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Since it was settled in 200 BC, Romania has been conquered, eliminated, and reborn again. Its history includes periods of rule by the Roman, Bulgarian, and Ottoman empires; as well as the Kingdom of Hungary. But it wasn’t until the 1859 merger of Moldavia and Wallachia that it was finally formed into a nation-state.
Recognized as independent in 1878, Romania was was joined by Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania in 1918. The new state model borrow culturally, educationally and structurally from the West. It became a member of the Warsaw Pact following its partial occupation by the USSR after World War II, and remained a communist country until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
Romania has been member of the European Union since 2007. While still a less economically developed country than its western neighbors, it is growing rapidly. Despite its modernization, however, it possesses one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe, and is home to almost 400 unique animal species. Its capital and largest city, Bucharest, features a mixture of architecture from Neoclassical to Modern, a blend that exudes elegance and sophistication.