Albanian [Gjuha shqipe] is an Indo-European language representing a branch of its own, spoken primarily in Albania (where standard Albanian is an official language) and Kosovo but also in other areas of the Western Balkans as well as in Greece and Italy. It is now written in the Latin script. Its two main varieties are Geg (northern) and Tosk (southern), reflecting the neat geographical division made by the river Shkumbini in the central part of the country. Each variety has its own literary tradition. After World War II the language was standardised on the basis of the Tosk variety (the south being politically dominant). Gheg, an official language in former Yugoslavia, has been revived since the 1990s and is used by most of the Albanian-speaking communities outside Albania. Albanian migrations took place to Greece (12th - 14th century), as well as to southern Italy (15th - 18th centuries to Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Molise, Sicily, Campania) where the linguistic variety is called Arb(ë)resh. Other migrants settled in Romania, Bulgaria (town of Mandrica in Kurdzali) Turkey and Egypt.
The Albanian community in Romania is one of the oldest of the Albanian diaspora. Following the conquest of Dacia, Emperor Trajan brought some Illyrians (of whom the Albanians are the descendants) into this area, with the aim of exploiting the mines found in the Apuseni Mountains of Transylvania. Their presence was first attested in Wallachia by a report drafted by the Habsburg authorities in Transylvania, specifying that 15,000 Albanians had been allowed to cross north of the Danube (1595). In Bucharest, the community's presence was first recorded around 1628. The Albanian national renaissance [Rilindja Kombëtare] inside the Ottoman Empire took place also in Wallachia, as the centre of cultural initiatives taken by Dora d’Istria, Naim Frashëri, Jani Vreto, and Naum Veqilharxhi (the latter published the first ever Albanian primer in Bucharest, in 1844). At the time, several Albanians were active (together with other Balkan communities) in Bucharest's commercial life, where many worked as street vendors. An Albanian school was opened in 1905 in the city of Constanţa. In 1953, the communist authorities suppressed the last Albanian organization in Romania and all the property of the Albanian associations including libraries, archives, national costumes and musical instruments were confiscated.
There are no statistical data available as to the number of Albanian speakers, because this ethnic group has been included in the category “others” both in the 1992 and the 2002 census. The number of the Albanian population in Romania is unofficially estimated at around 10,000. Most members of the community appear to live in Bucharest, while the rest mainly live in larger urban centers such as Timişoara, Iaşi, Constanţa and Cluj Napoca. As regards religion, most Albanian families are orthodox and trace their origins to the area around Korcë. Many other Romanian Albanians adhere to Islam (various studies show that about 3,000 members of the Romanian Muslim Community may in fact be Albanian): that section of the Albanian community is traditionally integrated into the Turk or Tatar groups, which makes its real numbers even harder to assess. The Albanian Cultural Union of Romania [Uniunea Culturală a Albanezilor din România] is active in promoting cultural exhibits, television shows and radio broadcasts, as well as printed articles.In 1999 the Association Liga Albanezilor din România [League of Albanians from Romania, ALAR] was founded in Craiova. It is a Romanian legal body, non-governmental, non-profit, whose goal is the public representation, promotion and defence of the interests of the ethnic Albanians.
Armenian [Hayeren] is a language of the Indo-European family, though its relationship to the other Indo-European varieties is still debated. Together with the Slavic, Baltic and Indo-Iranian languages, Armenian belongs to the so-called Satem-languages. The Armenian alphabet, which is completely phonetically based (every sound has its own letter and each letter represents a single sound), is very old ―it was created for religious and cultural purposes, after the introduction of Christianity to the Armenians in the 4th century. Armenian has more than 60 varieties. Eastern Armenian is the state language of the Republic of Armenia [Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun], where literary Armenian is used in education. The western dialects predominate in the diaspora communities. Of the estimated 7.4 million speakers of Armenian some 5.1 million live in European states and 3.2 million in Armenia, that became independent in 1991 after the break-up of the USSR.
The earliest traces of Armenians in what was later Moldavia date back to 967. Armenians have thus been present in Romania for over a millennium, and have been an important presence as traders since the 14th century: a considerable number of noble families in the Principalities were of Armenian descent. In Bucharest, an Armenian presence was first recorded in the second half of the same century - most likely, immigrants from the Ottoman-ruled Balkans, as well as from the area around Kamianets Podilski and Moldavian towns. Throughout the 19th century, a large part of the Armenian community in Bucharest arrived from Ruse, in present-day Bulgaria. Armenians have a long-standing presence also in Transylvania, where they were even allowed to found their own trading towns (notably Gherla). The Armenian Catholic Vicarate (of the Armenian Rite) is nowadays centered in Gherla. After the Armenian genocide of 1915, Romania was the first state to officially provide political asylum to refugees from the area. They have experienced a cultural revival since the Romanian revolution of 1989.
According to the 2002 Census, there are 1,780 Armenians living in Romania. However, only 721 people have declared Armenian as their mother tongue (almost all of them Armenians), while as many as 976 Armenians indicated the Romanian language. The number Armenian speakers has decreased since 1992 (918), but the intergenerational transmission of the language seems to have increased, albeit slightly. Most Orthodox Armenians live in Bucharest and Constanţa. Under the communist rule, all Armenian schools were closed. Since 1989, there has been an Armenian cultural and political revival in Romania. There is one Armenian church in Bucharest on what is called Strada Armenească ("Armenian Street"). The Armenian school provides for over 120 children, and more than 150 students receive scholarships via the social assistance system created by the Union of Armenians of Romania (UAR). The Armenian Apostolic (Orthodox) community has a number of churches and a monastery in Romania. The church is under the jurisdiction of the Holy Echmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church. UAR manages a publishing house and a typography which have published several books written by or about Armenians and there are plans to publish in the near future the first school books on Armenian language, history and religion. The periodicals Nor Ghiank (in Armenian), Ararat (bimonthly in Romanian) and the semestral Lăcaşuri de cult have been published for 15 years, the latter being financially supported by the Council of National Minorities after the 90s. The Romanian Broadcasting Company produces and broadcasts a programme in Armenian (30 minutes) in its Constanţa studio . UAR constantly organizes cultural events, school and community celebrations. Some personalities of Armenian origin who have had a significant cultural contribution are Dan Barbilian, Vasile Conta, David Ohanesian and Anda Calugareanu. Roman Catholic Armenians use both Armenian and Hungarian in their religious services.
Bulgarian [bălgarski ezik], written in the Cyrillic alphabet, has been the official language of Bulgaria since 1878. The language belongs to the Eastern group of the South Slavonic languages, and shares several grammatical features also with non-Slavonic languages such as Romanian, Greek and Albanian. Standard literary Bulgarian, largely based on the north-eastern dialects, was codified in 1899. The dialects of Bulgarian-speaking communities abroad (including the variety used in Banat) mostly derive from eastern dialects, which have preserved archaic features. The Bulgarian used in Banat ― the only Bulgarian dialect having the status of a literary language, is written in the Latin alphabet (since the community is Catholic) and has undergone considerable linguistic influence from Serbian, Croatian, Hungarian and Romanian. It is a variety belonging to the so-called Paulician dialects (→ Bulgaria, 4.2).
