through crafts, trade, and agriculture. Every single village or town they left in Romania is worthy a UNESCO heritage price. Over the centuries, the German Saxons maintained their distinct cultural identity and dialect, blending German traditions with local influences. However, during the 20th century, many German Saxons left Romania due to various factors, such as World War II and the Communist regime. Today, their legacy lives on through the well-preserved medieval towns, fortified churches, and cultural heritage in Transylvania, while a smaller Saxon community still resides in Romania, striving to preserve their unique traditions and history.

A Final Word

In Romania 🇷🇴, the heart of Eastern Europe, a captivating mosaic of ethnicities and cultures has woven together to create a truly distinctive tapestry.

From the ancient Dacians to the enduring German Saxons, the Tatar Muslims, the Lipovans, and the Romanian majority, this nation stands as a testament to the richness of human diversity.

Romania's history, from the legendary Dacian Kingdom to its strategic engagements with the Ottoman Empire, has shaped a heritage unlike any other in Europe.

As you've journeyed through the stories of these vibrant communities, you've glimpsed the remarkable blend of traditions, languages, and histories that make Romania a treasure trove of uniqueness in the heart of the continent.

Anyway, that was my 20 cts thought...🪙 - "River Newsletter"