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Registered Charity No. 1062623

Bringing relief to poor people & families in

Romania

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Moldova

JANUARY 2015 IN MOLDOVA

Romania has high, beautiful mountains, the Carpathian Alps. Beautiful sites, charming landscapes, silent lakes and crystal like rivers make the joy af many tourists. The mountains form a circle in the middle of the country. Within the circle is a high plateau, called Transylvania. Bordering the south of Romania is the Danube River. Wallachia is found in the region between the Danube and the mountains. In the southeastern section, the Black Sea and the Danube delta are located. The eastern part of Romania, bordered by the Prut River, is called Moldavia. (The eastern part of Moldavia, west of the River Prut, was lost to the Soviet Union after World War II. It is currently called the Republic of Moldavia. Following the fall of communism, it became an independent state.)

The Romanian land is rich with petroleum deposits, placing the country in second position among European nations in terms of oil resources. Additionally, the mountains carry gold. The sparkling mineral waters and the thermal spas have been used since the ruling of the Roman Empire. The hills are covered with fruit trees and vineyards. The plains support agriculture, while the mountain areas supply rich grass for cattle and sheep.

Thus, the spot on the globe occupied by Romania has yielded the potential for natural wealth throughout history.


A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY


Over time, the Romanian people worked and fought hard to preserve their country's unity and independence. They were great warriors and patriots, and faced many difficulties retaining their freedom. The geographical location of Romania often determined the course of social and political events throughout the centuries. Its great natural resources proved to be both a blessing and a torment. As the land offered so much, many empires fought to possess it.

Regarding history as it pertains to this nation, one must page backthrough centuries in order to begin to understand the course of events that affect it today.

On the Romanian territory, evidence has been found of human settlements dating back to the Paleolithic Age (about two million years B.C.), making them some of the oldest traces in Europe. A stable population was found only in the Neolithic Age (6-5,000 years B.C.) But we can verify the historical trails of this land only since the VI century B.C., when, according to Herodus, the "father of history," Geto-Dacian tribes started to organize in the Danubian-Carpathian-Pontic area.

Before being conquered by the Roman Empire, Dacia, the country formed under the leadership of Burebista (82-44 B.C.), was much larger than it is today. The Dacians were Thracian people and renowned warriors.

During 101-106 A.D., the Roman army, lead by Marcus Ulpius Traianus,defeated Decebal, the leader of Dacia. Visitors to Rome can view the Column of Traianus, depicting through sculpture, the wars between the Dacians and the Romans. A replica of the column exists in Bucharest at the Museum of History.

The Roman invaders intermingled with native inhabitants and thus created the Romanian people and culture.

BUT, there are evidences that the Romans were a branch of the Tracs, wanderer tribes that established their kingdom in Latium, centuries ago, before they became an important power. Thus, there are oppinions that the Roman (Latin language) has Tracian roots and this is the explanation for the rapid "assimilation" of the inhabitants of Dacia (only 14% of the teritory was ocuppied by the Romans, less than two centuries). Linguistically, Romanian is a Romance language, formed from a group of languages rooted in spoken Latin. French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish are part of this group.

Dacian and Roman ruins remain visible in the mountains and on the sea coast, whereupon a famous Roman poet, Publius Ovidius Naso, was exiled from the Rome. His major works, "The Metamorphoses," "The Sadness," and "The Pontices" express long, mournful descriptions focused on the beauty of the land.

When the Roman army departed from Dacia (actual Romania) in 271 A.D., a new period of unrest began, with numerous bands of migratory people traversing the territory. Among them were Slavic people in the VII century. The X- XII centuries are known for the Turkish and Mongolian invasions .

In terms of religion, the pervasion of Christianity in Romania is founded in the VI and VII century when Christian teachers began to arrive on its soil. Ultimately, the Church followed the Slavic faith, and today Romania is mainly an Eastern Orthodox country.

A noteworthy occurrence between the X and XIII century was the Hungarian (Magyar Kingdom) conquest of Transylvania. At the end of this period, the Hungarians, to assimilate the local culture, colonized Transylvania with groups of Szecklers and Saxons.

