Romania (Romanian: România) is a country in Southeastern Europe. It shares border with Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the northeast, and Bulgaria to the south. Romania has a stretch of sea coast along the Black Sea. It is located roughly in the lower basin of the Danube and almost all of the Danube Delta is located within its territory.
Romania is a parliamentary unitary state. As a nation-state, the country was formed by the merging of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 and it gained recognition of its independence in 1878. Later, in 1918, they were joined by Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia. At the end of World War II, parts of its territories (roughly the present day Moldova) were occupied by USSR and Romania became a member of Warsaw Pact. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Romania started a series of political and economic reforms that peaked with Romania joining the European Union.
Romania has been a member of the European Union since January 1, 2007, and has the ninth largest territory in the EU and with 22 million people it has the 7th largest population among the EU member states. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest (Romanian: Bucureşti), the sixth largest city in the EU with almost 2 million people. In 2007, Sibiu, a large city in Transylvania, was chosen as European Capital of Culture. Romania joined NATO on March 29, 2004, and is also a member of the Latin Union, of the Francophonie and of OSCE.
With a surface area of 238 391 sq.km, Romania is the largest country in southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe. A large part of Romania’s border with Serbia and Bulgaria is formed by the Danube. The Danube is joined by the Prut River, which forms the border with the Republic of Moldova. The Danube flows into the Black Sea on Romanian territory, forming the Danube Delta, the largest delta in Europe, which is currently a biosphere reserve and World Heritage-listed site due to its biodiversity. Other important rivers are the Siret, running north-south through Moldavia, the Olt, running from the oriental Carpathian Mountains to Oltenia, and the Mureş, running through Transylvania from East to West.
Romania’s terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountainous, hilly and lowland territories. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the center of Romania, with fourteen of its mountain ranges reaching above the altitude of 2 000 meters. The highest mountain in Romania is Moldoveanu Peak (2 544 m). In south-central Romania, the Carpathians sweeten into hills, towards the Bărăgan Plains. Romania’s geographical diversity has led to an accompanying diversity of flora and fauna.