Dobrogea Sites - Other Points of Interest

I've presented so far most of the main touristic attractions (at least from my point of view) from the Romanian part of Dobrogea, especially those that I consider to be less publicized. But there is still much to be seen, admired or discovered. I hope to update some of the posts with new photos (if I ever get to those places) and hopefully add more interesting (or mainly photo) posts regarding the bigger cities (Tomis/Constanţa crosses my mind now).

Regarding the archaeological heritage, almost every place has its own story, sometimes still buried deep underground, sometimes lost for good, but I think I've covered most of the ones still seen today. The Romanian Mapserver for National Cultural Heritage is the main reference regarding archaeological findings and sites in the area.

Although Dobrogea means first of all history, it's also a place were one can find welcoming people, peaceful places in the middle of the nature and wonderful landscapes (and also modern attractions if you look for them in the cities)

These being said, here's a list of other interesting places worth seeing on the todays Romanian territory of Dobrogea and some links at the end:

- Proslaviţa Fortress - (Nufăru village) is situated 12 km from Tulcea, on the right bank of the Sfântu Gheorghe channel. The fortress was built in an area with traces of the Hallstatt, Latene and Roman-Byzantine periods. During the Roman-Byzantine age, there were two surveillance towers on the right bank of the Danube. Archaeological diggings led to the discovery of an inside wall and of two massive towers. The fortress functioned until the 14th century.

- The Dobrogea Gorges - Splendid landscape with limestone walls (see below), some 40m high, placed in the proximity of the road, about 45 Km from Constanţa city, between Târguşor and Cheia. The gorges are natural reservation. They were once coral reefs on the bottom of the sea. More info here and the location on Google Maps.

Dobrogea GorgesDobrogea GorgesDobrogea GorgesDobrogea Gorges

- The Caves of Gura Dobrogei - situated nearby the Dobrogea Gorges, are part of a complex reservation (spelaeological, paleontological, geological, faunistic). The caves are small, and rather hard to find. Some of the more important caves are:
  • La Adam (Adam's Cave) - where was discovered a sanctuary of the god Mithras (1st-2nd centuries AD.)
  • Bat's Cave (Peştera Liliecilor) - where were found some tools from the Lower Paleolithic and nowadays hosts colonies of bats
  • St. John Cassian Cave (Peştera Sf. Ioan Casian) - where lived the saint John Cassian, who is celebrates by the Orthodox Church on the 28th of February.
Nearby can also be found the monastery of St. John Cassian.
The location on Wikimapia and some personal photos of the surroundings (unfortunately I missed the caves).

Gura DobrogeiGura DobrogeiGura DobrogeiGura Dobrogei
Gura DobrogeiGura Dobrogei

- Movile Cave - unique karst cave situated near Mangalia and the Black Sea shore.

- Beautiful and peaceful monasteries:
  • Techirghiol Monastery - located here
  • Saon Monastery - located here
  • The Monastery of Uspeni - located here
  • The Monastery of Vovidenia - located on the southeastern outskirts of the Slava Rusă village.
  • and other smaller ones, usually placed in remote locations
- Many natural reservations protected by law (around 38 in Constanța county and another 34 in Tulcea), but pay attention when traveling that you might not notice that you've entered a natural reservation:
  • The Danube Delta - the most important of all (hope to getting there sometime and dedicate a post for it)
  • Măcin Mountains National Park - the highest mountains in Dobrogea
  • Techirghiol Lake – the largest saline lake in Romania, with a surface of 10,7 square km hosts a specific microfauna
  • Cheia Massive – situated on the left border of Casimcea Valey, it is sheltering approximately 565 rare specie of flowers
  • Agigea Dunes – about 120 species of rare plants
  • Hagieni Forest - hosts rare species of plants and animals
  • Babadag Forest - mixed reservation
  • Fântâniţa-Murfatlar reservation - rare species of plants and the Dobrogea turtle
  • "Canarelele Harşova" - Jurassic limestone containing coral fossils and not only
  • Fossiliferous Point of Aliman - situated near the Aliman commune in the Urluia Valley, the reservation contains the lakes Sarpul and Vederoasa
  • Fossiliferous Point of Seimenii Mari - contains about 60 species of fossils
  • Fossiliferous Point of Cernavodă - contains a fossil fauna of 72 species
  • Fossiliferous Point of Agighiol - rich Medium Triassic (Muschelkalk) fauna
  • Topalu NeoJurassic Reef – is situated between Cernavodă and Hârşova, hosting a Jurassic limestone complex containing corals, worms and sponges
  • Esechioi Forest - botanical and zoological reservation
  • Canaraua Fetii Forest - botanical and zoological reservation
  • Dumbrăveni Forest - botanical and zoological reservation
  • The Limestone Walls of Petroşani
  • The Fossil Lake "Credinţa"
  • Alan Bair Hill
-Dobrogea landscapes - peaceful and colorful places (some photos below):

Dobrudja (Dobrogea)Dobrudja (Dobrogea)
Dobrudja (Dobrogea)Dobrudja (Dobrogea)
(although it is said that the sunflower faces the sun, these ones were facing the other way, just to mess with my photos I guess :D )

Here's also some other links regarding Dobrogea (some of them also mentioned in the "intro" post):

Dobrogea Sites - Basarabi (Murfatlar)

Near the today's town of Murfatlar (formerly known as Basarabi), on the Tibişir Hill, a medieval cave complex (which was used between 9th-11th centuries) was found in 1957, during the exploitation of the chalk quarry.

