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Constanta, Romania

Constanța, historically known as Tomis, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania. It was founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region.

The Port of Constanța has an area of 39.26 km2 (15.16 sq mi) and a length of about 30 km (19 mi). It is the largest port on the Black Sea, and one of the largest ports in Europe.

History

According to Jordanes (after Cassiodorus), the foundation of the city was ascribed to Tomyris the queen of the Massagetae (The origin and deeds of the Goths):

"After achieving this victory (against Cyrus the Great) and winning so much booty from her enemies, Queen Tomyris crossed over into that part of Moesia which is now called Lesser Scythia - a name borrowed from... Read more

Constanta, Romania

Destination:

Constanța, historically known as Tomis, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania. It was founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region.

The Port of Constanța has an area of 39.26 km2 (15.16 sq mi) and a length of about 30 km (19 mi). It is the largest port on the Black Sea, and one of the largest ports in Europe.

History

According to Jordanes (after Cassiodorus), the foundation of the city was ascribed to Tomyris the queen of the Massagetae (The origin and deeds of the Goths):

"After achieving this victory (against Cyrus the Great) and winning so much booty from her enemies, Queen Tomyris crossed over into that part of Moesia which is now called Lesser Scythia - a name borrowed from Great Scythia, and built on the Moesian shore of the Black Sea the city of Tomi, named after herself."

In 29 BC the Romans captured the region from the Odryses, and annexed it as far as the Danube, under the name of Limes Scythicus ("Scythian Frontier").

In AD 8, the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC-17) was banished here by Augustus and it was where he spent the remaining eight years of his life. He laments his exile in Tomis in his poems: Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto. Tomis was "by his account a town located in a war-stricken cultural wasteland on the remotest margins of the empire".

A statue of Ovid stands in the Ovid Square (Piața Ovidiu) of Constanța, in front of the History Museum (the former City Hall).

A number of inscriptions found in the city and its vicinity show that Constanța lies where Tomis once stood. Some of these are now preserved in the British Museum in London. The city was afterward included in the Province of Moesia, and, from the time of Diocletian, in Scythia Minor, of which it was the metropolis. After the 5th century, Tomis fell under the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire. During Maurice's Balkan campaigns, Tomis was besieged by the Avars in the winter of 597/598.

Tomis was later renamed to Constantiana in honor of Constantia, the half-sister of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (274-337). The earliest known usage of this name was "Κωνστάντια" ("Constantia") in 950. The city lay at the seaward end of the Great Wall of Trajan and has evidently been surrounded by fortifications of its own. After successively becoming part of the Bulgarian Empire for over 500 years, and later of the independent principality of Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici and of Wallachia under Mircea I of Wallachia, Constanța fell under the Ottoman rule around 1419.

A railroad linking Constanța to Cernavodă was opened in 1860. In spite of the damage done by railway contractors, there are considerable remains of ancient masonry walls, pillars, etc. An impressive public building, thought to have originally been a port building, has been excavated and contains the substantial remains of one of the longest mosaic pavements in the world.

In 1878, after the Romanian War of Independence, Constanța and the rest of Northern Dobruja were ceded by the Ottoman Empire to Romania. The city became Romania's main seaport and transit point for much of Romania's exports.

On October 22, 1916 (during World War I), the Central Powers (German, Turkish and Bulgarian troops) occupied Constanța. According to the Treaty of Bucharest in May 1918, article 10.b (a treaty never ratified by Romania), Constanța remained under the joint control of the Central Powers. Allied troops liberated the city in 1918 after the successful offensive on the Thessaloniki front knocked Bulgaria out of the war.

In the interwar years, the city became Romania's main commercial hub, so that by the 1930s over half of the national exports were going through the port. During World War II, when Romania joined the Axis powers, Constanța was one of the country's main targets for the Allied bombers. While the town was left relatively undamaged, the port suffered extensive damage, recovering only in the early 1950s.

