Murighiol, a traditional fishing village, is home to the ruined Roman city of Halmyris, one of the most important ancient sites in Romania. The city was continuously inhabited from the 6th century BC to the 7th century AD. Although a basilica and a crypt containing the tomb of Epictet and Astion, the earliest Romanian Christian martyrs, have been discovered here, much of the ruins remain unexcavated. A visit offers the chance to see an ancient city still in the process of being uncovered.
Sfantu Gheorghe, a village situated at the spot where the branch of the Danube with the same name flows into the sea, lies 70 miles south-east of Tulcea. Mentioned in records as early as 1318, the settlement was later used as a military base by the Ottoman fleet.
It's typical deltaic architecture and the possibility of eating one's fill of black caviar (sturgeon eggs) arouse tourists' interest. It has a fisheries station for the processing of black caviar, a new lighthouse (187 feet high), and an old lighthouse (1856).
As most of the Danube Delta’s villages, it has a population consistent of Lippovans. It has the most extensive sea beach on the Black Sea Coast, 38 km and a sea depth that increases gradually, making it ideal for children. In its proximity are the Saraturile Sandbank and Sacalin Island, 2 nature reserves and strictly protected areas.
Sulina is a town and free port in Tulcea County, Romania, at the mouth of the Sulina branch of the Danube. It is the easternmost point of Romania and of the continental European Union.
Once a prosperous port and important shipyard, from 1856 to 1939 the seat of the Danube Commission, Sulina has become a disadvantaged location. The reason is that the town has no access road, the only way to reach it is by boat which leaves Tulcea and goes along the Sulina branch of the Danube. This keeps tourists at the seaside at low numbers.
Sulina is between the Danube and the Black Sea and its location gives perfect access to both the Black Sea's beach and to visit the Danube Delta. The terminus point for cruise liners sailing across the Danube was mentioned for the first time more than 1,000 years ago under the name of Selina in a work written by Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenetes. This port town once bustled with traders from Europe and the Middle East, adventurers and sea pirates.
The town served as headquarters for the European Danube Commission during the 19th century when the Danube was turned into a waterway suitable for commercial shipping. This huge project attracted workers from all over Europe, and the Anglican, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish tombstones in Sulina’s cemetery bear witness to this former international community.
This city has 6 streets parallel to the Danube and 13 perpendiculars, and another similarity to New York is that its streets have numbers instead of names. This is also the city located at the lowest altitude, at 4 meters above sea level.
Visit the 19th century Greek Church of Saint Nicholas on the waterfront, the 60-foot-tall lighthouse, located in the middle of the town, built in 1802 and restored in 1870 by the Danube Commission. Enjoy a stroll along the 25-mile-long fine-sand beach, which is also the widest beach along the Black Sea Coast.
Crisan village is the place from which fork the majority of the escapades in the Danube Delta. Being a fishing village at its origins, Crisan village faced a quick development because of its privileged position on the most circulated channel, Sulina, frequented by both commercial and touristic ships and boats.
The largest three channels of the river conjugate their courses in this point, offering the key of access to the most interesting touristic routes along the river: to the south area - arriving at the famous sand banks from Caraorman, Puiu Lake and Rosu Lake, and to the north, between the old Danube's channels - arriving at Mila 23 village or at the Letea forest.
Today Crisan village represents an economical potential, especially from the tourism point of view - waiting to be valued through all its aspects.
Located on a bend of the Sulina arm known as the ‘Old Danube’ (Dunarea Veche), Mila 23 is one of the main settlements of the Lippovans, descendants of Russian refugees who fled from religious persecution in the early 18th century and who make their living from fishing, livestock breeding and reed harvesting in this vast area and it has nowadays only 493 inhabitants. As this is a good starting point for trips to the nearby waterways, many villagers rent rooms to visitors.
It is from here that many kayaking and canoeing coaches took fisherman directly from their fishing boats and turned them into world champions. Ivan Patzaichin is our most famous champion.
Interesting in this fishing village in the middle of the swamp north of the Sulina branch, which takes its name from the 23 River miles received, is the so-called cherhana, the repository of freshly caught fish. Here the fishermen are surrendering their prey, and then drink a glass in the bar next door to celebrate their catch.
The place is also a good starting point for tours to the pelican colonies around the Lakes Matita, Leghianca, Rosca, the floating islands and Stipoc Chilia.
