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The most important Romanian writers of the second half of the 19 th century were Vasile Alecsandri and Mihai Eminescu. Alecsandri was a prolific writer, contributing to Romanian literature with poetry, prose, several plays, and collections of Romanian folklore. Eminescu is considered by most critics to be the most important and influential Romanian poet. Many outstanding Romanian writers, including Ion Luca Caragiale, who wrote some of the best Romanian comedies, Ion Creang, who wrote traditional Romanian stories and Barbu tefnescu Delavrancea, published their works during this time. After achieving national unity in 1918, Romanian literature entered what can be called a golden age, characterized by the development of the Romanian novel - writers such as Liviu Rebreanu, Hortensia Papadat Bengescu, Camil Petrescu or Mihail Sadoveanu are representative for this period of time. Tudor Arghezi changed the Romanian poetry 50 years after Eminescu, creating new pillars for the modern Romanian poem. Lucian Blaga, one of the country's most important artistic personalities, developed through his writings a complex philosophic system. Mircea Eliade is today considered the greatest historian in the field of religions. His novels reveal a mystical, pre-Christian symbolism paving the way for contemporary Romanian art. Marin Preda is often considered as the most important post-World War II Romanian novelist. Some of the most important poets for this period of time were Nichita Stnescu, Marin Sorescu, and Ana Blandiana. Outside Romania, Eugne Ionesco and Emil Cioran represented the national spirit at the highest level. Eugne Ionesco is one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict in a tangible way the solitude of humans and the insignificance of one's existence, while Cioran was a brilliant writer and philosopher. One of the most important figures in the contemporary Romanian literature is Hertha Muller - a novelist, poet and essayist - who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Nicolae Grigorescu was one of the founders of modern Romanian painting. He studied at the cole des Beaux-Arts, in Paris. Attracted by the artistic concepts of the Barbizon school, he left Paris for that village, where he became the associate of artists such as Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet and Thodore Rousseau. He returned to Romania and in 1877 he was called to accompany the Romanian Army as a "frontline painter" in the Romanian War of Independence. Here he made drawings and sketches which later were used in creating larger-scale works. He also loved to paint pastoral themes, especially portraits of peasant girls, pictures of ox carts on dusty country roads and other landscapes. tefan Luchian was another Romanian painter, famous for his landscapes and still life works. He also did paint compositions and still life, especially flowers. His landscapes equally show the interest in picturesque sights of nature for once and in the symbiosis between abundant vegetation and human appearances for another.

Ion Andreescu was one of the greatest Romanian painters, a master of colors. Influenced by Nicolae Grigorescu, he left Romania for Paris to further his education. In Paris, he began painting at Barbizon. His works were exhibited with the works of better known french painters such as Manet, Monet and Renoir. Andreescu painted landscapes, portrets and still life. Regarded as the last "classical artist" in the Romanian painting, Theodor Aman was a Romanian painter of Armenian descent. His style is often considered to be a predecessor of Impressionism. His paintings are inspired by the essential moments in the history of Romania, particularly in the Middle Ages. His paintings in which Vlad Tepes the Impaler or Stephen the Great are depicted are included in the Romanian heritage. Drawing inspiration from post-Impressionism and Expressionism, Nicolae Tonitza had a major role in introducing modernist guidelines to local art. Most of his works are serene in tones, in contrast with those expressing Tonitza's involvement in social issues. They proposed a classical aesthetical ideal, viewing art as a treasurer of spiritual values.

Two of the most famous representants of the Romanian classical music were George Enescu and Ciprian Porumbescu. The first one was a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and music teacher. Enescus most popular compositions were the two Romanian Rhapsodies (1901-1902), the opera Oedipe (1936), and the suites for orchestra. In 1923 Enescu made his American debut as a conductor in a concert given by the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Ciprian Porumbescu was among the most celebrated Romanian composers of his time. His supreme goal was to replace the frivolity of subject-matter in the fashionable operettas with a plot that revived the old Romanian traditions. Among them was Crai Nou (New Moon), the first Romanian operetta. But the most known work by Ciprian Porumbescu was the Ballad for Violin and Orchestra, a reference work in Romanian classical music of the 19th century. Folk music is one of the oldest form of Romanian musical creation, known for its great vitality. Gheorghe Zamfir, is well known throughout the world today, as he made famous a traditional Romanian folk instrument, the panpipes. Romania also has thriving scenes in the fields of pop music, hip hop, or rock music. During the first decade of the 21st century some europop groups/artists, such as O-Zone, Morandi, Akcent, Edward Maya, Alexandra Stan or Inna, achieved success abroad.

The first cinematographic projection in Romania took place on 27 May 1896, less than five months after the first public film exhibition by the Lumire brothers on 28 December 1895 in Paris. In the exhibition, a team of Lumire brothers' employees screened several films for the romanian public. The first Romanian movies were created and released on 1911-1912 according to historical data. The most prolific film director of modern times was Sergiu Nicolaescu. Financed by the government, during the 1960s, a whole industry developed at Buftea, a town close to Bucharest.

Recently, few Romanian film directors distinguished through several prizes won at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival - Cristi Puiu with The Death of Mr. Lzrescu (2005), and Cristian Nemescu with California Dreamin' (2007) won the prize in the Un certain regard section, while Crsitian Mungiu with 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) won the Palm dOr.