Historically, Bulgarian communities in modern Romania have existed in Wallachia, Northern Dobrujia and Transylvania. However, the only Bulgarian community which has retained its numbers, social integrity and strong ethnic identity is that of the Banat Bulgarians [banatski balgari], a minority which accounts for the bulk of ethnic Bulgarians in Romania. They are a distinct group which settled in the 18th century in the region of Banat, at the time ruled by the Habsburg. After World War I, Banat was divided between Romania, Serbia and Hungary. Unlike most other Bulgarians, Banat Bulgarians are Roman Catholics and descend from groups of Paulicians and Roman Catholics from northern and north-western Bulgaria. They speak a distinctive form of the Eastern Bulgarian, influenced by Serbian, Croatian, Hungarian and Romanian (→ Bulgaria, 4.2). Since the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, many have returned to Bulgaria and founded separate villages there.
According to the 2002 census, there are 8,025 ethnic Bulgarians in Romania, and 6,735 people declaring Bulgarian as their mother tongue while 1,397 declared Romanian. Their numbers have steadily declined since 1930, especially after the exchange of populations between Bulgaria and Romania in 1940, but the level of intergenerational transmission seems high, at least in rural areas. As regards geographical distribution, as many as 6,468 Bulgarians live in the Banat region, the vast majority (5,235) in the Timiş county. Despite their low census number today, Bulgarian culture has exerted a considerable influence on its northern neighbour, particularly in the Middle Ages. In 1992/1993 Bulgarian was studied in some schools in the districts of Bucharest and Giurgiu and in 1999 the Bulgarian School where all subjects are taught in Bulgarian was reopened in Bucharest. Moreover, there are schools in Timiş, Arad and Bucharest where the language of instruction is Bulgarian. Universities have been encouraged to offer candidates the possibility to study the languages and literatures of various minorities and this has led to the creation of a BA programme on Bulgarian at the University of Bucharest. The first reading school book written in Bulgarian using the Cyrillic alphabet was published in Transylvania (Braşov) in 1824, and the Literary Bulgarian Society was founded in Brăila in 1869, which would will become later the Bulgarian Academy. The Bulgarian Union active in Banat publishes the magazine Nasa glass (“Glasul nostru”) which is written in the local Bulgarian dialect. In addition, the Brastvo Community publishes the literary magazine Literaturna Miseli, and the bilingual magazine Luceafărul bulgar/Balgarska zornita. A weekly radio programme in Bulgarian is hosted by radio Timişoara, and twice a month a TV programme in Bulgarian is also broadcast by Arad TV.
Together with Serbian, Slovenian, Bulgarian and Macedonian, Croatian [hrvatski jezik] is a South Slavonic language which is used primarily in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in neighbouring countries where Croats form autochthonous communities and/or are part of the Croatian diaspora. It is sometimes classified as belonging to the Central South Slavic diasystem (also referred to as "Serbo-Croatian") and closely related to Serbian. It employs the Latin script. Some scholars distinguish the Croatian spoken in Romania as a specific dialect within the Serbo-Croatian varieties, the Prizren-Trimok (or Torlak) dialect, which has been structurally influenced by Balkan linguistic elements; it is more often classified as a transitional dialect between the eastern or western groups of South Slavonic languages.
Source: Dialectological Atlas of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, part 3 – 1974
The Croats are a homogenous ethnic minority in Romania, numbering 6,807 people according to the 2002 census (in censuses prior to 1977, they were grouped with Serbians and Slovenes). They mainly live in the southwest of the country, the vast majority (6,273) in Caraş-Severin County. Declared Croatian speakers form a majority in the communes of Carashova and Lupac, where road signs, education and access to justice and public administration are provided in Croatian as well as Romanian. Most Croats in Romania are supposed to be Krashovani [Krašovani], even though only around 200 people declared themselves Krashovani in the census, the rest declaring a more general Croatian ethnicity. Krashovani migration to Banat can be traced to the 1370s when, fleeing the Ottoman onslaught, they moved there from the region around the Timok river (at that time ruled by Bulgaria). Due to political, economic, social and cultural factors, many seem to have started identifying themselves with Croats, i.e. choosing Croatian ethnicity. Krashovani are mostly descendants of the Torlakian inhabitants of what is today eastern Serbia. Some of them originate from the Turopolje region of present-day Croatia and are being referred as Turopoljci. Because of the long-time influence of the Krashovani who speak the Torlakian dialect, the original (Kajkavian) dialect of this group also became Torlakian. Other groups are supposedly Croats from the Franciscan province of Bosna Srebrena. The Krashovani were also considered Bulgarians by some (mainly Bulgarian) scholars in the first half of the 20th century, theirclaims being partially based on the entire Torlakian-speaking Slavic population being regarded as ethnically Bulgarian (during Austro-Hungarian rule, the Krashovani were regarded officially as Bulgarians).
Croatian is the mother tongue of 6,335 people, 6,304 of them also declaring Croatian ethnicity, suggesting that the language is widely used within the community and represents a strong factor of identification. In Romania there are 3 kindergartens and two elementary schools where Croatian is the language of instruction. School books have been published and three more textbooks in Croatian are in the process of being published. Croatian is taught alongside Romanian in the Bilingual Secondary School, Crasova, in the district of Caras-Severin. Approximately 600 pupils studying in Romanian schools have chosen to study their native language (Croatian). Because they became autonomous only at the beginning of the 90s and were traditionally assimilated to the Serbs, Croatians became politically and culturally visible only after 1991. The organization representing the interests of the Croatian minority in Romania is the Union of Croats (UCR), which has its origins in the Karaševski ogranak organization affiliated to the Democratic Union of the Serbs. As an officially recognized ethnic minority, Croats have one seat reserved in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. As regards religious faith, almost all Croats profess to be Roman Catholics. The monthly bilingual magazine Hrvatska grancica is published in Carasova by UCR and is financially supported by the state. There are 6 churches in Romania where the Croats can practice their religion in their mother tongue.
Czech [český jazyk] is a West Slavonic language with about 12 million native peakers. It is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. It is similar to and mutually intelligible with Slovak and, to a lesser extent, to Polish and Sorbian. Varieties of Czech can be described in terms of structural varieties such as standard (literary) Czech, common Czech (not regionally restricted) and dialects. Standard literary Czech ― formed at the beginning of the 19th century (during the National Revival), following up on the Renaissance Czech ― is a fairly archaic Slavonic language and rather estranged from colloquial Czech. Common Czech is a koine based on the speech of Prague and Central Bohemia.
