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Danube Delta


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Danube Delta

At the end of the great river Danube's journey through Europe to the Black Sea there spreads out a natural paradise unparalleled in Europe, where canals, lakes, reed islands, pastures and sand dunes cover over 5,165 sq km (2,000 miles).

Many cruise and day trip possibilities open up the wonders of the Delta.

This amazing wetland shelters over 300 species of birds, countless fish from royal sturgeon down to carp and perch, while its 1,150 kinds of plants range from sinuous lianas suggesting tropical forests to gently blossoming water lilies. It is small wonder that UNESCO has designated the Delta a 'Reservation of the Biosphere'.

Only 15,000 people make their living from fishing, livestock breeding, and reed harvesting in this vast area. Their villages, lapped by the waterways, seem untouched by time.

Fresh and sea-water fish abound in the Delta.

Exploring the Reservation of the Biosphere: The starting point for a Delta adventure is usually the ancient city of Tulcea, with modern tourist hotels and special small cruise ships, plus a worthwhile museum devoted to the natural history of the Delta.

It is 72 km (45 miles) by boat from the almost equally old settlement of Sulina at the other end of the Sulina channel and cruises between the two give passengers a panoramic view of wildlife. You will see pelicans and cormorants, eagles and vultures.

Local fishermen make their own version of Russian borsch over an open fire. At restaurants you can sample Danube herring, croquettes of zander, or sturgeon steak, tastily washed down with Aligote, Muscat or Merlot wines. In every way a Delta trip is a memorable experience.

Romania is fortunate to be one of the few European countries generously blessed by nature. Here the different forms of relief harmonize to perfection, making up a whole of great beauty. The Danube springs in Germany, washes several countries of the old continent and ends its journey on the Romanian territory where, before flowing into the Black Sea, it forms a picturesque delta covering 70 km in surface area. Along the three branches - Chilia, Sulina and Sfintul Gheorghe - the Danube displays a geographical realm that has always fascinated with its strange beauty and the mysteries of primitive life.

Modern tourists who want to avoid noise and crowded metropolises, try to ferret out refreshing corners of the world where their holidays can be enjoyed in the middle of nature. The delta of the Danube is one of the few places that meet the requirements of these travellers who want to profit from moments of peace and quiet during their vacation. Unique landscape can be admired: long picturesque stretches shaded by luxuriant plants; water lilies and endless areas of reed; willow, poplar and alder groves; flocks of swans, pelicans and wild ducks and geese; creepers and venerable oaks that make these places look like a real jungle.

In this world where water is almost the sole ruler, the only means of transportation is by boat and the main occupation is of course fishing. What other experience could be more stimulating than sailing in a boat and then having a fisherman's dinner which should without a doubt include the well-known fisherman's broth, a recipe that would do credit to any chef. The secret of this delicious dish is a lot of fish (oerch especially), onions, tomatoes and mild pepper seasoned with chili pepper, green vegetables and borsch. This broth goes down well with a little glass of plum brandy.

The Delta of the Danube, an inexhaustible source of natural riches, stirs up our interest given the impressive variety of its flora and fauna. Over 300,000 species of birds live there among which can be found pelicans, egrets, spoon bills, pygmy cormorants, red neck geese; some of which are protected by law. The delta is also famous for the variety of its ichtiology: sheat-fish, pike, carp, herring, sturgeon, sevruga.

The Delta of the Danube is a perfect holiday choice especially when one takes into consideration Romanian hospitality.

If you haven't decided yet what to do during your spring holidays, stop there for a moment and marvel at the colour of the flowers, of the insects or of the birds that live in that fascinating universe. One can hardly describe in words, in a few lines only, what the beauty and the attraction of the Delta mean for all of its visitors. It is said that once visited, this dreamland keeps on drawing the tourist like an irresistible call. Numerous tourit amusements and various iteraries can be found there. Whether you are merely a tourist or whether you go hunting or fishing, you will certainly find some hospitable and comfortable hotels, inns or lodging houses waiting for you in this 'thrilling fluid universe'.

The Danube Delta, witness of the eventful, century-old history of Romanian people, huge, amazing spread of water, reed and sun, of a unique wealth, biological value, exuberance and variety, is a major target of tourist interest in nowadays Romanian. It lays at Danube mouths to the Black Sea, in the south-east part of Romania, and spreads over 5,165 km square (i. e. about 1995 sq. miles), more than 80% on Romanian territory.

5,000 years ago still a gulf of the Black Sea this land was born from the alluvia brought by the great river together with the increased work of the sea, of plants and animals, as well as of winds and waves.

At the end of a trip of near 2,860 km (1,777 miles) before meeting the sea, the Danube spreads its waters creating a paradise of water, plants and animals, with landscapes of unbelievable beauty.