Architecture & Sculpture

The most important Romanian sculpture artist was Constantin Brncui (18761957), a central figure of the modern movement and a pioneer of abstraction, an innovator of world sculpture by immersion in the primordial sources of folk creation. In the first half of the 19th century, urban life grew considerably and there was a Westerntype modernisation policy, due to which the architecture of the Romanian lands became a combination of Romantic and Neo-Classical elements. In the second half of the century a national tendency developed, to use to a great extent elements and forms of the traditional local architecture. Ion Mincu (18521912) was founder of both trends and of the Romanian school of architecture. Industrialization brought some engineering marvels such as the bridge built between 1890 and 1895 over the Danube by Anghel Saligny. When it was completed it then became the longest bridge in Europe and the third in the world. Modern times brought another architectural marvel - the Palace of the Parliament is a multi-purpose building containing both chambers of the Romanian Parliament. According to the World Records Academy, the Palace is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon, the most expensive administrative building, and worlds heaviest building.

In the technical domain one can note the spectacular achievements in the field of aviation made by Traian Vuia, Aurel Vlaicu and Henri Coand and also the works of George Constantinescu in the fields of engineering and sonics. On May 14th, 1981 Romania became the 11th country in the world to have an astronaut in space. That astronaut, Dumitru Prunariu, is today's president of Romanian Space Agency. George Emil Palade a cell biologist and a teacher became the first Romanian to receive the Nobel Prize, winning the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for describing the structure and function of organelles in cells. Nicolae Paulescu was a known physiologist, professor of medicine, the discoverer of insulin. Lazr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine and also invented the modern method of refining crude oil. Notable Romanian physicists and inventors also include: tefan Procopiu known for the first theory of the magnetic moment of the electron in 1911 (now known as the BohrProcopiu magneton), Theodor V. Ionescu - the inventor of a multiple-cavity magnetron in 1935, a hydrogen maser in 1947, 3D imaging for cinema/television in 1924, quantum emission in hot plasmas and hot deuterium plasma beams for controlled nuclear fusion in 1969, Alexandru Proca known for the first meson theory of nuclear forces, erban ieica known in theoretical physics field, especially thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.

Romania is also reported to be among the countries with the highest number of computer programmers in the world. Some examples of successful romanian software include BitDefender which is considered by most the number one antivirus and internet security software on the market.

Spituality & Religion

There are only a few Catholics and a small number of Protestants, the vast majority of Romanians being Romanian Orthodox (over 90%). Despite the diminishing importance of the church in recent generations, it remains the most trusted institution in Romania. Church attendance is high in rural communities and among the elders in the cities. A great number of wooden churches are still intact in the Carpathian Mountains villages, but by far the most impressive are the Wooden Churches of Maramure which push wood building technique to its limits. Byzantine influences can be found in most Romanian church buildings but domestic styles have evolved in different periods of time and in different regions. In Moldavia, a particular style was used in the construction of the monasteries, some of the most important are the churches from the northern Moldavia UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as those of Moldovia, Putna, Sucevia, or Vorone. In Wallachia, Curtea de Arge Cathedral was built in a Byzantine style with Moorish influences, and a great number of churches show Greek influences, especially those built in the 18th century, such as Stavropoleos Church in central Bucharest. Romania also evolved the distincive Brncovenesc style: the monasteries of Snagov and of Smbta de Sus in Transylvania are classical examples.

Football is the most popular sport in Romania. The most internationally known Romanian player is Gheorghe Hagi, who played for Steaua Bucureti (Romania), Real Madrid, FC Barcelona (Spain) and Galatasaray (Turkey), among others. In 1986, the Romanian football club Steaua Bucureti became the first Eastern European club ever to win the prestigious European Champions Cup title. Handball is the second most popular sport in Romania, after football. The Romania national handball team has won the Handball World Cup a record four times (1961, 1964, 1970, and 1974). The Romania women's national handball team has won the Handball World Cup in 1962. Romania holds a long tradition in artistic gymnastics, especially in the ladies competition. The most famous Romanian gymnast is Nadia Comneci, who was the first gymnast to ever score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games, during the 1976 Summer Olympics. She won at that competition three gold medals, one silver and one bronze, all at the age of 14. Ilie Nstase, a famous Romanian tennis player, is another internationally known Romanian sports star. He won several Grand Slam titles and dozens of other tournaments and was the first player to be ranked as number 1 by ATP from 1973 to 1974. Romania has also reached the Davis Cup finals three times (1969, 1971, 1972).


The cuisine of Romania has the same influences as the rest of Romanian culture: from Roman times there still exists the simple pie called, in Romanian, plcint.. The Turks brought the meatballs (fried mititei or perioare in a soup called ciorba); from the Greeks there is the musaca (moussaka); from the Bulgarians, a wide variety of vegetable dishes like zacusc; from the Austrians there is the niel (schnitzel); from the Hungarians, their ornate pastries; and the list could go on. One of the most common traditional meals is the mmliga, a cornmeal mush. Pork is the main meat used in Romanian cuisine, but also beef is consumed and a good lamb or fish dish is never to be refused. Wine is the main drink, Romania being currently the world's ninth largest wine producer. Also Romania is the world's second largest grower of plums, and almost all of those plums become either the famous uic (a once-refined plum brandy) or palinc (twice-ormore-refined plum brandy).