According to the 2002 census, the Czechs in Romania number 3,941. The majority of them live in the south-west of the country, with around 60% of them living in Caraş-Severin County. Czech was indicated as their mother tongue by 3,381 people, almost all of them also declaring Czech ethnicity: like in the case of Croats, the language seems to be a strong element of self-identification. The Democratic Union of the Slovaks and Czechs of Romania (DUSCR) was founded in 1990 as an umbrella organisation of the Czech and Slovak minorities living in Romania. After the division on Czechoslovakia on 31 December 1992, DUSCR continued to exist having regional autonomy both for the Czech and for the Slovak minority. It is mainly a socio-cultural organization, but it also aims to politically represent the two communities in the Romanian Parliament. As an officially-recognised ethnic minority, the Czechs, together with the Slovaks, have one seat reserved in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. The main publication of DUSCR is the monthly magazine Strădaniile noastre (Nase snahy which resumed publication in 1990, after 50 years of absence from the publishing market. Its articles are in Czech and/or Slovak. and are dedicated both to parliamentary issues and to the public at large large public (stories, poetry, and research articles). Approximately 6 books dealing with the Czech and Slovak minorities in Romania are published annually. The Slovak Literary Fund financially supports the publication of works written by Czech and Slovak authors and provides grants for cultural projects, especially for those focussing on the regional issues of the Czechs and Slovaks living in former Yugoslavia, Romania and Hungary. A fully equipped printing-press was brought in from Czechoslovakia in 1991. The Czech community has 4 priests who serve their communities in Romanian. Due to the lack of priests there are several religious specialist cantors [dascăl] who can celebrate Mass.
Greek [Ellinika] represents an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It is spoken by approximately 20 million people, about 14 million of which living mainly in Greece and Cyprus, and the rest worldwide by the members of the Greek diaspora. Standard Modern Greek (SMG), the official language of Greece, was previously known as dimotiki [common language], the variety that had coexisted for a long time in a diglossic situation with katharevousa [purified language]. Dimotiki was used in everyday interaction, while katharevousa (closely related to ancient Greek) was reserved for literary and official purposes. In the late 1970s Greece adopted SMG its an official language used in administration, education and the media.
The Greek presence in what is now Romania dates back as far as the apoikiai [colonies] and emporia [trade stations] founded in and around Dobruja, strarting from the 7th century BC. The colonies prospered until being briefly subjugated in various forms by Burebista (late 1st century BC). Immediately after, and for the following centuries, they were stripped of their privileges by their new Roman masters, and followed the Roman Empire into its crises. The Byzantine Empire was a living presence north of the Danube, maintaining a cultural hegemony over the lands virtually until its disappearance. After the fall of the Empire, the rulers of Moldavia and Wallachia often took on the patronage of many Greek-proper cultural institutions such as several monasteries on Mount Athos. In time, most Greeks lost their specific identity and became fully integrated. After 1918, the Greek community was very prosperous and maintained its own specific cultural institutions. Greeks had their schools, churches cinemas, social institutions and banks. They attracted a new wave of arrivals when Greece was hit by the Civil War, in the late 1940s. This situation was addressed by Communist Romania, with the properties of most organizations and many individuals being confiscated.
According to the Romanian census of 2002, the Greek community numbered 6,472 people, mostly living in the county of Tulcea and the Bucharest municipality. There are Greeks also in Constanta, Braila and Galati. Greek has been declared as their mother tongue by 4,170 people, the vast majority of them also declaring themselves to be Greeks. The Hellenic Union of Romania (HUR) was founded in 1989. It is the organization representing the Greek minority of Romania and includes members from the communities in Argeş, Bârlad, Braşov, Brăila, Bucharest, Calafat, Cluj-Napoca, Constanţa, Craiova, Galaţi, Giurgiu, Iaşi, Izvoarele, Oneşti, Piatra Neamţ, Prahova, Roman, Sibiu, Sulina, Târgovişte, Tulcea and Turnu-Severin. Beginning in 1993, like other national minorities organizations the Hellenic Union has been supported by the Romanian state and has a representative in the Parliament of Romania. The Union promotes the Greek language, culture, civilization, customs and the Hellenic traditions. Annually, two major events take place: the Greek language National Competition and the Festival of Hellenism in Romania, which bring together all the territorial Hellenic communities. At school, classes have been established where subjects are taught only in Greek, as well as mixed classes in Bucharest, Brăila and Constanţa ( beginning in 1999) where Greek is taught in parallel with Romanian. HUR organizes annually cultural manifestations, as well as festivals of Greek music, dance and poetry. From 1993 HUR has published the bilingual magazine Speranţa and, from 1999, the monthly newspaper Dialog. HUR also published the following two studies about the origins of Hellenism in Romania: "Comunităţile greceşti din România in secolul al 19th-lea" by Cornelia Papacostea-Diamantopolu, and "Presa de limba greacă din România în veacul al XIX-lea" by Olga Cicanci. The national Greek television (broadcasting from Athens) can be picked up in Romania; other TV programmes are broadcast via satellite by TV stations in Greece. There are no sufficient data concerning the social use of the language and within the family, but some sources indicate that about 50% of parents speak Greek to their children. The usual language of courtship appears to be Romanian.
Italian [italiano] is a Romance language, the official language of the Republic of Italy, of the Vatican City and of the Republic of San Marino, as well as one of the official languages in Switzerland. It was an official language in Malta until 1936 (→ Malta, 3.1). In Italy, where it is spoken by almost the entire population approx. 60 million according to the data of the latest Italian census in 2001), Italian is often used alongside the so-called “dialects” which ― historically speaking ― are mainly dialects of Latin and not of Italian, having evolved in parallel after the collapse of the Roman Empire. It is in Italy, more than elsewhere in contemporary Europe, that the problem of distinguishing between “languages” and “dialects” arises (Benincà and Price, 1998).
Italian Romanians are people of Italian descent who reside or have moved to Romania. The territory of today's Romania has been part of the Italians' (especially Genoese and Venetians) trade routes on the Danube since at least the 13th century. They founded several ports on the Danube, including Vicina (near Isaccea), Sfântu Gheorghe, (Giurgiu) and Calafat. They are an ethnic minority in Romania, fairly dispersed throughout the country, even though there is a relatively higher number of them in the Municipality of Bucharest and in the western parts of the country (particularly in the Timiş and Arad counties). The number of Italians present in Romania increased considerably [as] from the 18th century, when they arrived as construction workers, painters, sculptors, designers or brick layers. More recently, Italians came to Romania from regions such as Friuli and Veneto for work-related reasons, with many of them remaining in Romania. Although a small community, the Italian Romanians are constantly trying to preserve, transfer and promote their traditional values. There are numerous Italians in the communes of Clopotiva, Rau de Mori, Santamaria, Orlea from the Haţeg region. In recent years many have come to Romania to do business and to buy land.