In the long run, the deposition of million tons of alluvia linked the three branches of the Danube: Chilia, Sulina and Sf. Gheorghe with a fascinating net of ails, holms, channels, brooks and ponds. Wherever you look, you can see floating islets covered by rush and reed, lianas like in tropical woods, lakes with middy depths but with surfaces like carpets of water lilies hiding a puzzling under-water world. The silent boats of fishermen stir numberless pelicans and flocks of cormorants and moor hens from their nests beyond the reed curtains.

The Danube Delta was included in the UNESCO Project as a Reservation of the Biosphere because its peculiar features and the originality and variety of the ecosystems (more than 25 types of natural ecosystems). There are settled 16 areas strictly protected where no economical activities are allowed, then areas for ecological rehabilitation and buffer and economical areas, where tourist activities are permitted under the circumstances of protection and maintenance of the environment.


The net of lakes, channels and brooks, of a great touristic interest, is the main line of communications in the Delta and, in the same time, a proper place for trips, water sports and angling. Furtuna, Merhei, Babina, Matita, Gorgova, Uzlina, Lumina, Puiu, Rosu etc. are some of the most beautiful lakes. Channels like Sireasa-Sontea, Eracle-Lopatna, Litcov, Dunavat, Lipovenilor etc. lead towards the most hidden and charming places in the Danube Delta.


Archaeological and historical evidence, as well as ancient maps and toponymy prove that the Danube Delta was inhabited by man since Ancient Ages. The descendants of the Scythian and Dacian tribes never ceased to live on this Romanian land surrounded by waters. During the 10th and 15th centuries, the area of the sea-going Danube (from Braila to the Black Sea including the Danube Delta) became a main trade place between merchants from Genua and Venice, Arabs and Greeks, and the native inhabitants. Places like Preslavat, Sulina, Isaccea, Chilia, Tulcea, Sfantu Gheorghe reached a stage of flourish and wealth. Old vocation, like fishing and shepherding, never ceased to exist. The social-cultural life lasted even under the Turkish domination in the 16th to 19th centuries. The Danube Delta was a natural shelter at the border of two Empires: the Russian and the Ottoman.

Nowadays there are about 15,000 people living in the Danube Delta. Most of them deal with fishing, reed harvesting, breeding and sailing. Villages are small and spread along branches and channels. Some bigger places are: Chilia Veche and Sfantu Gheorghe. Sulina is the only town in the Danube Delta. It developed on the spot of the ancient Byzantine port Sellina (950 AD.), it became porto-franco in 1900 and still keeps architecture details of the ' Europolis' described by the novelist Jean Barth, and historic buildings, such as the place of the former European Committee of The Danube or the Old Lighthouse built in 1802.


Is the gate of the Delta, the administrative centre of the county, a touristic place, as well. Built on the sport of the old Dacian and Roman Aegyssus (7th-1st c. BC), the city with 110,000 inhabitants lays on 7 hills like Roma Madre, and is an important port. Some of the touristic targets are: St. Nicholas' Church (1865), the Azzizie Mosque (1924), the Independence Monument built on Horia hill to celebrate the heroes fallen during the Independence War, the 1972 statue of the Vallachian ruler, Mircea cel Batran, work of Ion Jalea, a well-known Romanian sculptor born in Tucea. An interesting place is the City museum with its natural sciences, archaeology, arts and ethnography departments. The exhibitions here present in a synthetic manner the wealth and beauty of the Danube Delta, the origins and the history of the Romanian people living in Dobrogea and at the Danube mouths.


The ornithological fauna of the Danube Delta includes 310 species among which:

-about 60% of the world number of small cormorants;

-the greatest part of the European colonies of white pelicans;

-during winter time, almost half of the world number of red-berated-geese.Beyond the native species here come to hatch 80 species of birds from Asia, Africa and Northern areas of Europe. Red-breasted-gees, long-tailed ducks, whopper swans, black-throated divers etc. spend winters here. By spring time come pelicans, egrets, purple herons, spoonbills, curlews and other. White fronted geese, ospreys, cranes, red-legged geese etc. pass in their way through the Danube Delta are also some rare or near extinct species such as: the griffon vulture, the teal, the shelled duck and the ruddy shelled duck.

The Dalmatian pelican and the white pelican, the shelled duck and the ruddy shelled duck, the curlew, the bee-eater, the roller, the white-tailed eagle, the black-winged stilt, the great white egret, the spoonbill, the cormorant, the eagle, the falcon, the black-throated diver, the eagle-owl, the mute swan and the whopper swan are species protected by the law.


The abundant vegetation of the Danube Delta begins on the free surface of the lakes where thousands of white and yellow water lilies are floating. A water-rich area since 5,000 or 6,000 years, the Danube Delta is proper for the development of 1,150 species of plants, being the greatest unbroken reed area in the world. Among these plants there is even a carnivorous one, the Aldrovanda, which is waiting for its prey with widely open traps.

