Southern Romania: Balkan Culture and Politics

If you’d like to explore Southern Romania with one of our private tours, contact us via www.uncover-romania-tours.com

Location: Southern Romania

Bordered by the Southern Carpathians and the Danube, this historical province was known throughout history as Wallachia, the name linked to its ancient inhabitants. This is the region of Romania most influenced by the culture of the nearby Balkan Peninsula, Bucharest being in the medieval centuries less than 100 km away from the border with the Ottoman Empire.

Peles Castle

Short history

Wallachia or Southern Romania appeared as a self-governing province during the 13th century, some of the oldest monuments in Romania being built by the princes from the Basarab dynasty who ruled for generations this region. Similarly to Moldavia, during medieval times, Wallachia often fought the Ottoman Empire to keep its autonomy, a goal it finally achieved in exchange for an annual tax paid to the Sultan. The Ottoman influence had, nonetheless, disastrous consequences for the politics and economy of this historical province.

argoviste Fortress and Church

In 1859, the representatives of Wallachia and Moldavia 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, empowered by the enthroning of a German prince, Carol I of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen, in 1866.

Southern Romania is today the main political center of the country with all major political institutions located in the capital of the country, Bucharest.

Balkan culture

This part of Romania was influenced by the Byzantine, Ottoman and even Greek culture for most of its history until the 19th century when younger boyards began studying in Western Europe. The occidental cultural impact accelerated at the beginning of the 20th century, being highly visible during the ‘Belle Epoque’ period of Bucharest when the monumental landmarks of the capital were built in a style that resembled substantially French architecture.

Old Town Bucharest

Tourism in Southern Romania

Tourism is mainly focused in the capital of the country, Bucharest, the most visited city in Romania. An interesting and budget-friendly weekend break destination in all seasons, the city is also the best departing point for most must-see attractions from the region.

Cultural and historical attractions: Bucharest, castles and palaces, old churches and monasteries (Curtea de Arges, Snagov, 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, Berca Mud Volcanoes

Sports: skiing, hiking, cycling

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

If you’d like to explore Southern Romania with one of our private tours, contact us via www.uncover-romania-tours.com

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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