Southern Romania: Balkan Culture and Politics

If you’d like to explore Southern Romania with one of our tailor-made tours, contact us via

Location: Southern Romania

Located between the Southern Carpathians and the Danube, this historical province was known through history as Wallachia from the name of its ancient inhabitants. It was strongly influenced by the culture of the nearby Balkan Peninsula and has fewer ethnic groups compared to other parts of Romania.


Short history

Similarly to Moldavia, during medieval times Wallachia fought the Ottoman Empire to keep its autonomy. In 1859, Wallachia and Moldavia, back then two separate entities, chose the same prince and managed to realize the union of the two Romanian provinces. The newly formed state entered a fast process of modernization by the end of the 19th century, strongly determined by the enthroning of a German prince, Carol I of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen. Southern Romania is today the main political center of the country with all major political institutions located in the capital, Bucharest.

Balkan culture

This part of Romania was influenced by the Byzantine, Ottoman and even Greek culture for most of its history. Starting with the 19th century when younger boyards began studying abroad, the Oriental influence was balanced by the Western culture these young generations embraced. The cultural change accelerated at the beginning of the 20th century being highly visible during the ‘Belle Epoque’ period of Bucharest when the landmarks of the capital were built.

Tourism in Southern Romania

Tourism in mostly focused on the capital of the country, Bucharest, located just some 60 km from the Danube. The capital is the most visited city in Romania and is usually the main entry point used by tourists who decide to fly to Romania. Still mixing Oriental and Occidental influences, Bucharest is a great weekend break destinations in all seasons.

Cultural and historical attractions: Bucharest, old monasteries (Curtea de Arges, Cozia, Horezu, Govora, Polovragi, Bistrita, Arnota), the fortresses of Targoviste and Poenari, Constantin Brancusi’s sculptures from Targu Jiu

Nature attractions: Bucegi Mountains, Buila Vanturarita National Park, Cozia National Park, Comana Nature Park, Berca Mud Volcanoes

Sports: skiing, hiking, cycling

Not to miss: the fortresses of Poenari and Targoviste, the UNESCO Heritage Site from Horezu, Peles Castle, Targu Jiu, the Mud Volcanoes from Berca

If you’d like to explore Southern Romania with one of our tailor-made tours, contact us via

About the author

Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer, focusing on sustainable tourism practices and destinations. You can find Diana Condrea on Twitter and Google+

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