Of a great interest are the large reed surface and the floating islets, the gallery-woods of willows and black poplars, the warm-liking oaks with beautiful boughs interwoven by lianas and creeper. It looks like a luxuriant tropical wood. More than 8,000 h are covered by different kinds of deciduous trees on the sand ails of Letea and Caraorman, which are scientific reservations under strict control and protection. On holms there are grassy pastures.


The water fauna includes 160 fish species: 75 species of fresh water fish, 70 species of clams, shells and snails, microscopic animals and deep-water species. They form one of the greatest wealth of Danube Delta. Among the most frequent species there are: carp, Crimean carp, pike, zanier, shoat fish, perch. During the spawn period, an arduous sea-fish like different kinds of sturgeons and starlets, those called ' boneless fish ' by the ancient historian Herodotus, living in the Black Sea and in the Caspian Sea, ascend the Danube branches.

The greatest part of fish, major nourish source for hundred thousands of birds, live in the net of lakes and brooks like: Furtuna, Trei Iezere, Balcanestii Mari, Babina, Gorgova, Isac, Uzlina, Lumina, Puiu, Rosu etc.

The most important fishery are those from Mila35, Crisan, Gorgova, Mila 23-sat, Matita, Sulina, Mahmudia, Uzlina and Dunavat.

Not only fish are out-common but also gastronomy. There are many different easy of cooking fish and the taste and flavour of the fishermen borsch, a soup boiled on a mild fire, in a huge cast-iron kettle, with a special composition, known only by the fishermen, is unforgettable. Plates like pickled fish, fillets, rolls, mince-meat balls, croquettes of zander, Danube herring, shoat fish, carp, pike or sturgeon are also very tasteful.


Trips are organised on the most beautiful routes in the Danube Delta:

1. Maliuc-Crisan-Mila 23-Sontea-Channel-Furtuna Lake-Sireasa Channel-Mila 36 Channel Tulcea;

2. Tulcea-Maliuc-Crisan-Caraorman Channel-Puiu Lake-BTT Camp-Rosu Lake-Tulcea;

3. Tulcea-Maliuc-Crisan-Caraorman Channel - Litcov Channel - Sf. Gheorghe-Brance Tulcea;

4. Tulcea-Sf.Gheorghe Branche-Erenciuc Channel-Caraorman Channel-Crisan-Tulcea oder Puiu Lake-Rosu Lake-Bursuca-Sulina;

5. Tulcea-Crisan-Dunarea Veche-Eracle Channel-Lopatna Channel-Matita Lake-Merhei Lake-Mila 23-Sontea Channel-Furtuna Lake-Mila 36-Tulcea (route for specialists);

6. Tulcea-Sf.Gheorghe Branche-Dunavat Channel-Razim Lake-Jurilovca;

7. Jurilovca-Razim Lake-Gura Portitei-Jurilovca;

8. Tulcea-Mila 36 Channel-Chilia Branche-Pardina-Chilia Veche retire Tulcea;

9. Sulina-Bursuca-Rosu Lake-Puiu Lake-Erenciuc Channel-Sf.Gheorghe-Tulcea;

10. Sulina-Cardon Channel-Grindul-Letea-Sulina


ANGLING. In the Danube Delta the angling of fresh water and fish is allowed the whole year, beside the spawn period of 60 days beginning in April. The fishing areas are yearly established by the Hunter and Anglers' Union and the Administration of the Biosphere Reservation ' Delta Dunarii '.


The rulers of hunting in the Danube Delta are established by the Hunter and Anglers' Union and the Administration of the Biosphere Reservation ' Delta Dunarii '.The circumstances and the areas are yearly settled. The main areas are: Razim, Caraorman, Uzlina, Crisan-Sulina, Mila 23-Sat, Ilgani (geese, mallards, moor hens, snipes, wild oars) and Cardon-under special circumstances (roebucks, pheasants, hares).

CRUISES in the Danube Delta, Strollings on channels and brooks, angling. The tourists may rent different kinds of ship from Offices in Tulcea or Oar-boats (with or without oarsman) from 'Lebada' Hotel at Crisan, the Crisan-sat camping, the touristic centre from Murigiol or from the inhabitants.

WINE-TASTES in the Niculitel vineyard, well-known for its white wines Aigote, Muscat Otonel, Sarica-Niculitel etc. and red ones like Merlot.

THE INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL of the Danubian Countries in August in Tulcea (specific customs, dance and folk songs).

THE WINTER CARNIVAL in December in Tulcea (specific customs).

TRIPS to the monasteries Celic-Dere (29 km far from Tulcea built in 1838), Cocos (38 km, built in the first half of the 19th c.) and the pale-Christian necropolis of Niculitel (31 km, 4th c. AD.)

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