The World Heritage Sites are landmarks officially recognized by UNESCO as being of great cultural significance to the human nation. They can be natural or man-made and represent the beauty of nature or the ingenuity of man.
Romania is home to 7 sites, with a total of 32 monuments, which are:
1. The Painted Churches of Moldavia
The 8 Romanian Orthodox Churches were built between 1487 and 1583 and are located in the Suceava County, in the region of Bukovina.
2. The Dacian Fortresses of Orastie Mountains
Built in the 1st centuries BC and AD, they were used by the Dacian people as protection against the invading Roman troops and served as an important defense point during the Roman-Dacian wars.
3. The Historic Center of Sighisoara
The city of Sighisoara was built by Saxon colonists in the 12th-century and is the birthplace of Vlad III the Impaler. Sighisoara is home to the only inhabited fortress in Europe.
4. The Danube Delta
The second largest river delta in Europe after the Volga Delta, the Danube Delta stretches over 4,152 square km. The area is inhabited by about 20,000 people, with only 3 of the 27 villages having over 500 inhabitants.
5. The Monastery of Horezu
The Monastery of Horezu was founded by Prince Constantin Brancoveanu in 1960 and it earned its place in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to its architectural purity and balance, its religious compositions and its painted decorative walls.
6. The Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania
Transylvania has the highest number of existing fortified churches from the 13th to 16th century. With over 150 of the original 300 still standing, their architectural style varies from one to another, but they all had the same purpose - to protect the locals from the invading armies.
7. The Wooden Churches of Maramures
Close to 100 churches, mainly Orthodox, are part of the Wooden Churches of Maramures. Although not all of them are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, their architectural style is very similar, with slim bell towers at the western end of the building.
Eight of them were included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1999.