The youngest arm of the Danube Delta stretches for some 72 miles along the border with Ukraine and has the greatest flow of water (approximately 60%) of the three arms. Its shores are home to several scattered villages – Patlagean, Ceatalchioi, Pardina, Tatanir – and Chilia Veche, a settlement with a long history (initially a Greek colony called Achillea).
Centuries ago, Chilia was a port on the Black Sea, a vital link between Europe and the Orient. In time, the alluvium deposited by the Danube has extended the land ever further into the Black Sea. Today, Chilia stands more than 25 miles from the sea. First documented in 1241 in the works of the Persian chronicler, Rashid al-Din, Chilia Veche was the site of a battle between the armies of Mahomed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, and forces led by Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler). A town on the Ukrainian side of the Danube, known as Novo Kilia (Chilia Noua, or ‘Newer Chilia,’ in Romanian) was founded by Stephen the Great of Moldavia in the 15th century in order to counteract the Ottoman Empire.
Lake Rosca (Lacul Rosca), a strictly protected reserve located between Chilia Veche and Periprava, is home to Europe’s largest white pelican colony; the area also harbors geese, egrets and storks.
Periprava, downstream from Chilia Veche, is the last site served by passenger boats on the Chilia arm. South of Periprava, you can explore the impressive Letea Forest. Periprava was until 1977 a Prison and labor camp.
“0830 Periprava" was a feared address among political prisoners in the Stalinist Romania of Dictator Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej. Exposed to scorching heat and swarms of mosquitoes in the summer and icy winds in the winter, they vegetated here in brick-walled, 24-square-meter (260-square-foot) pens that held up to 160 men each. They spent their days cutting reeds and building dams, ate porridge and drank water from the Danube. The weak died of dysentery, and prisoners who were unable to fulfill the daily quota of eight thick bundles of reeds were beat unconscious by guards wielding rubber clubs. More than 100 bodies of the nameless dead are buried in the village cemetery. Forty-two prisoners died during the winter of 1959/1960 alone, exactly half a century ago.
Today you can visit the remains of the old prison and annexes.
Letea Forest is the oldest nature reserve in Romania that was established in 1938, when the Romanian Council of Ministers passed Decision No. 645 declaring the Letea Forest a nature reserve. It is located between the Sulina and Chilia branches of the Danube, in the Danube Delta. It also covers an area of approximately 2,825 ha (6,980 acres).
This forest was the initial foundation of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. It was internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program in 1992.
It has a subtropical aspect, due to the presence of the tropical creeper named Periploca graeca. This is a Mediterranean plant which finds its most northern refuge in the Danube Delta. Along with this, types of liana and other climbing plants are woven on the branches of the trees, such as the wild vine, the hop plant and the ivy. In the middle of the forest you will be surprised to discover sand dunes and a desert-like landscape.
Letea Forest is formed mainly from trees like White Poplar, Black Poplar, Elm tree, English Oak, Silver Lime, Narrow-leafed Ash and Common Alder. Along with these ones above, it is completed by a rich scale of sub-shrub species. It is also home for a rich fauna like the Red-footed Falcon, the White-tailed Eagle, the Roller, the Hoopoe, the Vipera ursinii and the Danube Delta horse. There are approximately 1600 of insect species identified until today.
On a sandy terrain of marine origin a forest of oaks has developed, whose name Caraorman, signifies in Turkish - The Black Forest. The old oaks with impressing branches and rich vegetation create such a dark shadow, that there are some very dark places which named the forest (The Black Forest).
One of the curiosities is represented by the creepers (Periploca graeca of Mediterranean region which grow to be 15 m long - unique in Europe) that reach there the northern limit of spreading. The creepers along with other climbing plants such as the wild vine, the ivy, the hops and the tendril give this forest a subtropical aspect.
In the Danube Delta there have been noticed over 1615 species of plants, representing almost one third of the whole Romanian flora. In 1940 both Caraorman Forest and Letea Forest have been declared nature's monuments, being considered strictly protected areas.
An interesting place in Caraorman Forest is known as "Hunters' Fountain" where the oldest and biggest oak in the Delta is encountered. Due to the branches which have leaned to the ground it is called "The Kneeled Oak". It is 400 years old and has a circumference of 4.00 m.
Find out how to visit these magnificent places and what boats to rent to get there at the Reception Desk.