Romania’s rich history has significantly shaped the country’s culture. From the Neolithic era to the 5th century B.C., when Greek sailors founded the first cities, to the expansion of the Roman Empire, when Emperor Trajan fought the brave Dacians, and many more recent events, all have left Romania with valuable cultural endowments.
Six Dacian fortresses, including the ruins of seven temples, are included on the UNESCO World Heritage list; the most famous one is Sarmizegetusa Regia, which was the capital of the Dacian kingdom. Important battles took place here during the Dacian-Roman wars from A.D. 101-102 and A.D. 105-106.
Alba Iulia is the city where the Great Union of Romania was signed into existence in 1918, unifying the historic regions of Romania. Every year impressive celebrations take place on December 1st, Romanian National Day. The route of three fortifications from different eras is a must for history enthusiasts: it includes the Roman castrum (military base) from A.D. 106 that attests to Alba Iulia’s prominence as the capital of the Roman Province of Dacia; the Medieval Citadel (16th–17th centuries); and the Alba Carolina Citadel (18th century), the star-shaped Vauban fortress which is now the symbol of the city.
Sibiu was the largest and wealthiest of the seven walled citadels built in the 12th century by the German settlers in Transylvania, who were known as Siebenburgen. For hundreds of years, this walled town was one of the most powerful and prosperous strongholds in Europe. Connected by imposing walls, the original fortifications included thirty-nine defensive towers, five bulwarks and artillery batteries, and four gates. In 2007 Sibiu held the title of European Capital of Culture, and in 2019 Sibiu County was a European Region of Gastronomy.
Suceava, the medieval capital of Moldavia, is one of the oldest towns in Romania. Here you can visit eighty-four different cultural heritage sites of national or local interest. The St. George Church and St. John the New Monastery are two of eight Moldavian churches listed as UNESCO sites. The recently restored princely fortress was never conquered in battle and is now one of the main attractions in Suceava. The Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) Medieval Festival takes place here in August and is one of the most important events of its kind in Romania.
Timișoara, the biggest city in the western part of Romania, is where the revolution began in 1989. The charm of Timișoara today lies in its architectural style and vibrant cultural life: Timișoara was designated a European Capital of Culture for 2023.