According to the 2002 census (in the 1992 census the Italian minority was included in the category “Other”) 3,288 people declared their Italian ethnicity, although unofficial estimates indicate the presence of higher numbers (approx. 9,000). According to the census data, there are at least 2,531 people having Italian also as their mother tongue, while 776 of those declaring their Italian ethnicity consider themselves as native speakers of Romanian. In recent years, the number of Italians seems to have increased substantially. In November 2007, 12,000 Italians were estimated to live in the Timişoara area. About 3,000 square kilometres of land (2% of the agricultural land of Romania) has been bought by Italians. Italian is taught as a second language only in some secondary and high schools of Romania. After 1990, most Italians became members of the Italian Community of Romania, an organization founded at Iaşi in 1990 with the aim of preserving the Italian national identity. Among the events organized by the Italian Community two are the celebration of Italy’s National Day on 2 June and the Festival of the Italian Minority. As an officially-recognised ethnic minority, Italians have one seat reserved in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. Italians are represented in the Romanian Parliament by the Association of Italians in Romania (Asociaţia Italienilor din România). The Italian community publishes the monthly bilingual magazine "Columna" as well as some occasional volumes: "Vicenzo Puschiasis - sculptor în piatră" by Giovana and Gheorghe Munteanu (Piatra Neamţ), "Vademecum sentimental - istoricul italienilor din zona Haţeg" by Eugenio di Gaspero, "Relaţii culturale italo-romane de-a lungul secolelor" by Gloria Gabriela Radu (Târgovişte), "Povestiri cu italieni" by Gina Modesto Ferrarini (Bucharest). Ethnic Italians have been present in the public life of Romania, as for example the literary critic Adrian Marino, the actors Ileana Stana Ionescu and Mişu Fotino, the film director Sorana Coroama-Stanca,the painter Angela Tomaselli, the composer Horia Moculescu and the sports commentator Cristian Ţopescu.
Macedonian [makedonski] belongs to the Eastern group of the South Slavonic languages and shares a high degree of mutual intelligibility with Bulgarian and Serbian ― forming indeed form a continuum with Bulgarian and Serbian dialects. Macedonian has several grammatical features in common also with such non-Slavonic languages as Romanian, Greek and Albanian (which together form the so-called Balkan “Sprachbund”). As a standard language, it developed on the basis of the Titov Veles-Prilep-Bitola west-central dialect group. In 1944 Macedonian was declared the official language of the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and was later standardised as a literary language. It is written in the Cyrillic alphabet. It is now the official language of the Republic of Macedonia and is spoken by approx. 2 million people worldwide. In Bulgaria, Macedonian is mostly considered as a dialect of Bulgarian, while in Greece it is often referred to as a Greek dialect.
The history of the Macedonian minority in Romania can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when the region of Macedonia was part of the Ottoman Empire and many inhabitants of the region moved to the Romanian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia. The first document showing a flow of Macedonians to Romania dates back to 1300. In the Timiş district, a village with the name "Macedonia" (Machidonia in Romanian) was mentioned in documents dating from 1332-1337, although there is no evidence about the ethnic affiliation of the population of this village. After the Greek Civil War, thousands of Greek and ethnic Macedonians fled Greece, many finding refuge in Romania. A large evacuation camp was established in the Romanian town of Tulghes. Ethnic Macedonians of Romania are a recognised minority enjoying full minority rights.
Accoording to the 2002 census, 731 Macedonians lived in Romania, although unofficial estimates provide higher figures. There are concentrations of Macedonians in Bucharest, Galaţi and Ploieşti. Even though the number of Macedonians in Romania is very low, the organizations representing this minority are very active. The Democratic Association of Macedonians in Romania [Asociaţia Democratică a Macedonenilor din România] (AMR) has been an ethnic political party since 2000 and a member of the National Minorities Council along with all the other ethnic organizations in Romania since 2001. The goal of AMR is to represent, promote and protect the interests of the Macedonian ethnic group in Romania, as well as its culture, language and history. Their activities are focused on raising an awareness of the community’s identity and on the contribution of the Macedonians to public life. AMR organizes seminars, debates and round tables among other activities. The party has a seat in the Chamber of Deputies. There are two other Political Parties, Asociaţia Macedonenilor din România and Asociaţia Culturală a Macedonenilor din România. The Macedonian Publishing House, founded in 2001, has been continuously publishing materials on this ethnic minority in Romania, as well as books written by or about Macedonians. There are also other cultural groups and institutions that are worth mentioning: “The Little Macedonian”, a theatre company founded in 2001 which has already won many prizes; the poets and novelists’ association “Alexandru Macedonski”, founded in 2001; the plastic arts circle, founded in 2002, ; the vocal-instrumental ensemble Iliden 2002, founded in 2002. Worth mentioning are also the dance ensemble called “The Macedonian” (founded in 2002) and the “Macedonian Rays” (2003) in the Timiş and Arad counties.
Polish [język polski] is a West Slavonic language (like Czech, Slovak and Sorbian) within the Indo-European family, whose earliest written evidence can be found in Latin documents from the 9th century onwards. The language emerged in a broadly standardised form based on the dialects of both the Wielkopolska and Małopolska areas, with influences from Czech. Polish, which has always used the Roman alphabet and is the official language of Poland, is spoken by large minorities outside Poland who tend to keep a strong Polish identity, and to develop specific language varieties borrowing and adapting from the local languages, as for example in Lithuania or in the Těšín region (Czech Republic).
The first evidence of the Poles’ presence onthe Romanian territory can be found as early as the 13th century, when Polish stoneworkers were involved in the building of numerous places of worship in Bistrita, Sic, Unguras and so on. The expansion of Catholicism in Moldavia brought about the founding of the Siret catholic episcopacy. In a political attempt to imitate the influence of Hungary over the Romanian provinces, the rulers of Moldavia established tight relations of friendship with the Poles by offering them significant privileges and, in some cases, even land. After Poland was divided for the first time, in 1772, many Poles came to Moldavia, but the Austrian authorities stopped their migration very soon. A new wave of Polish immigrants came to Romania after the defeat of the Polish insurrection of November 1830. Two to three thousand Polish cavalry soldiers who used to be under general Dwernicki’s command settled in Transylvania and Moldavia. During the 1848 revolution, which led to the formation of the first Romanian government in Bucharest, the Poles started migrating to Wallachia. As regards Bukovina, new Polish immigrants arrived there in the early 19th century, when the region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as was a significant portion of Poland. A sizeable Polish community was also present in Bucharest (3,ooo people). After World War I, Poland regained its independence and many Poles returned to their country. The Polish National Council in Bucovina, founded in 1918, turned into the Polish National Council Counsel in Romania (1925) and, in 1926, the Polish Union in Romania. The most numerous Polish colony of Romania was founded in the 1920s in Valea Jiului, first in Petrila and then in Lupeni. In 1928 the Polish community was made up of about 1,000 families, had a Roman Catholic church, a school and a public library. Although forming a very closely-knit community, Poles played a significant role in the political and social Romanian life. The German invasion of Poland which started World War II caused the greatest wave of Polish migrants ever toarrive in Romania (according to some of the sources, about 80,000 - 100,000). It was in this period that many associations were born and subsequentlyunited under the United Polish Association in Romania. As many as 32 schools in which 3,126 students were studying at different levels were able to publish books and magazines in their own language. Two more waves of Poles came in 1940 and 1944 because of the Russian oppression. After 1947 there have been no significant alterations to the structure of the Polish minority in Romania. The “Lecture Society”, founded in Suceava in 1903 to represent the Polish community in Romania, was dissolved in 1950.