Geography

Constanța is the administrative center of the county with the same name and the largest city in the EU Southeastern development region of Romania. The city is located on the Black Sea coast, having a beach length of 13 kilometers (8 miles). Mamaia, an administrative district of Constanța, is the largest and most modern resort on the Romanian coast. Mineral springs in the surrounding area and sea bathing attract many visitors in the summer.

Climate

Constanța is one of the warmest cities in Romania. It has a moderate subtropical climate with considerable maritime and some continental influences. There are four distinct seasons during the year.

Summer (late May to mid-September) is warm, dry and sunny with a July and August average of 23 °C (73 °F). The beginning of summer brings plenty of precipitation, but by early July the weather becomes settled and dry. Most summer days see a gentle breeze refreshing the daytime temperatures. Nights are warm and somewhat muggy because of the heat stored by the sea.

Autumn starts in mid or late September with warm and sunny days. September can be warmer than June, owing to the heat accumulated by the Black Sea. The first frost occurs on average in mid-November.

Winter is much balmier compared to other cities in southern Romania. Snow is not abundant but the weather can be very windy and unpleasant. Winter arrives much later than in the interior and December weather is often mild with high temperatures reaching 8 °C (46 °F) - 12 °C (54 °F). The average January temperature is 1 °C (34 °F). Winter storms, which happen when the sea becomes particularly treacherous, are a common occurrence between December and March.

Spring arrives early but it's quite cool. Often in April and May, the Black Sea coast is one of the coolest places in Romania found at an altitude lower than 500 m (1,640.42 ft).

Four of the warmest 7 years since 1889 occurred after the year 2000 (2000, 2001, 2007 and 2008). The winter and the summer of 2007 were respectively the warmest and the second warmest in recorded history with monthly averages for January (+6.5 °C) and June (+23.0 °C) breaking all-time records. Overall 2007 was the warmest year since 1889 when weather recording began.

Tourism

Situated at the crossroads of several commercial routes, Constanța lies on the western coast of the Black Sea, 185 miles (298 km) from the Bosphorus Strait. An ancient metropolis and Romania's largest seaport, Constanța traces its history some 2,500 years. Originally called Tomis, legend has it that Jason landed here with the Argonauts after finding the Golden Fleece.

One of the largest cities in Romania, Constanța is now an important cultural and economic center, worth exploring for its archeological treasures and the atmosphere of the old town center. Its historical monuments, ancient ruins, grand Casino, museums and shops, and proximity to beach resorts make it the focal point of Black Sea coast tourism. Open-air restaurants, nightclubs, and cabarets offer a wide variety of entertainment. Regional attractions include traditional villages, vineyards, ancient monuments, and the Danube Delta, the best-preserved delta in Europe.

"National History and Archaeology Museum" is located in the old City Hall, and has a very large collection of ancient art.


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Constanta, Romania: Port Information


Cruise ships dock at the Passenger Pier. You need to walk around half a mile to the main exit of the harbor. It is just one mile from the exit to the city center (a 20-minute walk). Taxis are available near the main gates of the port.

Get around Constanta, Romania


Public transport

You can use the public transport system (buses, trams, trolleybuses, and maxi-taxis). To get to Mamaia you can take the 310 minivan called maxi-taxi but it is very crowded during summer. The stop is in front of the main exit of the Railway Station, after the traffic light, on the side with the park. You can also take the special bus which takes you to Mamaia and has regular stops around the city and resort, it is a double-decker bus and you can find it as you exit the train station in the bus station.

You can also get to Mamaia by taking the 40 or 100 buses, but those two buses will leave you at the beginning of Mamaia and from there you must walk, take a taxi or a minivan.

By taxi

The best option is a taxi. A legal taxi must be painted yellow and must have the fee written with green or black characters on the driver's door. Always insist on starting the meter and try to avoid the cabs with red tariffs right next to the train station who, as in every major city, try to take advantage of tourists. Walk 100 meters from the station and only then wave to a cab. You can ask in advance the taxi driver how much does he think the ride will cost. 

By bike

In Constanţa there are no paths for a bike, but it is safe to ride the bike on the main road. There is a free rental service sponsored by Raiffeisen Bank, located in Parcul Tabacarie, which runs from June to October. You can rent the bike with your ID or passport for 2 hours with the option to extend for another 2 hours.

