Romania (Romanian: România) is a country on the western shores of the Black Sea; except for Dobruja, it is north of the Balkan Peninsula. It is a country of great natural beauty and diversity and a rich cultural heritage, including a variety of ethnic, linguistic, and confessional groups. Romania enchants visitors with its scenic mountain landscapes and unspoilt rural areas, but also with its historic cities and busy capital. It has seen significant development and is one of the most recent members of the European Union. Still, it may surprise some of its visitors who are used to western Europe. It has six cultural and one natural UNESCO world heritage sites.
Romania is a large country which can sometimes be shocking with contrasts: some cities are truly modern, while some villages can seem to have been brought back from the past. While it has significant cultural similarities with other Balkan states, it is regarded as unique due to its strong Latin heritage, reflected in every part of Romanian society from its culture to its language. Things for which Romania is famous include: the Carpathian mountains, wine, medieval fortresses, Dacia cars, Dracula, stuffed cabbage leaves (sarmale), the Black Sea, sunflower fields, painted monasteries and the Danube Delta.
Famous Romanians are Constantin Brâncuși (sculptor), George Enescu (composer, violinist, pianist, conductor), Mircea Eliade (writer, historian, philosopher), Herta Müller (writer), Henri Coandă (aviation pioneer - the Coandă effect is named after him), Nicolae Ceaușescu (Romania's last communist dictator), Nadia Comăneci (gymnast), Gheorghe Hagi (former association football player) and Leonard Doroftei (former WBA world champion).