In 1939 there were about 80,000 Poles living in Romania, but only about 11,000 remained after 1949, whenr Romania lost Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina (the most important Polish community lived in Czemiowce, now in Ukraine). The 2002 census indicates 3,559 people having Polish ethnicity (though the representatives of the Polish Union in Romania Dom Polski estimate a much higher presence, i.e. about 10,000 people), mainly living in the Suceava county. Polish communities are present also in the counties of Bucharest, Hunedoara and Timiş. There are even three exclusively Polish villages: Solonetu Nou (Nowy Sołoniec), Plesa (Plesza) and Poiana Micului (Pojana Mikuli). In the 2002 census, Polish has been declared as their mother tongue by 2,690 people, the majority of whom (2,604) also declaring Polish ethnicity, while 838 Poles have declared Romanian as their mother tongue. Poles in Romania form an officially recognised national minority, have one seat in the Chamber of Deputies and access to Polish elementary schools and cultural centres (known as "Polish Houses"). The Dom Polski Union (http://www.dompolski.ro/) has its headquarters in Suceava and branches in Bucharest, Constanţa, Iaşi. It has been publishing a monthly bilingual magazine since 1991, which offers information about the culture and history of the Poles. Every year (September) it organizes “The Days of Polish Cuture” which include scientific symposiums, artistic exhibitions and folklore festivals. Twice a year, in May and November, national reciting contests, in which many children and teenagers take part, are organized.
Russian [russkij jazyk] is an East Slavonic language of the Indo-European family, closely related to Ukrainian and Belorussian. Written in the Cyrillic alphabet, it is mainly spoken in the Russian Federation and former territories of the USSR. With the introduction of Christianity in the late 10th century, Russian literature developed from translations of the Orthodox liturgy into Old Church Slavonic; as Russia took a leading role within the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 16th century, Russian Church Slavonic (still used for liturgical purposes) superseded other Church Slavonic varieties. In the 17th century Russian gradually emerged as a national language under the reign of the Tsars. Owing a great deal to the efforts of the polymath Lomonosov and his Russian Grammar (1755), modern standard Russian was established by the time of Pushkin (1799-1837) and its written language became closer to the spoken norm. Since the Romanov Empire — and later on in the USSR — Russian has been in close contact with over a hundred other languages, many of which are genetically unrelated to Russian; today’s Russian speech community is multiethnic and dispersed over many states.
Lipovans or Lippovans (Lipoveni in Romanian) are people mostly of Russian ethnic origin who settled in the Danube Delta in Tulcea (a county situated in eastern Romania in the Dobruja region) and in the south-western part of Odessa Oblast (in Budiak) as well as in Chernivtsi Oblast in Ukraine and in two villages in north-eastern Bulgaria. They fled Russia as dissenters from the mainline Russian Orthodox Church, and have maintained strong religious traditions that pre-date the reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church undertaken during the reign of Patriarch Nikon. These “Old believers” migrated to several places (→ Russian in Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland), but then many of them settled in the Danube Delta (Dobruja) because they were good fishermen. The Lipovans preserved their language, their religion and their traditions in spite of ethnic divisions. During the five centuries in which Dobruja belonged to the Ottoman Empire, the Lipovans’ church was officially recognized and enjoyed considerable freedom. After the Treaty of Berlin (1878), Dobruja was acquired and the Romanian authorities encouraged the re-settlement of Romanians in the region. During World War II many Lipovans were forced to leave their homes because of their ethnicity. The existence of those rather large Lipovan and Russian communities was not recognized by the Romanian communist regime, but after the 1989 Revolution which lead to the fall of the Communist Party in Romania this situation changed.
According to the 2002 Census, there are 35,791 Russians/Lipovenians living in Romania, representing 0.16% of the entire population. The majority (over 25,000) lives in the south-east area and especially in the Tulcea county (16,350) but there are also numerous Lipovans in the counties of Constanţa, Iaşi, Suceava, Brăila and in Bucharest. Only 29,246 have declared Russian to be their mother tongue, with as many as 7,382 Russians declaring Romanian, possibly suggesting a degree of linguistic assimilation. Although there are no sufficient data, the degree of language endogamy in general seems to have decreased, and Russian is less used in the family. The Russian Lipovans pay special attention to education in their mother tongue, even though the number of students is not high. At the elementary level there are only 1,800 pupils in 24 schools. The cultural activity of this community is very intense, new books on their traditions and history being printed every year. The Russian Lipovans Community [Comunitatea Ruşilor Lipoveni] (http://www.crlr.ro/) was founded in 1990, its main goal being the preservation of their ethnic identity. The bilingual newspaper Zorile has been constantly published since November 1990 and the cultural bilingual magazine Kitej-Grad has been published in Iaşi and been available to the Lipovan minority since September 1998. The Russian Lipovans’ Community organizes Russian language contests for students every year, national dance and song festivals, seminars and debates concerning their religion.
Ruthenian [rusyn’skyj jazyk] is an East Slavonic language of the Indo-European family. Along with Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian, Ruthenian (also referred to as Rusyn) is generally considered to be a dialect of Ukrainian or a transitional dialect of Ukrainian and Slovak, but it is an official language in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Serbia). Two Ruthenian dialects can be distinguished: Carpatho-Ruthenian, which is close to Russian and Ukrainian, and Pannonian-Ruthenian, which is close to West Slavonic and in particular to Slovak. The 2002 Romanian census counted 61,091 people of related Ukrainian ethnicity, some of whom may be Ruthenians/Rusyns (though they did not declare themselves as such). Members of this group seem to live primarily in northwestern Romania, with the largest populations to be found in the Satu Mare and Maramureş counties. As an officially-recognised ethnic minority, Ruthenians/Rusyns have one seat reserved in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. There are no data available as to language group membership or use.
Serbian [srpski] is a South Slavonic language. Standard Serbian is based on the Shtokavian dialect, like modern Croatian and Bosnian, with which it is mutually intelligible, and was previously unified under the standard known as Serbo-Croatian. Together with Croatian, Serbian has retained more common Slavic elements in its vocabulary than other Slavonic languages. The Orthodox Serbs use the Cyrillic script.
