WALACHIA

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Introduction | Data in brief | History | Economy | Environmental factors | Attractions | Activities | Transportation | Accommodation

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Introduction

Walachia, former Principate of Walachia (between the 14th and the 18th centuries) is a historical region situated in the southern part of Romania. The region is divided into two subregions by the river Olt: Oltenia (24 square kilometres) in the western side and Muntenia (52486 square kilometres) in the eastern side.

The Danube river separates Walachia from Serbia (in the western side) and from Bulgaria (in the southern side), and the Carpathian Mountains separates it from Banat and Transilvania (in NV). In the north-eastern side Walachia borders on Moldavia.

The historical region Walachia is the most developed, both from the industrial and agricultural point of view, among the regions of Romania, and Bucharest (the capital of the country) is the most important city in the region.

Data in brief

  • Name: Walachia
  • Area: 76581 square km / 29568 square miles
  • Population: aprox 8.5 mil
  • Important cities: Bucharest, Ploiesti, Pitesti, Craiova, Rimnicu-Valcea, Targu Jiu, Targoviste
  • Official language: Romanian; spoken languages: English, French (especially in the big cities).
  • Religion: Orthodox

History

Walachia was part of the Roman Province Dacia, and, in spite of the long periods of foreign domination, it succeeded in keeping the Latin character of the language. The existence of certain state formations (“voievodate”, “cnezate”) on the territory of Walachia was mentioned by numerous historical documents, some dating back from the 10th century.

In the 13th century the bases were laid for Walachia to become a state, with Campulung as first capital. Subsequently this was moved to Curtea de Arges.

The founder of Walachia as an independent state was Voivode Basarab I (1324-1352). Through the numerous battles fought in time both by the Prince of Walachia, Mircea the Old (1386-1418) and by Vlad the Impaler (1456-1462), Walachia managed to keep its political independence towards the Ottoman Empire, but not also the economic one, and it was forced to pay an annual tribute.

Another Prince of Walachia, Michael the Brave, was the one who, after defeating the Turks in Walachia, managed to unite (in the year 1600) and rule for the first time all three Romanian states, Walachia, Moldavia and Transilvania. Shortly after his death, one year later, Walachia came again under Ottoman influence. The 18th century marked the beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the ascension of the Habsburg and Russian Empires.

The revolution led by Tudor Vladimirescu outbreaks in 1821.

Following the Russian-Turk war (1828-1829), according to the Adrianopole Treaty (1829), Walachia became an autonomous state, but part of the Russian Protectorate.

Through the Paris Treaty (1856) the Russian Protectorate over the Romanian countries was replaced by the Common Guarantee of the European States. Three years later, at 24 January 1859, Alexandru Ioan Cuza united the two Romanian states, Walachia and Moldavia. The newly created state was named Romania in 1862, and Bucharest was established as the capital in the same year.

In February 1866 Cuza was forced to renounce the crown in favour of the German Prince Carol of Hohenzolern-Sigmaringen. A new constitution (more modern and more liberal) was elaborated in the same year.

In 1877 Romania proclaimed its independence to be consolidated later by the participation on Russia’s and the other Balkanic powers’ side in the anti-Ottoman war (1877-1878).

The treaties from San Stefano and Berlin (1878) re-established Romania’s right over Dobrogea and the latter was attached to Romania’s territory.

Economy

Walachia is a region very rich in natural resources, like petrol (Ploiesti, Pitesti, Tg. Jiu), natural gases (Ploiesti, Urziceni, Craiova), coal (Tg. Jiu). The most important termocentrals are in Bucharest, Brazi, Campina, and significant hidrocentrals are those on the rivers Arges, Ialomita and Olt.

The industry of machine construction is well developed in centres as Bucharest (wagons, buses, fine mechanics, electrotechnics and electronics), Ploiesti (petroleum machines), Targoviste (tool machines, alloyed steels), Pitesti (cars), Oltenita and Giurgiu (ship construction).

The chemical industry is well represented in Bucharest (rubber processing, plastic masses, paints), Rimnicu Vilcea (polyvinyl chloride and caustic soda), Pitesti (raw materials for plastic masses), Turnu Magurele (sulphuric acid and amoniac), Ploiesti (detergents).

Other important industries in Walachia’s economy are the textile industry, the industry of construction materials, and the food industry.

From an agricultural point of view Walachia is an area of major importance in the Romanian economy. Large areas are cultivated with corn, wheat and other cereals (in the Romanian Field), vine (Dragasani, Dabuleni) and fruit trees (Arges, Vilcea, Prahova). Animal raising is widely spread in all areas of Walachia.

Environmental factors

Climate – The field area in the south and east of Walachia is characterised by relatively rough winters, torrid summers, reduced rain (aprox. 400-500 mm / year), frequent dryness and days of tropical temperatures. In the hill and mountain areas from the north of the region summers are cool, winters cold and rain is abundant (800-1200 mm / year).

Vegetation – Beech forests or beech forests mixed with resin dominate the north area, and oak forests (very resistant to dryness) dominate the lower areas in the south.

Fauna – Over 60% of the bear population and approximately 40% from the total number of wolves in Europe live in the Romanian Carpathians. Other animals: the stagger, the fox, the wild cat, the rabbit, the fitch, the hamster, the ground squirrel, the squirrel etc.

Waters – The most important rivers are the Danube, the Olt, the Jiu, the Arges and the Dimbovita.

Attractions

Monasteries – Comana (Giurgiu district) built by Vlad the Impaler, Cosuna (Dolj district), the Saint Voivodes from Slobozia (Ialomita district), Dealu – where the tomb of Michael the Brave is (Dimbovita district), Curtea de Arges, Hurez (1690-1697), Govora, Arnota, Cozia and others.

Museums – The Art Collections Museum, The Museum of the Romanian Peasant, the Military Museum, the Firemen’s Museum, the Village Museum – in Bucharest.

Other locations of touristic interest: The Peles Castle (inaugurated in 1883 by King Carol I in Sinaia), Traian’s Bridge and the Iron Gates Museum (Mehedinti district), “Transfagarasanul” (highway 2034 m altitude – Arges district), the watering and climatic resorts Govora, Olanesti and Calimanesti-Caciulata (Valcea district) etc

Activities
Walachia offers numerous opportunities to spend one’s spare time and practice sports: aquatic sports (on the Bucharest lakes – Herastrauand the neighbouring areas – Snagov, Cernica, Mogosoaia), winter sports (in the resorts on the Prahova Valley – Sinaia, Predeal, Busteni and in Poiana Brasov), tennis, horse riding, swimming, climbing (in the Bucegi, Fagaras and Piatra Craiului Mountains) etc

Transportation

Walachia can be easily accessed both by train and by plane or by bus. Trains are the most popular means of transport and make the connection between most of the cities, communes and villages in the region.

Airports are in Bucharest (Otopeni-international traffic and Baneasa) and Craiova.

Accommodation

There are several ways to accommodate tourists in Walachia: in hotels (classified form 1 to 5 stars), motels, bed & breakfast, private houses and camping. For more information: ROMANIA - Official Travel and Tourism Website