On foot

Walking in Constanţa is one of the great pleasures of visiting the city. It is possible to cross the entire city in only a few hours. Be aware of dogs.

What to see in Constanta, Romania


Constanţa has been continuously inhabited for 2500 years so there is a lot to see.
  • Old Casino Constanța. Built in Art Nouveau style and conceived by two architects, Petre Antonescu and Daniel Renard (of Swiss extraction but born in Romania). This stunning former casino and the surrounding promenade was opened in 1911. It has, however, been abandoned for long. 
  • Statue of Ovid. The statue by Ettore Ferrari was erected in 1887 after a public subscription (the same statue can be seen in Sulmona). In AD 09 Ovid, born 43 BC in Sulmona, died in AD 17 in Tomis/Constanţa, was sent in exile by Augustus for obscure reasons. He wrote his Tristia in Tomis. 
  • Grand Mosque of Constanța (Marea Moschee din Constanța), Strada Crângului 1 (A stone's throw from Ovidiu Square). The first public building made of concrete in Romania (1910), a gift from King Carol I to the local Muslim community. The Mosque is built in Moorish style in honor of Sultan Mohamed II. It hosts a carpet brought ​​in 1965 from the island of Ada Kaleh, a Sultan Abdul Hamid (1876-1909) donation, work of the famous Herek handicraft center in Turkey. 
  • Roman Mosaic Edifice (Edificiul Roman cu Mozaic). Utility work undertaken in 1959 in Ovidiu Square led to the discovery of one of the most important monuments of ancient Tomis - the Roman mosaic edifice. Located on the western shore, the complex was built in three terraces and connects the city and the ancient port. Monumental building - with over 2,000 square meters of mosaic - was erected in the 4th century AD, probably under Emperor Constantine the Great, being repaired at various stages by the end of the 6th century, when their existence ends, falling in decay ruin with the commercial activities of the city. From the original 2,000 m² area still maintains about 700 m² - but enough to infer that we are in front of large port construction. The upper terrace was occupied by an impressive hall (100 m long and 20 m wide), probably covered in antiquity, with a huge dome supported by pillars. From this room, there are still today part of the long wall and one of the side walls. The first presents an arcade ordinance open to the sea, is covered entirely with white marble and polychrome plywood. Pillars decorated with beautiful arches Areu capitals decorated with acanthus leaves zoomorphic or anthropomorphic figures and center. 

