It's official! My book has a place on the web.
The link to view the cover, read the notes on the author,
read a few excerpts and purchase, if that pleases you is
Trafford Publishing

the countryside
and the Country

I got on the train in Budapest about 11:50 PM. They didn't post the track until about 15 minutes beforehand. Now the real fun began. Every car was full. They told me they were bringing four more cars in five minutes. Well, those were already nearly full, also. I finally found a smoking room, only to find it occupied by two non-smokers. Oh, well! So at midnight we finally got moving in the general direction of Romania.
These photos were taken from train windows so the quality isn't up to standard. But they give you an idea of the landscape and the fact that every village has a church. Romania is one of the most religious countries I visited, and also one of the most beautiful. But with nearly 60% unemployment it is by far the poorest country I saw. But everyone I had contact with there was friendly and hospitable.
You will see a lot of corn in these shots. It seems to be the crop of choice across Europe.

My first sunrise in Romania

First village church

Romania has many castles

And corn fields
Citadel Hill affords a commanding view of the Mures valley. Atop the hill are the ruins of a citadel, built in the 13th century at the time of the Mongol invasions. An explosion of an arsenal in the early 19th century destroyed the structure.

Numerous small villages

Each with it's own church

We headed across Transylvania

Along the Mures River
Archaeological findings trace the very early history of habitation in Romanian territory to some one or two million years ago. Vestiges of Neolithic cultures have one element in common, a polychrome pottery of exquisite beauty and remarkable technical achievement. The Greek historian Herodotus was the first to mention the population North of the Danube as Getae (Getians). In the 6th century B.C. There are records of the Geto-Dacians. The Geto-Dacians inhabited the vast area that stretched between the Northern Carpathian chain and the Balkan mountains. The area being divided into three main regions, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania.
The territory of today's Romania was inhabited since at least 513 BC by the Getae-Dacians, a Thracian tribe. Under the leadership of Burebista (70-44 BC) the Dacians became a powerful state which threatened even the regional interests of the Romans. Julius Caesar intended to start a campaign against the Dacians, but was assassinated in 44 BC. A few months later, Burebista shared the same fate, assassinated by his own noblemen. His powerful state divided in four and did not become unified again until 95AD, under the reign of Decebalus. The Dacian state sustained a series of conflicts with the expanding Roman Empire, and was finally conquered in 106 AD by the Roman emperor Trajan, during the reign of the Dacian king Decebalus. Faced by successive invasions of the Goths and Carpi, the Roman administration withdrew two centuries later.
However, during those two hundred years of Roman influence much Italian culture, language and blood intermixed with the Dacian everyday way of life.



Into the Carpathian Mountains

The Carpatii
Middle Ages:
Multiple waves of invasion followed: such as the Slavs in the 6th century, the Bulgars and Magyars in the 9th century, and the Tatars in the 13th entury.
Many small local states were created, but only in the 13th century the larger principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia emerged to fight the danger of a new threat in the form of the Ottoman Turks, who conquered Constantinople in 1453. By 1541, the entire Balkan peninsula and most of Hungary became Ottoman provinces. Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania remained autonomous, under Ottoman suzerainty.
By the 12th century, Transylvania became a largely autonomous part of the Kingdom of Hungary. In the year 1600, Wallachia, Moldova and Transylvania principalities were united by Wallachian Ban (prince) Mihai Viteazul, but the unity dissolved after Mihai was killed in 1601.
In 1699 Transylvania became a possession of Austrian Empire, following the defeat of the Turks. The Austrians, in their turn, rapidly expanded their empire: In 1718 an important part of Wallachia, called Oltenia, was incorporated to the Austrian Empire and was only returned in 1739.
In 1775 the Austrian Empire occupied the north-western part of Moldavia, later called Bukovina, while the eastern half of the principality (called Bessarabia) was occupied in 1812 by Russia.
As in most European countries, 1848 brought revolution to Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania, announced by Tudor Vladimirescu and his Pandurs attempt in 1821. The goals of the revolutionaries - complete independence for the first two and national emancipation in third - remained unfulfilled, but were the basis of the subsequent evolutions. Also, the uprising helped the population of the three principalities recognise their unity of language and interests.



More churches

And wheat fields

And corn

What are these giant bird cages?

The Kingdom:
In 1866 the German prince Carol (Charles) of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was appointed as prince, to end the rivality and struggle for the seat of power by the Romanian boyar factions. In 1877, following a Russian-Romanian-Turkish war, Romania was recognized independent by Treaty of Berlin, 1878, acquired Dobruja, though, she was forced to cede southern Bessarabia to Russia. Charles was crowned as Carol, the first King of Romania, in 1881. The new state, squeezed between the great powers of the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, military and administrative models. By the end of World War I, the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires were gone; governing bodies created in Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina chose union with Romania, resulting in Greater Romania.
Most of Romania's pre-WWII governments maintained the form, but not the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The Iron Guard nationalist movement, became a major political factor by exploiting fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy. In 1938, in order to prevent the formation of a government that would have included Iron Guard ministers, King Carol II dismissed the government and instituted a short-lived royal dictatorship.
In 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which stipulated, amongst other things, the Soviet "interest" in Bessarabia.

