The King Is Dead! Long Live the King!

Well, after owning a website named kingofromania dot com for seven long years, I couldn’t exactly ignore the passing of Romania’s fourth and final king, Mihai/Michael earlier this month. You can read a comprehensive obituary in English here and 96 facts about his life in Romanian aici, but I’ve been really hesitant to say anything…

Opening Up a Can of Gold Worms

When we last left the neverending saga of Rosia Montana back in July, it seemed like things had finally come to a peaceful end. The area was going through the process of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and, well, the Romanian government was going to have to cough up around 4.4 billion dollars for…

The Ballad of Mihai Viteazul

The biggest non-Hungarian statue in Cluj-Napoca is of Mihai Viteazul, known as Mihai “Bravu” in the southern regions of Romania and “Michael the Brave” in English. Today, there are statues of Mihai all over Romania and several villages bear his name. His incredible claim to fame is that, in the year 1600, he united all…

A Cat Named Shura

You know, I don’t often write about Moldovan politics. There are a number of reasons for this, the biggest one being that I still don’t feel completely confident about exactly what’s going on. Moldova may be a small country, but it is… very different, and often what you see on the news is just the…

Dirty and Dirtier

You’ve got to love the variety of English-language news reports during the past 24 hours with titles like New prime minister appointed after ruling party ousted their own government. I mean, only in Romania could something like this be seen as “normal” business. But there are some vitally important facts missing from all the international…

Legion of Honor

I see that the beatification of Saint Laura Codruta Kovesi continues apace as the French government just officially awarded her the Legion of Honor (French version ici), the highest civilian distinction that the French government has. I suppose she’s in good company. Other Romanians who have received this very prestigious and completely legitimate honor include:…

The Curious Case of Mihai Tanjala

Hey, does anyone remember the case of Mihail Boldea? Or Omar Hayssam? Oh, just me then? Fine. It’s shocking just how many high-level criminals under investigation by the Romanian authorities are allowed to leave the country. No, they don’t crawl under border fences or use assumed names; they use their own passports, which the vaunted…