Museums

  • National Museum of History and Archeology (On Piata Ovidiu), ☎ +40 241 618 763, e-mail: contact@minac.ro. Displays an impressive collection of pieces from the Greek and Roman antiquity (for example, the Glykon Snake, Fortuna and Pontos, Two-faced Nemesis and countless amphoras). Also outside the museum, there are some marble tombs and artifacts. Open hours: 1 May-30 September: daily 8 AM-5 PM; 1 October-30 April: Wednesday-Sunday 9 AM-5 PM. (Monday, Tuesday closed)
  • The Popular Art Museum, Aristide Karatzali Street (+40 241616133). Open hours: 9 AM-8 PM (during summer); 10 AM-6 PM (during winter).
  • Marine Museum (Muzeul Marinei), Traian Street, 53, ☎ +40 241619035, +40 34180330, e-mail: muzeu.marina@rdslink.ro. Open hours: 9 AM-5 PM (during summer); 10 AM-6 PM (during winter). The museum has: casts after epigraphic documents, coins, art works, original articles with significant historical value: anchors, amphorae, dozens of models reproducing all types of existing vessels in the military and commercial Romanian Navy, navigation instruments, documents and photographs, fire arms, propellers, lighthouses lenses, flags, paintings, exhibits of great scientific value and documentary. 
  • The Sea's Museum with the Genovese Lighthouse, behind the statue of Eminescu, on the seafront. Although built between 1858-1860, on the rock of the southeast corner of the Tomitane Peninsula, by an English company, the Lighthouse is called "Genovese Lighthouse" in memory of another time Lighthouse merchants having a white light, last time running being in 1913, and a few years later, in 1948, was restored for the last time and gave to the tourist circuit.
  • The Ion Jalea Sculpture Museum, Arhiepiscopiei Street, 26. Ion Jalea Museum is arranged in a building built in the interwar period by architect C. Pariano in Brancoveanu style. The museum shows more than 120 donated works in bronze and plaster by artist Ion Jalea to his hometown.
  • The Natural Sciences Museum Complex. Is considered an important reference for the cultural and scientific image of the municipality, with a high emblematic value in the summer offer of the Romanian seacoast.
It consists of:
  • The Dolphinarium began its activity on June 1, 1972, being the first museum form of this kind in Romania and the first one in the S-E of Europe at that time. The exhibition presents the world of shellfish living in diverse seas. The shows are organized in the amphitheater with a pool, with dolphins from the Phocaena relicta species and Delphinus delphis ponticus species, with seals from the South Atlantic.
  • The Planetarium A world beyond us, made up of stars, planets, galaxies and other things are disclosed to you, but you are assisted to learn how to travel among them using the constellations, the “Sky” that needed no renovation in the last 2000 years contributing to the realization of this picture. 
  • The Exotic Birds Exhibition On a 100 m² covered surface, in large bird houses, with adequate compartments for food, nesting, flying and rest, one can admire the representatives of different bird species from Asia, Africa, Australia, New Guinea, and South America.
  • The Micro Delta The patrimony of this objective has the aquatic avifauna (pelicans, swans, ducks and wild geese), the terrestrial avifauna (peacocks, pheasants) and mammals (mouflons, fallow deer, harts), that can be found in the Danube Delta’s Biosphere Reservation and the Negureni Reservation. Most parts of these exemplars are natural monuments and rare species with a scarce representation in the natural biotopes. Some exemplars were obtained by exchange with the other Zoo Gardens and others were purchased or donated.
  • The Aquarium - The exhibition space is marked out for the presentation of the permanent aquatic flora and fauna exhibition in 57 tanks, and also for the temporary exhibitions with aquatic biological and ecological themes. An inedited museum institution for natural sciences in our country due to its exhibition patrimony made up entirely of living organisms, the aquarium in Constanţa also has naturalized collections of marine and freshwater fish and invertebrates belonging to different geographical areas of the Earth. To facilitate the presentation of aquatic life and the visitors’ access to information, the exhibition patrimony consists of over 100 species (1300 exemplars) aquatic creatures and is structured into several sections. The distribution of aquatic organisms into sections is based on ecological and bio-geographical criteria, and within the sections, the taxonomic criteria were taken into account for placing the different species into the tanks. 

Parks

  • Tabacarie Park
  • Archaeological Park right in the center of the city is a nice place for a walk if you're in the area.

What to do in Constanta, Romania


Walk

You can stroll the city's streets, the historical peninsular area which has a special charm, the sea coast, the Tomis marina or one of the many parks, on the lake-side or through the ruins of the ancient Greek colony Tomis.

Beach

You can do sunbathing or you can swim in the Black Sea. There is a large beach called Modern right in the middle of the city, which is favored by locals and is near the marina. Very very shallow waters (you can walk for 20–30 meters and the water won't pass your knees) so it's suited if you want to take your kids there and let them play safely in the water.

The most significant beaches are in the Mamaia resort which is in the north part of Constanţa. It consists of about 6-7 km of sandy beaches with absolutely no rocks; the width of the beaches vary from 20 to 150 m. It's also full of hotels, clubs, and bars and extremely popular and fashionable in the summer. Moreover, in the off-season (September–April) they are a great place for taking pictures walks or rides with the ATV or enduro motorcycle and there are some centers for renting ATVs near the Cleopatra bar at the beginning of the resort. The ratio of free parking/paid parking is around 25%/75% and the parking lots with the fee are guarded and not that expensive and a good alternative especially if you are on a motorcycle because people will climb your bike to take pictures on it. The paid parking places are marked with a white P on a blue background. The unpaid parking lots are on the sides of the main boulevard.

