Romania has a large number of churches, monasteries or places of worship as well as a great diversity of spiritual and religious destinations, thus explaining the development of forms of tourism such as religious tourism and pilgrimage. Previous researches confirm that in Romania religious tourism and pilgrimage has been on an ascending trend, Prislop Monastery being one of the most visited religious sites. A delimitation between the two types is difficult to make because of the different valences they have. This study starts from personal field observations, aiming to explore, based on qualitative methods, the motivations, perception or religious practices in the area, trying to differentiate distinct categories of visitors. The context of visits, the frequency, motivations and practices related to religious tourism or pilgrimage represented the basis of the analysis, relied on semi-structured interviews. The results showed that the motivations were mixed, starting from religious practices rigorously performed, to simple visits that were made out of curiosity and aroused by mass-media.
This paper aims to provide a model for the assessment of the religious-tourism potential in Romania. The religious practice has been in a continuous change over the past 20 years, making the pilgrimage phenomenon to have an upward trend. In the same time, many religious edifices are becoming more attractive to visitors, as they are included in package tours, and visited by large numbers of tourists. In Romania, there are many religious places visited both, by tourists or pilgrims; it is difficult to assess their numbers and also to distinguish between religious practices and touristic visits as no studies have been conducted in this direction. They are centres of religious (spiritual) power, in which people regularly spend money and time while around them it has been developed a real infrastructure, from roads or construction of facilities to more complex services that include accommodation, stores or commercial stalls, selling souvenirs or items more or less related to religious practice. Therefore, the objectives of this paper aimed at evaluating the tourist valences of religious edifices in Romania as well as the degree of their valorisation; in order to meet these objectives, three dimensions were considered and assessed: the historical-cultural dimension, the religious dimension, and the economic dimension. Many relevant elements for these dimensions have been quantified, giving them scores based on unitary criteria. The results help to see better the differentiation/association between the tourist value and the religious value of religious edifices in Romania, highlighting particularities at the national level, which will be the subject of further analysis.
Gates represent an important component of the Romanian domestic life since historical times. They function as a barrier between the sacred family space from inside the household and the space and potential dangers from outside it. Traditional wooden gates have been inscribed with specific elements, thus functioning simultaneously as a household utility and conserving a common identity through their symbolism. Szekely gates represent a lesser-known and studied element of ethnocultural heritage, although the area where they are located has been in the last few years and will probably continue to be a very dynamic and sought after tourism destination. The wooden Székely gates, found in areas inhabited by this ethnic minority, represent a true accumulation of both Romanian and Székely rituals and symbols. The aim of the study is to highlight the importance of the gates for the traditional ethnographic heritage of this ethnic minority with real implications for the development of local cultural and heritage tourism. The objectives of the study consist in identifying the main areas of distribution for Székely gates in Transylvania, the significance of their main symbols and the level of their current national and international promotion. The research methodology included direct observations, GIS techniques, and field investigations. The results of this exploratory study show the location of the traditional Székely gates and their diversity, and the coexistence of a Romanian symbolism with one that is exclusively local through specific motifs and colours. This diversity and coexistence of symbols gives the possibility of inserting Székely gates as added cultural values into an already visible and viable tourism area.
Deindustrialisation is one of the most complex and dynamic processes that have shaped the global economy over the past half century. This article aims to highlight the factors behind this process and their implications in the national state industry. In Romania, deindustrialization has profoundly marked recent history, after 1990, through the closure of hundreds of factories and the loss of over 2.5 million jobs. The process resulted in the rising of unemployment and of the crime rate and generated the phenomenon of poverty. The research results were obtained by studying the economic policies adopted by eight governments between 1990 and 2006. The study underlines that deindustrialization in Romania was a consequence of an accumulation of internal and external factors whose impact was amplified by the failure of government policies.
The process of urbanization in Romania was a very tumultuous and slightly different one compared to other Central and Eastern European countries, being marked by the constant willingness to increase the degree of urbanization. The communist period was the most significant from this point of view, by considering both the number of newly declared towns and urban population growth. The urbanization of communist era corroborated with the excessive and forced industrialization has generated imbalances in the urban system and created distortions in the urban hierarchy. However, the legislative inconsistency and the lack of urban regulations during the post – communist period have lead to the increasing number of new (quasi) urban units (many of which without urban amenities) to the chaotic sub-urbanization of cities and urban decline. In many cases, the ability of local authorities to manage the urban development in the early years of transition has been hampered by inadequate legislation that regulates the urban growth in a completely different socio-economic system. Thus, the lacks of specific urban policies and urban regeneration plans have determined indirectly a hypertrophic evolution and an uncontrolled suburban expansion. Bucharest, the capital of the country has been most affected by these processes determining multilayered space transformation within the city and open space conversion to commercial and residential use, both affecting the urban environment and quality of life of urban-rural communities. The paper focuses on the patterns, the driving forces and the consequences of two opposing processes: socialist forced urbanization vs. post-socialist chaotic urbanization unfolding across the national urban landscape.
At international level, industrial clusters have drawn the attention of researchers and policy-makers through their role in revitalizing local economies and generating regional growth. This article analyses the way in which the Italian footwear and textile companies have transferred the concept of Marshallian district from the “Third Italy” to Western Romania. Empirically, the study explains why and how the Italian shoe and textile-makers have relocated their basic production activities to Timişoara. The analysis reveals the development path of the cluster in Timişoara in the context of important barriers to innovation and lack of visibility for local and regional authorities.
The landscape pattern of the Romanian urban system has experienced significant transformations as a result of the rapid and irreversible changes undertaken after the fall of the communism. In Romania almost 34% of its total population are living in metropolitan areas. The paper is aiming to analyse the landscape-related challenges land-use/land-cover changes in the Romanian metropolitan areas in relation with the main factors involved in the patterns of change: demographic, political and natural. Based on the investigation of relevant cartographic supports of the last 20 years, the authors are making use of different GIS methods in order to conduct a series of complex analysis of the spatial-temporal landscape challenges. The paper will mainly focus on four metropolitan areas considered as case-studies: the capital-city (Bucharest) and the three functional metropolitan areas (Oradea, Iaşi and Constanţa), each metropolitan area is facing different patterns and causes of change.
In 1996, a Canadian company started geological explorations in the Rosia Montana area in the Romanian Carpathians. Two years later it formed a joint-venture with a Romanian state company to exploit what is believed to be Europe´s largest gold reserves. However, as of June 2011 extraction has not started yet and it may never start due to the opposition of numerous NGO´s that have pointed out the environmental, social and economic unsustainability of this mining project. This situation is highly unusual for a country that is hungry for foreign investment especially since up until very recently the state had supported any project promising to revitalize its mining sector. This paper will investigate the changes in the discourses surrounding this mining project taking into consideration the effects of globalization and the effects of Romania´s EU membership after 2007.