Communism in Romania In 1965, Nicolae Ceauşescu came to power and started to pursue independent policies such as being the only Warsaw Pact country to condemn the Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. Also, close ties with the Arab countries allowed Romania to play a key role in the Israel–Egypt peace processes. Under the Ceausescu regime, major infrastructure projects were completed. The Transfagarasan road, is a road that passes threw the highest mountain in Romania, at an altitude of 2042 metres, making it the highest road in Europe. The Danube – Black sea canal, was constructed to make naval commerce more efficient. The Palace of Parlament was constructed to mark the power of the communist party. Built in the 1980, it became the second building in the world, after the Pentagon, by area occupied, and the first in the world, by weight. It was the royal residence of president Ceausescu and the establishment for the communist pary. All of these projects increased Romania’s foreign debt. Conflicting with Nicolae Ceauşescu's policies, he eventually initiated a project of total reimbursement of the foreign debt by imposing policies that impoverished Romanians and exhausted the Romanian economy, while also greatly extending the authority of the police state, and imposing a cult of personality. These led to a dramatic decrease in Ceauşescu's popularity and culminated in his overthrow. The Romanian Revolution Romania was the only Eastern European country to violently overthrow its Communist regime. It started on 22 december, 1989, in Timisoara, when, during a gadering in the centre of the city, a man from within the crowd shouted “Freedom”. It soonly spread to the rest of the crowd, and the rest of the country, especially the most important cities. The most violently hit, was the capital of Bucharest. On the streets of the city, people were being beaten and shot by the police. Ceausescu tried to calm down the crowds from his personal balcony from the People’s Palace, but he dindn’t manage to. When the people tried to brake in, he ran away with a helicopter. He was caught at Targoviste, trialed and executed on the 25th of december. Communism was overthrown and a new era began in Romania. The era of democracy and capitalism. Religion The dominant religious body is the Romanian Orthodox Church, an autocephalous church within the Eastern Orthodox communion. It’s members make up 86.7%. Other important Christian denominations include Roman Catholicism , Protestantism , Pentecostalism and the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church. Romania also has a Muslim minority concentrated in Dobrogea, mostly of Turkish ethnicity. Tourism Tourism focuses on the country's natural landscapes and its rich history and is a significant contributor to the Romania's economy. Arts The Romanian literature began to truly evolve with the revolutions of 1848 and the union of the two Danubian Principalities in 1859. Some of the classics of the Romanian literature are Mihai Eminescu, George Coşbuc, Ioan Slavici. Eminescu is considered the most important and influential Romanian poet, and is still very much loved for his creations, and especially the poem Luceafărul. Among other writers that made large contributions around the second half of 19th century are Mihail Kogălniceanu (also the first prime minister of Romania), Vasile Alecsandri, Nicolae Bălcescu, Ion Luca Caragiale, and Ion Creangă. Mihai Eminescu George Cosbuc Ioan Slavici Ion Creanga Vasile Alecsandri Ion Luca Caragiale Mihail Kogalniceanu The first half of the 20th century is regarded by many Romanian scholars as the Golden Age of Romanian culture and it is the period when it reached its main level of international affirmation and a strong connection to the European cultural trends. The most important artist who had a great influence on the world culture was the sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi, a central figure of the modern movement and a pioneer of abstraction, the innovator of world sculpture by immersion in the primordial sources of folk creation. In the period between the two world wars, authors like Tudor Arghezi, Lucian Blaga, Eugen Lovinescu, Ion Barbu, Liviu Rebreanu made efforts to synchronize Romanian literature with the European literature of the time. George Enescu, probably the best known Romanian musician, also came from this period; a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and teacher, the annual George Enescu Festival is held in Bucharest in his honor. After the world wars, communism brought heavy censorship and used the cultural world as a means to better control the population. Freedom of expression was constantly restricted in various ways, but the likes of Gellu Naum, Nichita Stănescu, Marin Sorescu or Marin Preda managed to escape censorship, broke with "socialist realism" and were the leaders of a small "Renaissance" in Romanian literature. Marin Preda Marin Sorescu Gellu Naum Nichita Stanescu While not many of them managed to obtain international acclaim due to censorship, some, like Constantin Noica, Paul Goma and Mircea Cărtărescu, had their works published abroad even though they were jailed for various political reasons. Constantin Noica Paul Goma Mircea Cartarescu Some artists chose to leave the country entirely, and continued to make contributions in exile. Among them Eugen Ionescu, Mircea Eliade and Emil Cioran became renowned internationally for their works. Eugen Ionescu Emil Cioran Mircea Eliade Some famous Romanian artists musicians are the folk artist Tudor Gheorghe, and the virtuoso of the pan flute Gheorghe Zamfir – who is reported to have sold over 120 million albums worldwide. Tudor Gheorghe Gheorghe Zamfir Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Romania. At international level, the Romanian National Football Team has taken part 7 times in the Football World Cup, and it had the most successful period throughout the 1990s, when during the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Romania reached the quarter-finals and was ranked by FIFA on the 6th place. The core player of this "Golden Generation" and perhaps the best known Romanian player internationally is Gheorghe Hagi (nicknamed the Maradona of the Carpathians). Famous currently active players are Adrian Mutu and Cristian Chivu. Adrian Mutu Cristian Chivu Gheorghe Hagi The most famous football club is Steaua Bucureşti, who in 1986 became the first Eastern European club ever to win the prestigious European Champions Cup title, and who played the final again in 1989. Another successful Romanian team Dinamo Bucureşti played a semifinal in the European Champions Cup in 1984 and a Cup Winners Cup semifinal in the 1990. Other important Romanian football clubs are Rapid Bucureşti, CFR 1907 Cluj-Napoca and FC Universitatea Craiova. Tennis is the second most popular sport in terms of registered sportsmen. Romania reached the Davis Cup finals three times (1969, 1971, 1972). The tennis player Ilie Năstase 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. The Romanian Open is held every fall in Bucharest since 1993. Popular team sports are rugby union - the national rugby team has so far competed at every Rugby World Cup -, basketball and handball. Some popular individual sports are: athletics, chess, sport dance, and martial arts and other fighting sports. Romanian gymnastics has had a large number of successes – for which the country became known worldwide. In the 1976 Summer Olympics, the gymnast Nadia Comăneci became the first gymnast ever to score a perfect ten. She also won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze, all at the age of fifteen. Her success continued in the 1980 Summer Olympics, where she was awarded two gold medals and two silver medals.