Cinemas

  • Cityplex (in Tomis Mall), Str. Ştefan cel Mare, Nr. 36-40, ☎ +40 241-483-183. 
  • Cinema City (in Maritimo Shopping Center), Str. Aurel Vlaicu, nr. 220, ☎ +40 341-40-31-11. 

Theatres

  • Teatrul Naţional Constanţa, B-dul Ferdinand, Nr.11, ☎ +40 241-488-612. 
  • Teatrul de Opera si Balet Oleg Danovski, Str. Mircea cel Batran, Nr. 97, ☎ +40 241-480-300. 
  • Elpis, Str. Alexandru Karatzali, Nr. 16, ☎ +40 241-618-992. 

Sea tours

You can get aboard a tour boat from the Tomis marina which will take you on a trip to the open seas and back.

What to eat and drink in Constanta, Romania


Eat

Waiters usually know some English and menus are usually written in English. International cuisine is present, you should try the wines which are very good and not that expensive.

You will find a lot of fast food places selling kebab and shawarma (a nice mixture of grilled chicken, salads, French fries and sauces wrapped in a lipia (a sort of thin pancake used as a substitute for bread by Turks), very good and not that expensive.

International fast-food:
  • McDonald's (Tomis Mall: ground floor, 3rd floor, Delfinariu Area, City Park Mall: Park Level)
  • KFC (Tomis Mall: 3rd floor; TOM; City Park Mall: Park Level)
  • Pizza Hut (Str. Rascoalei; TOM; City Park Mall: Lake Level)
  • Spring Time (TOM)
  • Acropolis, Str. General Manu, Nr. 1; Tel. - +40 742-692-234;
  • Adris, Str. Lct. Economu, Nr. 30; Tel. - +40 241-550-611;
  • Albatros, Str. Traian, Nr. 52; Tel. - +40 241-615-717;
  • Amarilis, Str. I.C. Brătianu; Tel. - +40 241-511-185; Fax - +40 241-692-679;
  • Ambient, B-dul Mamaia, Nr. 191; Tel. - +40 241-614-401;
  • Aristocrat, B-dul Tomis, Nr. 279; Tel. - +40 241-692-021;
  • Aspendos, B-dul Tomis, Nr. 48; Tel. - +40 241-617-612;
  • Astoria, P-ţa Ovidiu, Nr. 5; Tel. - +40 241-611-285;
  • Au Coq Simpa, Str. Ştefan cel Mare, Nr. 19; Tel. - +40 241-614-797;
  • Avanti, B-dul Tomis, Nr. 334; Tel. - +40 241-693-992;
  • Bad Rock, Str. Călăraşi, Nr. 1; Tel. - +40 721-204-000;
  • Balada, B-dul 1 Decembrie 1918, Nr. 12; Tel. - +40 241-625-327;
  • Bel Ami, Str. Poporului, Nr. 24; Tel. - +40 241-609-522;
  • Beta Restaurant, Str. Ştefan cel Mare, Nr. 6, ☎ +40 241-673-763;
  • Bianco, Str. Cişmelei, Nr. 8; Tel. - +40 241-551-391;
  • Big Foot, B-dul Mamaia, Nr. 155; Tel. - +40 723-954-491;
  • Bonjour, B-dul Tomis, Nr. 114;
  • Bulevard, B-dul Mamaia, Nr. 294; Tel. - +40 241-831-533; Fax - +40 241-831-606;
  • Can, Str. Theodor Burada, Nr. 1; Tel. - +40 724-978-822;
  • Capitol, B-dul Mamaia, Nr. 69; Tel. - +40 241-520-522;
  • Capriccio, B-dul Alexandru Lăpuşneanu, Nr. 89; Tel. - +40 241-542-151;
  • Casa Ana, B-dul Tomis, Nr. 17; Tel. - +40 241-553-999;
  • Casa Tomis, Str. Remus Opreanu, Nr. 8; Tel. - +40 241-619-486;
  • Cazino Constanţa, Str. Carpaţi, Nr. 1; Tel. - +40 241-617-416; Fax - +40 421-617-416;
  • China Town, Str. Zorelelor, Nr. 67; Tel. - +40 241-609-660; Mobil - +40 721-776-699;
  • Chinese Garden, Str. Mircea cel Bătrân, Nr. 148; Tel. - +40 241-670-717;