Slavs, the ancestors of Serbs, started settling on the Romanian territories in the early Middle Ages. Ottoman pressure forced members of several South Slavonic communities to seek refuge in Wallachia. These groups are, however, hard to distinguish one from another in early Wallachian references, as the term "Serbs" is regularly applied to all Southern Slavs. Between the first half of the 14th century and the first half of the 16th century also many Serbian scholars migrated to Wallachia and Moldavia. Migrations continued after the Turkish conquest and Serbs soon became the majority of the population in the Rasca region in Crişana. In the region of Banat there was a sizeable community of wealthy Serbs, who influenced the policy of the Serbian people during the XVIIIth century and played an important role in the founding and the activity of their most important national institutions, Matita Srpska. The Serbs in Romania became even more culturally active in the second half of the 18th century and in the 19th century. The Serbs in Banat played a prominent role also during the 1848 Revolution, when they fought for their independence along with volunteers from Serbia. They took part in all the major events that concerned their nation, such as the birth of the United Serbian Youth (1866) and the founding of two political parties, the Radical and the Liberal parties (1887). Having contributed to the liberation of the Slavic countries in the South (the Yugoslavians) during World War I, the Serbs in Romania designated their own representatives at the Great Popular Assembly on November 25th 1918 when the three regions of Banat, Racita and Baranie were transferred to the Serbian Kingdom. The borders of Romania with the Serbian Kingdom were established during the peace conference in Paris (August 1919) when most of the Banat was awarded to to Romania. There were more than 50,000 Serbs living there who benefited from the international treaties signed by both countries. Shortly after the end of the communist regime in Romania, the Democratic Union of the Serbs in Romania was founded (19th February 1990 ), its objectives being the revitalisation of the cultural activities of the Serbian community and the promotion of Serbian literature and traditions.
According to the 2002 census, there are 22,561 Serbs in Romania (whereas the 1992 census recorded 29,408 Serbs). They mostly live in western Romania, the Banat region and the Timiş and Caras-Severin counties in particular. They are an absolute majority in the municipalities of Pojejena and Svinita (Mehedinţi County), and a relative majority in the municipality of Socol. 20,411 Serbs have declared Serbian as their mother tongue. Most of the Serbs in Romania are Orthodox Christians, the vast majority belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church Eparchy of Timişoara, while those living in the Sviniţa are Old Believers. There is a prominent but mostly historical Roman Catholic minority. Reference should also be made to the Krashovani, a population speaking the Torlakian dialect (→ Croatian), inhabiting the Caraş-Severin county, where they are the majority of population in the municipalities of Carasova (84.60%) and Lupac (93.38%). The Krashovani's origin can be traced back to the region around the Timok River in eastern Serbia, from where they migrated to Banat in the 14th century. However, their Roman Catholic religion has more recently set them apart from Orthodox Serbs, and most of the Krashovani nowadays declare themselves as Croats in censuses. In the school year of 2002~2003 there were 32 Serbian-language schools and high schools in which 788 students were receiving their education (about 0.02 of the total). Among the Serbian schools in Romania, there are the language secondary school "Dositei Obradovici", Timişoara (Timiş) , as well as the Industrial School Campus in Moldova Nouă (Caraş Severin), a secondary school with Serbian-language departments. The Union of Serbians in Romania [Uniunea Sârbilor din România] (USR) helps the local authorities to organize and run the schools of the Serbian community, especially the “Dositei Obradovici” High-School in Timişoara. A very important event worth mentioning is the first meeting of the Serbian minorities in Europe organized in October 1998 by USR together with the International Union of the Serbs in Timişoara. The Serbs Union in Romania has about 30 offices and 5,500 members. Religion plays an important role in the Serbian minority in Romania’s life, this being demonstrated by the presence of numerous Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries on the territory. The most important monasteries are: Sveti Đorđe, which was founded in 1485 by the Serbians and rebuilt in the 18th century; Šemljug, which was founded in the 15th century; Sveti Simeon, Bazjaš, Bezdin, Zlatica, Kusić and Sveti Đurađ. USR publishes a weekly newspaper (Nasa Reci) and a literary magazine (Knejizevni Zivot). It also organizes a Serbian dance and music “marathon” (every year, in April), and a music festival (in May).
Slovak [slovenský jazyk] is a West Slavonic language like Czech, Polish and Sorbian. It uses the Latin alphabet with four diacritics. The earliest written evidencecan be found in Latin or Old Church Slavonic manuscripts, dating from the 10th –13th centuries. Standardisation was first attempted only in the late 18th century by Anton Bernolák (1762-1813), a Catholic priest. In the 19th century, parallel to the rise of Slovak nationalism, L’udovít Štúr (1815-56) developed a standard grammar which is basically in use to this day. Slovak and Czech were standardised on the basis of different dialects on the Czecho-Slovak dialectal continuum, where they remain mutually intelligible languages.
The Slovaks settled down in the present territory of Romania in different periods. Their first presence in Romania can be traced back to the second half of the 18th century, when they settled in the regions of Arad and Banat, as well as in the mountainous regions of Bihor and Sălaj, in the mining areas of Satu Mare and Maramureş, and in north-western Bukovina. All these regions were under Habsburgic domination at that time. Slovaks then arrived in the regions of Arad and Banat in 1747 when they founded Mocrea. In 1803 a large group of Slovak evangelists colonized Nadlac, moving on to other places such as Butin, Vucova, Brestovat etc. The migratory process continued with the arrival of Roman Catholic Slovaks in 1790 when new localities (Budoi, Varzari) were established. The Slovak community living in Romania experienced significant changes between 1946-1948, and with the setting up of the communist regime, when many of them left (approximately 20,000) for Czechoslovakia, depopulating the local communities. Most teachers who had taught in Slovakia before migrating left Romania at the beginning of this period but returned in 1945 after the setting up of the Slovak high school in Nadlac. In the 60s many of the Slovaks from Bihor and Sălaj migrated to the regions of Arad and Banat for economic reasons, a migratory process which led to the assimilation of the Slovaks living in small localities and the closing down of the schools where Slovak was taught as a native language. On the other hand, the number of Slovaks present in cities such as Arad, Timişoara and Resita grew significantly. After 1989 the status of the Romanian Slovaks changed to a great extent. New bodies were created and some older ones were revived: the Uniunea Democrata a Slovacilor şi Cehilor din România (UDSCR) was set up in Nadlac, new cultural societies were created and the institution of the Slovak evangelic archpriest was brought back to life. In this same period four magazines in Slovak started being published. After the 1989 Revolution the number of Slovak people living in Romania continued to decrease, due to the fact that many young people chose to work in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. The official language used in religious ceremonies by the Slovak minority is Slovakian.