By the XIV century, three countries (Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia) had come into full existence and together encircled Romanian territory. In essence, they blocked three major Empires: the Russian to the east, the Austria-Hungarian to the west and the Turkish to the south.

During the following centuries, many wars were fought by the small but courageous armies of Romanian people, and the country produced many great leaders. Among them were:

Mircea the Old (1386-1418), who fought the Turkish-the Nicopolis war being one war where the courage and bravery of the Romanian people surpassedall expectations.

Vlad the Impaler (known as "Dracula"), who during the fifteenth century, proved to be a rugged, brave and fair leader of Wallachia. The Sultan of the Turkish Empire sent his men to collect monetary tribute from Wallachia, and Vlad impaled all the Sultan's men at the gates of the city; he did the same in order to alleviate bad morals, theft and lies. Those interested in Dracular history may enjoy reading "The Historical Dracula?" Myth and reality about the prince who ruled the country twice, and in the interim, he sought refuge in Transylvania. For a short while he stayed at Bran Castle, the castle now known as "Dracula's castle."

Michael the Brave, who was the first prince to forge the Romanians' dream of living united in a country of their own. He united Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia for a short period during 1599-1600.

Constantin Brancoveanu, who earned recognition after he, with his four sons and one son-in-law suffered decapitation for refusing to reject Christianity and join the Muslim religion. (Ten miles outside of Bucharest, visitors can see the Mogosoaia Monastery built by this prince.)

In the XIV century Moldavia started to pay monetary tribute to the Turkish Empire in order to preserve its independence.

Stephen the Great ruled during this time from 1457-1504. He refused to submit the monetary tribute. Forty-two wars between the Turkish and the Moldavian people ensued. His army of 20,000 defeated the Turkish sultan's band of 200,000. After each war, Stephen erected a monastery or church. The monasteries of northern Moldavia are famous for their architecture and beautiful murals.

Years after these wars, Dimitrie Cantemir joined forces with Russian warriors to fight the Turkish Empire against attacks on Christianity. The alliance was defeated in 1711 and the Turkish conquered both Moldavia and Wallachia. They dispatched Phanariotes (Greek) leaders to control the land, thus putting its inhabitants under the rule of outsiders once again.

Part of eastern Moldavia was given to Russia in 1812. The Moldavian sacquiesced to this land loss, believing that it would ensure the preservation of their remaining territory.

During 1829 -1856, the Russian and Turkish empires both imposed a monetary tribute on Moldavia and Wallachia.

Inflamed by the French Revolution and its rallying cry, "Liberty, Equalityand Fraternity," Nicolae Balcescu led a revolution in 1848. The emancipated leaders of the revolution struggled to unite Moldavia and Wallachia, aswell as to gain freedom from the Turkish. On January 24, 1859, Alexander Ioan Cuza was elected leader of both Moldavia and Wallachia. In 1862, both countries became Romania.

In 1866, Carol I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, of foreign royalty, was ushered as prince of Romania. In 1881, he was named king, and Romania became a constitutional monarchy. Under his ruling, the Peles palace, a majestic mountain structure, was built. Many families adopting through Van Dyke have visited the palace.

In 1877, Romanians waged another war of independence to free the country from the Turkish empire. Romanian independence was granted a year later by the Berlin International Peace Congress.

Lead by King Ferdinand I, Romania in 1916 joined the Entente (Allied forces) during World War I. Conquered, the Germans were ousted by Romania.

On December 1, 1918, Transylvania was joined to Romania. The unity of the nation was finally fashioned. December 1st is the National Day of Romania. This unification was established through the treaties of Neuilly, du Saint-Germain and Trianon. Romania also gained the eastern region, Dobrogea, close to the Black Sea, and other parts of Moldavia.