Drink

Bars and clubs

There are many bars and clubs open in Constanţa. However, some of them are closed during the summer, as Mamaia resort opens. You can go to Phoenix (a rock club), Domino, Doors.
  • Haute Cup, Strada Griviței nr. 20, ☎ +40 727 123 381. Mon-Thu 08:00-22:00, Fri 08:00-24:00, Sat 09:00-24:00, Sun 09:00-22:00. 
  • Arabica The Coffee Shop, Bulevardul Tomis 3, ☎ +40 728 674 276. 08:00-24:00. 
  • Mindfluid breeze, Str. Mircea cel Batran, Nr. 49 (above Modern Beach), ☎ +40 747 897 518. Mindfluid Breeze is a lounge bar. Relax while sipping your favorite drink, cocktail, tea or espresso. The music will add to the atmosphere. The hotspot (free wireless) will keep you connected. Oh, you can enjoy the view of the Black Sea, too. 
There are many bars in the city, especially during summer-time.
  • Kaptan Nur Lokantası.

Shopping in Constanta, Romania


You can shop downtown, on the Ştefan cel Mare street where most big shopping centers are situated, including Tomis Mall, but also in the new, modern and bigger City Park Mall - in Tabacarie Park. Another shopping center is TOM (Carrefour). A new shopping, Maritimo, opened recently.

You can also do your shopping at other shopping centers:
  • Metro Cash & Carry I
  • Metro Cash & Carry II (as you exit Constanţa for Agigea on the right)
  • Real Hypermarket (as you exit Constanţa for Agigea on the right)
  • Praktiker (as you exit Constanţa for Agigea on the right)
  • Selgros Cash & Carry (Rewe) (north of Agigea) or if you are coming from Constanţa just before the bridge over the canal)
  • Billa
  • Penny Market
  • Kaufland (intersection Bratianu and Lapusneanu boulevard)
  • Mega Image I (Delhaize Group)
  • Mega Image II
  • Prestige Center
  • Casa Modei
  • Doraly Mall
  • Metropol

Safety in Constanta, Romania


Constanţa is a pretty safe city even by European standards, but as a precaution avoid taking taxis near the train station and insist that they turn the meter on. Unlike some other cities in Romania, people from Constanţa are well used to foreigners and are generally helpful. Avoid walking with your camera around your neck and be mindful of pickpockets when using public transportation. Your religion is not of concern since a lot of locals come from very different ethnic and religious backgrounds, but refrain from commenting on religious matters. The local Muslim population is pretty secular and don't have a problem with western culture or habits.

Stay away from dodgy small casinos and avoid exchange offices especially those located in Mamaia. They have hidden commission (written with small letters) or separate exchange rates for travel checks and cash. Use only trusted exchange offices, like Balkan Exchange. If you are unsure go to a bank, Your best bet is to exchange money at banks, which are located throughout the city. Although banks don't have good exchange rates, they are still better than the rip-offs).

As with Bucharest and other big cities in Romania, your biggest safety concern could come from feral dogs. If confronted by a group of barking dogs don't loose your cool and back away since they are usually territorial and won't chase you. If they get too close, pretend you are picking a rock from the ground. Whatever you do, don't run.

Women will not be permitted access in churches or mosques if they wear short skirts.

Language spoken in Constanta, Romania


Romanian is the official language. English is understood in tourist places.

LOCAL TIME

5:11 am
July 16, 2019
Europe/Bucharest

CURRENT WEATHER

19.75 °C / 67.55 °F
sky is clear
Tue

25.76 °C/78 °F
sky is clear
Wed

25.63 °C/78 °F
sky is clear
Thu

26.53 °C/80 °F
scattered clouds
Fri

26.71 °C/80 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

RON

1 USD = 0 RON
1 EUR = 0 RON
1 GBP = 0 RON
1 AUD = 0 RON
1 CAD = 0 RON

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