According to the 2002 census, The Slovaks as an ethnic minority number 17,226 people. They mainly live in western and north-western Romania, with the largest populations found in the Bihor and Arad counties (7,370 and 5,695 people respectively). The largest concentration of ethnic Slovaks can be found in the town of Nadlac (Arad County), where they make up almost half of the population. The number of those declaring Slovak as their mother tongue is 16,027, which suggests that the language is a significant element of identification for the community. As an officially recognized ethnic minority, Slovaks, together with Czechs, have one seat reserved in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. The Slovak minority living in Romania has access to education in their mother tongue in 2 high schools. Moreover, Slovakia provides annually 10-20 scholarships for the Slovak minority students graduating from the two high schools in Romania "Josef Gregor Tajovsky" in Nadlac and "Josef Kozacek" in Budoi. There is also a programme initiated by the Slovak Ministry of Culture which provides retraining courses for the Slovak teaching staff working in Romania. The constant research activity carried out by the cultural society "Ivan Krasko" resulted in the publication of Atlasul Cultural al Slovacilor din România [The Cultural Atlas of the Slovaks in Romania], an ethnographic and cultural atlas which has more than 1000 pages and 600 maps. Translations (from and into Slovakian) also play an important part in the activity of this society. The magazine "Oglinzi paralele" focuses on contemporary Slovak and Romanian literatures. As regards theatre, five plays selected from the Romanian and Slovak drama are staged in Slovak in Nadlac annually. At the national level, UDSCR organizes every two years the Festivalul folcloric slovac [The Slovak Folklore Festival] and the Festivalul folcloric ceh [The Czech Folklore Festival] in the places inhabited by Slovak and Czech minorities.
(Crimean) Tatar [Qırımtatarca] is a nort-west Turkic language of the Altaic family, the language of the Crimean Tatars. It is spoken in Crimea, Central Asia (mainly in Uzbekistan) and, as a result of the Crimean Tatar diasporas, also in Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria. The formation of the Crimean Tatar dialects began with the first Turkic invasions of Crimea and ended during the period of the Crimean Khanate. However, the official written languages of the Crimean Khanate were Chagatai and Ottoman Turkish. After their Islamization, Crimean Tatars wrote using a Persian-Arab script. In 1876, the different Turkish Crimean dialects were merged into one standard written language by İsmail Gaspıralı. In order not to break the link between the Crimeans and the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, a preference was given to the Oghuz dialect of the Yalıboylus. In 1928, this standard variety was reoriented towards the middle dialect and its alphabet was replaced by the Uniform Turkic Alphabet based on the Latin alphabet. The Uniform Turkic Alphabet was itself replaced in 1938 by a modified Cyrillic alphabet, which from the 1990s, is in the process of being replaced again by a Latin-based version, though the Cyrillic alphabet is still widely used (mainly in published literature and newspapers). The current Latin-based Crimean Tatar alphabet is the same as the Turkish alphabet with two additional characters: Ñ ñ and Q q.
Tatars, of Islamic faith, have been present on the territory of today's Romania since the 13th century. Together with the Turks, they are the main Islamic presence in Romania. They first reached the mouths of the Danube in the mid-13th century, at the height of the power of the Golden Horde. In 1241, under the leadership of Kadan, they crossed the Danube, conquering the region. The Golden Horde began to lose its influence after the wars of 1352-1359 but toward the end of the 16th century about 30,000 Nogai Tatars from the Budjak region were brought to Dobrudja. In 1596, 40,000 Tatars settled in the region between the Danube and the sea under the leadership of one of the Han’s brothers. Crimean Tatars were brought to Dobrudja by the Ottomans following the increasing power of the Russians in the region. However, after the independence of Romania in 1877-1878, between 80,000 and 100,000 Crimean Tatars moved to Anatolia, a migration which continued also in the following years. Consequently, the number of Tatars in Northern Dobruja decreased considerably.
According to the 2002 census, 23,935 people declared their nationality as Tatar, most of them being Crimean Tatars living in the south-east (Constanţa county). whereas 21,272 people declared to be Tatar native speakers. The Nogai component of the Tatar population is not separately enumerated in Romanian censuses. Most Nogai emigrated to Turkey but it is estimated that some still live in Dobrudja, notably in the town of Mihail Kogălniceanu and the villages of Lumina, Valea Dacilor and Cobadin. Among Tatars, endogamous marriages seem to be very frequent, but there are no data as to language transmission. There is a Tatar Union which has contributed to creating a network of students attending Islamic religion classes held in Tatar. A programme was also initiated with the purpose of offering teachers the possibility to perfect their knowledge of Tatar. In recent years the Education Commission of the Tatar Union has been working at a strategy to improve the situation of Tatar culture and traditions. In 1989 the Turkish-Muslim Democratic Union of Romania was founded, which then divided into the Turkish Democratic Union of Romania and the Democratic Union of Turkish-Muslim Tatars of Romania. In 1995 the Turkish- Tatar Federation was finally established. The Tatar Union publishes books written by classic and contemporary authors as well as the monthly periodicals Karadeniz ("Marea Neagră"), Kadinlar dunyasi (“Lumea femeii”) and Cas (Tînărul"). The publication in 1996 of the ''Dicţionar tãtar - turc - român'' ( Tatar- Turkish – Romanian dictionary) by Kerim Altay which includes 10,500 entries is also orth mentioning. The National Broadcasting Company broadcasts programmes in Tatar from its studio in Constanţa and Radio Vacanţa (Radio Holiday) station. The Tatars living in Dobrudja created their own culture inspired by their history and traditions. The Nawrez and Kidirlez national holidays and the Kurban Bayrami and Ramazan Bayrami religious festivals are well known in the Turkish and Tatar communities. In an attempt to preserve their traditions, the Tatar minority founded artistic groups in Valu lui Traian, Constanţa, Medgidia, Mangalia, Mihail Kogãlniceanu and organized their own festivals (e.g. the festival of Turkish-Tatar costumes, dances and songs). Moreover, the representatives of the Tatar minority in Romania have constantly participated with programmes including music and poetry in the “Proetnica Festival” organized in Sighişoara. Both the Tatar and Turkish minorities share their religious institutions and practice their religion in their own mother tongue.
Turkish [Türkçe] belongs to the Turkic group of the Altaic family of languages. Standard Turkish is based on the Istanbul variety. The language was essentially written using the Arabic script (although there is a body of documents in the Armenian, Greek, Hebrew, Cyrillic and other alphabets) until 1928, when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk ordered the introduction of the Roman alphabet. The script reform — also motivated by the need to bridge the gap between the literary language and the vernacular variety, as well as by the inability of the Arabic script to reflect the Turkish vowel system — was followed by a language reform that sought to purify the language from all Arabic and Persian elements, in keeping with a general break with itsIslamic past. The roots of the language can be traced to Central Asia, with its first written records dating back nearly 1,200 years. To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkish—the immediate precursor of today's Turkish—spread along the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. In 1928, one of Atatürk’s reforms in the early years of the Republic of Turkey was to replace the Ottoman alphabet with a phonetic variant of the Latin alphabet.
