Recovering quickly from its socialist past and state developed generic tourist resorts along the Black Sea, Romania is busy promoting its numerous countryside attractions. Dracula’s medieval castle in Transylvania comes to mind; but Romania has plenty of other magnificent fortified churches and castles, a remnant of the Saxon influence during the 13th and 18th centuries. Many of them are now designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. Centuries-old villages and beautiful monasteries complete the cultural landscape.
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Romania has a large landmass of ~238,400 square kilometres and share a boarder with Moldova to the East, Ukraine to the North, Hungry and Serbia to the West and Bulgaria to the North. Romania also has small coastline of 225 kilometres kissing the blacksea. As of 2015, Romania had a population of 21.6 million people.
In 2013, Romania welcomed more than 8 million international tourists for the first time. When visiting Romania keep in mind that one quarter of the country is covered in forests and wildlife such as bear, lynx, deer and wolf can still roam freely. In the southeast, the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve boasts the largest biodiversity in Europe and is a haven for birdwatchers.
Romania’s numerous mineral and thermal springs are the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing treatment, and its wineries offer some exceptional wines for every taste, not to be found outside the country’s borders.
Ethical Travel Issues and advice
Ethical Photography: Travelling presents an opportunity to photograph in lots of different destinations and situations, but sometimes there may be culturally sensitive issues to think about before reaching for the camera or other photo-taking device. There are lots of people in the world who do not have clean water, electricity, schooling or enough to eat, let alone access to mobile telephones, the internet and printed media, so they have no idea where their photograph may end up or how it could be used. Sadly, in this day and age, child prostitution, child trafficking and other crimes against children are facilitated via the Internet, and photography can play an unwitting and innocent role. Photography and its use is no longer straight forward, so perhaps it is time to stop and think a little about the ethics of photography.
Taking photos of the friendly people of Romania is a highlight for many travellers and photographers. Smiles are universal ways to engage, as is showing people the photo you just took of them. If you show an interest in their work or ask them questions, they’ll be happy to have their picture taken. In some touristy places it has become common for people to ask for money for their photos to be taken. Do as you wish, but a photo of someone you shared a laugh with may have a better lasting impression than one you paid for. Don’t forget the same holds true for any porters and guides that may help you along the way. Take an interest in them and you’ll be rewarded with more great photo opportunities.