Another village

More corn

A taxi on the highway

The Carpathians

Romania during World War II:
As a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in 1940, Romania lost territory in both east and west: In June 1940, after issuing an ultimatum to Romania, the Soviet Union took Bessarabia and Bukovina. Two thirds of Bessarabia were combined with a small part of USSR to form the Moldavian SSR. The rest was apportioned to the Ukrainian SSR. In August 1940, northern part of Transylvania was adjoined to Hungary by Germany and Italy.
As a result of the ratification by King Carol II of the yielding of Northern Transylvania to Hungary, S. Dobrudja to Bulgaria, and Bessarabia, Bugeac and Bukovina to USSR in 1940, the general Ion Antonescu was supported by the army to seize the leadership of Romania. Romania entered World War II under the command of German Wehrmacht in June 1941, declaring war on the Soviet Union in order to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina. Romania received the territory between Nistru and Bug from Hitler to administrate it as Transnistria.
In August 1944, a coup led by King Michael, with support from opposition politicians and the army, deposed the Antonescu dictatorship and put Romania's armies under Red Army command. Romania suffered additional heavy casualties fighting the Nazi Army in Transylvania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.
At the end of World War II, Northern Transylvania returned to Romania and had an autonomous status, but the Bukovina, Bessarabia and Southern Dobrogea weren't recovered. The Moldavian SSR became independent only in 1991, under the name of Moldova.

More villages

More churches

Communist Romania
Soviet occupation following WWII led to the formation of a communist Peoples' Republic in 1947 and the abdication of king Michael, who went into exile.
In the early 1960s, Romania's communist government began to assert some independence from the Soviet Union. Ceausescu became head of the Communist Party in 1965 and head of state in 1967. Ceausescu's denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression helped give him a positive image both at home and in the West. Seduced by Ceausescu's "independent" foreign policy, Western leaders were slow to turn against a regime that, by the late 1970s, had become increasingly harsh, arbitrary, and capricious.
December 1989 marked the fall of Ceausescu and the end of communist regime in Romania, a violent change, resulting in more than 1000 deaths during the key events in Timisoara and Bucharest. After a week long state of unrest of the city of Timisoara, Ceausescu lost his grip on the country's leadership, fleeing Bucharest after summoning a meeting of support that turned against him on December 21, 1989, and was arrested and executed on December 25, 1989. The series of events known as Romanian Revolution of 1989 remain to this day a matter of debate, with many conflicting theories as to the motivations and even actions of some of the principle players. A former activist marginalised by Ceausescu, Ion Iliescu attained national recognition as the leader of an impromptu governing coalition, the National Salvation Front (FSN) that proclaimed the restoration of democracy and freedom on December 22, 1989. The Communist Party was outlawed.

Some spectacular churches above

As we headed to the Ukraine

Farmlands creeping up the mountains
Heading for The Ukraine (little did I know)
Romania since 1989
Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Running against representatives of the pre-war National Peasants' Party and National Liberal Party, Iliescu won 85% of the vote. The FSN captured two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, named a university professor, Petre Roman, as Prime Minister, and began cautious free market reforms. Since the new government was still largely formed of ex-communists, anti-communist protesters camped in University Square, Bucharest in April 1990. Two months later, these protestors, characterized by the government as "hooligans", were brutally dispersed by the miners from Jiu Valley, called in by President Iliescu; this event became known as the mineriad. The miners also attacked the headquarters and houses of opposition leaders. Petre Roman's government fell in late September 1991.
A new democratic constitution, drafted by the Parliament was approved by popular referendum in December 1991. In the September 1992 National Elections, President Iliescu won a new term by a clear majority, and gave his party, the FDSN, a plurality. With parliamentary support from the nationalist PUNR and PRM parties, and the ex-communist PSM party, a technocratic government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, an economist.
Emil Constantinescu of the Democrat Convention (CDR) electoral coalition defeated President Iliescu in the second round of voting and replaced him as chief of state. Victor Ciorbea was named Prime Minister. Ciorbea remained in office until March 1998, when he was replaced by Radu Vasile (PNTCD), but in 2000 elections, Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Iliescu won power again and Adrian Nastase was named Prime Minister.
In 2002, Romania was invited to join NATO. In the same year, the EU confirmed its strong support for Romania's goal to join the union in 2007. Still, much economic restructuring remains to be carried out before Romania can achieve this goal.
Source: Wikipedia
With so much of their history being shaped by outside rule, Romania and it's people has shown one thing throughout it's existence. Perserverance.
In the course of centuries, the Romanian people have created for themselves a rich stock of artistic and cultural possessions, ornaments of their existence. Their artistic creations are, to this day, the object of a common preoccupation: at every stage, from the cradle to the grave, they are bound to the life of the people whose thoughts, feelings and aspirations they embody.
After the fall of the Communist government in 1990, Romania adopted a new anthem "Desteaptate, Romane", also used for a time by Moldova. Written during the 1848 revolution, it has been used by Romanians in their many struggles for freedom, such as from the Nazis in 1944, and more recently sung spontaneously on the streets after Communism was abolished in 1989, thus becoming the logical choice as a new anthem. The words to their anthem say more about the people than I or any history books could.

"Desteaptate, Romane"
Awaken thee, Romanian, shake off the deadly slumber
The scourge of inauspicious barbarian tyrannies
And now or never to a bright horizon clamber
That shall to shame put all your nocuous enemies.

It?s now or never to the world we readily proclaim
In our veins throbs an ancestry of Roman
And in our hearts for ever we glorify a name
Resounding of battle, the name of gallant Trajan.

Do look imperial shadows, Michael, Stephen, Corvinus
At the Romanian nation, your mighty progeny
With arms like steel and hearts of impetuous fire
It?s either free or dead, that?s what they all decree.

Priests, rise the cross, this Christian army?s liberating
The word is freedom, no less sacred is the end
We?d rather die in battle, in elevated glory
Than live again enslaved on our ancestral land.

Music is "The Romanian National Anthem"

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