The first official accounts of the presence of Turks on the Romanian territory date back to 1264 when, following the domestic feudal battles fought in the Selgiucid Anatolian Empire, a group of 12,000 soldiers settled down in Dobrudja. They were sent by the Byzantine Emperor Mihai Paleologul to defend the Byzantine Empire against foreign invasions. As the entire Balkan Peninsula became an integral part of the emerging Ottoman Empire, Wallachia became engaged in frequent confrontations and, in the final years of Mircea the Elder’s reign, became Ottoman in 1415. Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldavia, led a rebellion and defeated the Turks in 1475. However, after his death (1504) Moldavia was once again conquered by the Turks. In 1595 Michael the Brave, Prince of Wallachia, defeated the Turks and briefly united Wallachia and Moldavia. However, eventually the union was destroyed and the Turks regained control of Wallachia at the beginning of the 17th century. The Treaty of Adrianople, which settled the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, established the provinces' independence from Turkish control. In the Treaty of Paris (1856), which ended the Crimean War, Moldavia and Wallachia were subjected again to Turkish control. Evidence of the numerous contacts with the Ottoman Empire along the centuries and the constant Turkish migration to Romania is provided by the large number of villages and small towns in Dobrudja having Turkish names. As late as 1945 the language of formal education was still Turkish, but this changed during the communist regime. In 1990 the Turks united into the Democratic Union of the Turks of Romania (DTUR), whose main aim is to revive and pass on the cultural and traditional values of the ethnic Turks.
The Turks are an ethnic minority in Romania, numbering 32,098 people according to the 2002 census (0.14% of the total population). The number of those declaring Turkish as their mother tongue is 28,115, almost all of them (27,668) Turks. The majority of Turks live in the south-east, in the historical region of Northern Dobrudja and particularly in the Constanţa county where they number 24,246. There are Turks also in the counties of Tulcea, Bucharest, Călăraşi, and Brăila. As an officially-recognised ethnic minority, Turks have one seat reserved for them in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. The Turks have always given a great importance to the quality of education their children have access to. Throughout the years, apart from the primary schools in Babadag, from 1891 there has been a training centre for teachers and educators in Medgidia. Education and teaching have a predominantly religious character, schools being frequently associated with religion. In the interwar period, magazines and newspapers were published in Osman Turk and also in bilingual editions. At present, DUTR publishes the newspaper Haksesand and volumes about the traditions and history of the Turkish minority. Together with the Department for Interethnic Relations, the Local Council of Constanţa and the “Dunărea de Jos” Research, Development, Educational and Research Centre, from 2002 DUTR organizes the Festival “Communitarian Spring”, an event including dances, workshops and sport competitions to which all the minorities living in the region can participate. In addition, DUTR Galaţi organizes a euroregional interethnic festival and coordinates the activity of Elvan Publishing House.
Yiddish (literally "Jewish") arose in the middle ages as a trade language of Jews, with urban varieties of Middle High German as the dominant component and with influences from Semitic and Slavonic languages. It is written in the Hebrew alphabet. The language originated in the Ashkenazi culture that developed from about the 10th century in the Rhineland and then spread to central and Eastern Europe and eventually to other continents. The term "Yiddish" did not become the most frequently used designation in the literature of the language until the 18th century. For a significant portion of its history, Yiddish was the primary spoken language of the Ashkenazi Jews and once spanned a broad dialect continuum from Western Yiddish to three major groups within Eastern Yiddish. Eastern and Western Yiddish are most markedly distinguished by the extensive inclusion of words of Slavic origin in the Eastern dialects. While Western Yiddish has few remaining speakers, Eastern dialects are still used.
The presence of Jewish communities in what would later become the Romanian territory dates back to the 2nd century, at a time when the Roman Empire had established its rule over Dacia. The existence at that time of the Crimean Karaites, an ethnic group adherent to Karaite Judaism (→ Poland, Other languages) suggests a steady Jewish presence around the Black Sea, including areas of today's Romania. The earliest Jewish (most likely Sephardi) presence in what would become Moldavia was recorded in Cetatea Albă (1330). In Wallachia, they were first attested in the 1550s (Bucharest). During the second half of the 14th century, the future territory of Romania became a refuge for Jews expelled from the Kingdom of Hungary and Poland. In Transylvania, Hungarian Jews were recorded in Saxon citadels around 1492. Under the Ottoman rule, a number of Sephardites living in Istanbul migrated to Wallachia, where in the 17th century also many Ashkenazi Jews from Poland took refuge. Wallachian Jews were recognized as a special guild in Bucharest, but were overtaxed and persecuted under Ştefan Cantacuzino (1714-1716). By 1825, the Jewish population in Wallachia (almost completely Sephardi) was estimated at between 5,000 and 10,000 people, of whom the larger part resided in Bucharest (probably as many as 7,000 in 1839). Around the same time, Moldavia was home to about 12,000 Jews. and the Jewish population in Bukovina rose from 526 in 1774 to 11,600 in 1848. Several Jews rose to prominence and high social status - most families involved in Moldavian banking around the 1850s were of Jewish origin. In 1857, the Jewish community began issuing its first magazine, Israelitul Român, edited by the Romanian radical Iuliu Barasch. This process of gradual integration resulted in the creation of an informal Romanian identity taken up by Jews, while conversion to Christianity, despite encouragement by the authorities, remained confined to exceptional cases. From the beginning of the reign of Alexander John Cuza (1859-1866), the Jews became a prominent factor in the politics of the country. In the same period, Romania was the cradle of Yiddish theatre. The emigration of Romanian Jews on a larger scale began soon after 1878. There are no official statistics of emigration, but Jewish emigrants from 1898 to 1904 have been estimated at 70,000. After World War I and the creation of Greater Romania following the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the enlarged state had an increased Jewish population, because of the addition of communities in Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transylvania. The 1930 census recorded 728,115 Jews. Following the Holocaust and mass emigration to Israel in the post-war period, by 1956 there were 144,236 Jews left. During the period of transition towards a communist regime, following the Soviet occupation of Romania, Jewish society and culture were subject to the same increasingly tight control by the authorities. After 1989 the life of the Yiddish minority in Romania changed significantly for the better.
If in 1930 there were 728,115 Jews in the Kingdom of Romania, their number has constantly decreased and there are only 5,785 Jews in Romania today (2002 census). While Sephardites (using the Judeo-Espanol language variety) mainly inhabited Transylvania and Wallachia, Ashkenazi Jews were especially present in Moldavia and Bucovina. According to the 2002 census data, Yiddish has been declared as a mother tongue by 951 people, almost all of them Jews. The language is still used by a small minority of elderly people, and is declining. The Federatia Comunitatilor Evreiesti din Romania (FCER) is the organization representing the minority Yiddish population in Romania. At present FCER coordinates 40 communities having 10,876 members and is also responsible for the administration of 801 cemeteries (only 105 are still being used), and 106 temples and sinagogues. Social services are also being provided to elderly people in Bucharest, Arad and Timişoara. The Hasefer Publishing House, founded in 1991, has published in the last ten years many books about the Yiddish minority in Romania, but no books seem to have been recently published in Yiddish. The bimonthly cultural magazine “Realitatea Evreiasca” has been constantly published since 1995 providing its readers with various and interesting information. The Jewish community practices its religion in Romanian.