Where is located Romania?

     Where is located Romania: in Eastern Europe, in Southeast Europe, in Central Europe, in Europe at all? OK, because the last question seems a bit strange to you, please keep reading.

     We will begin with a true story. A Romanian citizen (name of the country purposely changed) voted with his feet and arrived in the country of his dreams - Switzerland. He met there a nice Swiss girl (actually his future wife, but he didn't knew the end of the story yet), and, during a flowery afternoon of May, the girl proudly presented her freshly discovered boyfriend  to her exact Swiss mother. Because, understandably enough, guy's German was different from the local dialect, quite the first question he was asked by his future mother-in-law was about his country of origin. The question isn't unusual in Switzerland, where about each 6th citizen was at that time a foreigner. To mother's stupefaction, the guy answered that he came from... Romania, at what the poor mother commented, totally confused: "But you know, *we* are Europeans!"  This happened mid 1960s.

   We show below some maps of the eastern Europe, found on the Web, and also publish near to them some classifications of some European countries, that follow criteria like positions related to North, South, East of West of the continent, or geographic criteria like Balkan, Baltic, Caucasus. Please note the different opinions concerning the location of different countries, and eventually try to find out a certain tendency.

Russian and East European Network Information Center (REENIC)

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)

Central Asia

Courtesy of GeographyIQ

Central Europe:
Czech Republic



Eastern Europe:

    Coming back to the above story, just to remind you that it happened during the period of the Cold War and of the so called Iron Curtain, that separated two different kind of societies, the free Western countries from the Socialist Camp. For this reason, for many inhabitants of the Western Europe the limit of the Europe that they knew was at the East of Finland, West Germany, Austria and Italy. This psychological limit was actually more than real, because too few of acquaintances went there or came from there, dead or alive.
    Fortunately, the political situation changed dramatically after the year 1989, and consequently a lot of countries re-appeared on the horizon. Even new names, for along time forgotten, like Croatia of Bosnia, were permanently mentioned in the (always bad) news.

Canadian International Development Agency

- Albania
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Bulgaria
- Croatia
- Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
- Macedonia
- Moldova
- Romania
- Slovenia

Baltic States
- Estonia
- Latvia
- Lithuania

Courtesy of: Canadian International Development Agency

- Armenia
- Azerbaijan
- Georgia

Central Asia
- Kazakhstan
- Kyrgyz Republic
- Tajikistan
- Turkmenistan
- Uzbekistan

Central Europe
- Czech Republic
- Hungary
- Poland
- Slovak Republic





    For this reason some Westerners became interested in what happens "there", and some of them even dared to personally visit these recently liberated countries. This brought with it a certain change of the external limits of Europe too, and many remembered some obscure geography lessons where they were told that actually  the Eastern limit of Europe are marked by the range of the Ural Mountains and the Ural river. Just to mention that these distant places are a bit  more familiar to the author of this story then to to Westerners, among he lives at time, because he was born just there, in Ural.

    And suddenly a strange thing happened -- not only people, but the very center of Europe started to wander to the East too. There were the Czechs, Croats and other Romanians who begun to "pretend" that they never lived in the Eastern Europe. So that, little by little, on the one hand in order to be polite with them, on the other hand facing their strong geographical arguments, the center of Europe started to stepwise drift  toward... Ukraine.

Because the stamp collectors are among those particularly interested in geopolitics, we include a philatelic reference, the largely known US

Scott catalogue, 1999 Edition:

- Lithuania. Location: Northern Europe bordering on the Baltic Sea

- Czechoslovakia. Location: Central Europe.

- Romania. Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering on the Black Sea

- Ukraine. Location: In Southeastern Europe, bordering on the Black Sea

- Poland. Location: Europe between Russia and Germany.

- Russia. Location: Eastern Europe and Northern Asia.

Courtesy of: The East Central European Center

    Why so far away, actually? OK, we'll answer by a hopefully easily understandable "technical" note: A meridian that splits the Europe in two equal parts passes through... Ukraine. One who knows that Switzerland is in the Central Europe and who will try finding out where is the symmetrical point, as referred to the mentioned meridian, in order to find out till where the Central Europe actually extends to the East, will have a big surprise. We had it too - the limit falls somewhere in Caucasus.. Well, not only the times, but also the positions, we are meaning those memorized by our brains, they are changin' too.

Courtesy of: http://www.maps.com/explore/atlas/phy/europe.html

   Please see on the above map a graphical representation for the limits of the Central Europe. The lines painted in this color shows the Western (Portugal) and the Eastern (Ural) limits of Europe, and the line between them, having the same color splits the Europe in two equal parts. Please notice that is passes through Lithuania, Ukraine and Moldova. Optically, the line doesn't seem to be in the middle, but please consider that in this projection of Europe, the continent is seen from the height of Austria, and consequently the Eastern part of Europe is shown compressed. At best, take a look at Europe as shown on the Earth's globe, in order of see the real dimensions.
blue line that starts in Switzerland (a typical Central European country) goes to the line that splits in two the continent and is then prolonged by an approximate same distance to the East. The blue line, parallel to the Ural mountains, demarks the Eastern limit of the Central Europe. At its South part it crosses... Georgia.

   Returning to the question that we have asked in the title (Where is located Romania?), we infer that Romania is clearly located in the Central Europe, and by no means in the Eastern Europe!

    Credits: Many thanks to Dr. Georg Dobrovolny, Forum Ost-West, Berne, Switzerland, for precious insights.

Published: 01/22/2003. Revised: 01/25/03.
Copyright 2003 by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved worldwide.

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