The interval between the two world wars was a great period for Romania. The 1923 Constitution was worldwide considered at that time an example of real democracy. A time of progress, Romania then had strong ties with western Europe. Bucharest was called "Little Paris." Today, travelers leaving the airport can view the Arch of Triumph which models the French monument of the same name. The architecture in older parts of Bucharest is similar to that in French districts. The year 1938 defined the highest level of economic development during that time. In that period, there were two countries in the world that attracted the immigrants: America and Romania. The national currency was at a 2/1 parity with the US dollar.The parliament had to adopt an antiimmigration law.

Carol II, became king in 1939, paving the way for a Nazi movement. The Iron Guard rose to power, and in 1940, the dictatorship of General Antonescu was installed. Romania lost half of Moldavia to the Soviet Union and part of Transylvania to Hungary. In order to regain it, Romania entered the war in 1941. The oil resources of Romania were vital for Nazi troops. The battle of Ploiesti was the biggest air attack of the U.S. army during World War II. After the abdication of Carol II, His Majesty Mihai I became the king of Romania, in a very difficult and confuse period. Under his orders, Antonescu was arrested and Romania joined the Allied troops on August 23, 1944 and fought against the Nazi troops in Transylvania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. This political movement was a great contribution to the final victory of the Allied troops, shortening with at least 6 month the war with all its horrors.

But, as history is not always fair, following the war in 1947, the Paris Treaty gave eastern Moldavia to the Soviet Union. The country fell under Soviet influence and, when the Soviet troops were still camped in Romania, a communist government was pushed to the power. In December 1948 the prime minister Groza, sustained by the soviet minister Vishinky, forced His Majesty King Mihai I to abdicate and to leave the country. His Majesty Mihai I was forced to live in exile until 1997 when, finally, the new Romanian Government recognized the citizenship of His Majesty Muhai I. Thus, from 1947 the country became Socialist, in disrespect of its past and traditions. Romania was the only country of the eastern block that had Russian troops in the country for only a short time. Nevertheless, forty-five years of communism, including the ruling of the last communist dictator, Ceausescu and his first lady, was a dark period for the Romanian people. What was difficult for them to tolerate was not the poverty that infiltrated this rich land, but the complete lack of freedom, aimed at destroying the spirit of the Romanian people.

During December 1989, the Revolution that successfully overthrew Communism took place. Then, for seven years, a battle between crypto-communists and democrats was held, with the final victory of the last, at the free elections in November 1996.

And most recently, in December, 1996, Romania joyfully greeted a newpresident, Emil Constantinescu, and a new government. It is the hope of the Romanian people that the country soon will join both the European Union and NATO, as natural inhabitants of Europe. Membership therein will confer upon Romania a rightful place among European nations. The country is ruled by a really democratic government, including ministers from different democratic parties, and also the magyar minority. In December 1997, finally His Majesty king Mihai I returned with His family in the country. Between 1989-1996 he was not allowed by the ex-government to settle in His country.

PEOPLE

Romania has a population of more than 24 million inhabitants, the majority of over 80 per cent Romanians, then Magyars, Gypsies, Szecklers, Germans(Saxons), Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Jews, Albanians, other minorities, living together for centuries. Mixed families are very usual and as a consequence, these mixed families have set up the "HARMONY FOUNDATION" (FUNDATIA ARMONIA).In spite of some ultra-nationalists, minorities and the majority have no fundamental problems, as having the same common problems for centuries. The official language is the Romanian language, but the minorities can use their languages in Justice, local administration, and schools, all levels. Thus, Romanians fought for two millennia inorder to preserve their unity and freedom. Also have done the minorities for centuries, the historical records preserving many examples. They always have loved their country. As people, the Romanians have music and song in their hearts. In their ballads and folk songs, their joys and sorrows, their loves and aspirations, their customs and traditions are found. They are friendly people who will gladly open the door of their hearts and homes to their friends. They are well known as excellent hosts. They cherish their families. They love to laugh, joke and be happy. The traditions are very rich, the majority and each minority having their own traditions. There are many festivals and feasts. Many foreign tourists, after visiting the country, said that they came as tourists and left as friends. I hope you will do that too !