The complex included catacombs and chapels carved in stone, surface chalk dwellings and tombs. On the walls and on the pillars were found carved inscriptions and anthropomorphic geometric figures.

The inscriptions consist of not deciphered runic inscriptions, glagolitic inscriptions, greek and slavic inscriptions.

The complex might have been both a spiritual (probably a monastery) and an economical settlement (for chalk exploitation).

More info and links on Wikipedia, satellite view here and some old photos below.

Dobrogea Sites - Păcuiul lui Soare

The island of Păcuiul lui Soare, a 6km long spit, hides a fortress built by the Emperor John Tzimiskes around 972AD (considered by some scientists to be the ancient Vicina), after the integration into the Byzantine Empire of the Scythia Minor province. In those times the Danubian limes was rebuilt and the fortress from Păcuiul lui Soare became a big naval fortress meant to oversee the enemy fleet on Danube and to defend the city of Durostorum.

In the beginning of the 15th century, at once with the ottoman domination, the fortress is abandoned and it's overwhelmed by aquatic vegetation.

Part of the ruins can be seen today, but most of them lie underwater. During droughty summers the ruins reveal themselves and even the remnants of an ancient sailing ship.

The location on Google maps and some photos here.

Dobrogea Sites - St. Andrew Monastery

The monastic establishment was founded in the year 1990, in the immediate vicinity of the cave where it is believed that the Holy Apostle Andrew preached the Gospel.

It was discovered in 1918 by Jean Dinu, a lawyer. After dreaming one night, he came in this area to find the cave in an advanced state of degradation. After cleaning it of the vegetation inside, he built a couple of cells and the first monks came in a short time.

It was sanctified in 1943 by the bishop Chesarie Paunescu but during the communist period it was destroyed and turned into a shelter for animals.

More info and photos can be found here while the location (low-res map) is this.

Below are some of my own photos:

St.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.Andrei - Panorama
St.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.AndreiSt.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.Andrei
St.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.AndreiSt.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.AndreiSt.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.AndreiSt.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.Andrei
St.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.AndreiSt.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.Andrei
St.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.AndreiSt.Andrew Monastery - Manastirea Sf.Andrei

Dobrogea Sites - Dervent Monastery

The Dervent Monks Monastery ("Across the Valley" in Turkish), was founded by the monk Elefterie Mihai between 1929 and 1936, on a place named "Healing Cross", near ex-Roman fortress Dervent, close to Danube bank.

The monastic establishment is visited by the many sick – particularly on the day of the “Lifting of the Holy Cross” (which is celebrated on 14th of September), being regarded as a sacred healing place.

More info and photos can be found here,here and here, while some photos from the official site (in romanian) can be found here.

The satellite location is here, and some of my own photos follow:

Dervent MonasteryDervent MonasteryDervent MonasteryDervent Monastery

Dobrogea Sites - Cocoş Monastery

The monastery was built in the years 1833-1835 by three Transylvanian monks that returned from Mount Athos: Visarion, Gherotie and Isaiea.

In 1842-1843 the first building is enlarged. In 1853, thanks to a donation made by Nicolae Hagi-Ghiţă Poenarul, a new church was built, which stood up until 1911. The belfry and two adjacent rooms were built between 1864 and 1883, hosting a printing press from 1911 until the First World War. The eastern side was built between 1905-1910, while between 1910 and 1911 the 24 cells were constructed.

All these constructions belong to the neo-romanian architectural style, promoted by Ion Mincu's school of architecture.In the beginning of the 19th century, both the church and the inside pavilions were refurbished according to the plans of architect Toma Radulescu. The church painting is the work of Italian artist F. De Biasse and of local iconographer Geo Cardas (who painted the porch).

The monastery museum has an important religious book collection, gathered from all the parishes of Tulcea county. Besides the impressive collections of fine and decorative art, archaeological findings and old coins, the monastery shelters the bones of old Christian martyrs Zotic, Attal, Kamasie and Filip (most probably from the years 303-304).

In 1971 in the Niculiţel village was found a Paleo-Christian compound, including a basilica built in the time of Emperors Valens and Valentinianus. Inside the crypt covered by a hemispheric cupola with pendants were found two martyr tombs: at the lower level there are two human skeletons, whose names are not known, while at the higher level, in a collective coffin, the skeletons of four martyrs: Otiose, Attalos, Kamasis and Philippos. The monument was restored and is protected by a construction set up around it.

Some info about the discovery can be found here, while the location is here. Below are two photos of the crypt from Wikipedia.

Some more info and photos regarding Cocoş monastery can be found an the Romanian Monasteries website and here.

The (low-res) satellite view can be found here and some photos below (an old aerial one and the rest personal photos).

Cocos Monastery
Cocos MonasteryCocos Monastery
Cocos MonasteryCocos Monastery

Dobrogea Sites - Celic Dere Monastery

The name of the monastery of nuns comes from the nearby brooklet Cilic-Dere. The name comes from Turkish, meaning "River of Steel".

The monastery was founded in 1838-1840, only o few years after the Cocoş monastery. The monastery characterizes itself by the open placement, without surrounding walls and big fortified gates, typical for most of the monasteries from the region.

An exposition of popular and church arts can also be visited at the monastery.

More info and photos can be found here and Google map here.

Below there is an old aerial photo along with some of my personal photos:

Manastirea Celic DereCelic Dere Monastery
Celic Dere MonasteryCelic Dere Monastery