The Danube Delta is a huge (almost 2,000 square miles), spread of water, reed and sun where the 1,177 mile long Danube meets the Black Sea, in the southeast part of Romania. You can find the Danube Delta on our overview map.
The delta was created over the past 5,000 yearsthrough much of recorded history. Before that, the delta was a gulf of the Black Sea. The deposition of million tons of alluvia links the three branches of the Danube: Chilia, Sulina and Sf. Gheorghe with a fascinating net of channels, brooks and ponds. Wherever you look, you can see floating islets covered by rush and reed, rainforest-like lianas, lakes with muddy depths and surfaces carpetted by water lilies. The silent boats of fishermen stir countless pelicans and flocks of cormorants and moor hens from their nests beyond the reed curtains.
The Danube Delta is listed as a UNESCO Reservation of the Biosphere because of its peculiar features and its variety of ecosystems (more than 25 types of natural ecosystems). There are 16 strictly protected areas in which no economical activities are allowed, areas for ecological rehabilitation and buffer zones between economical areas, where tourist activities are permitted as long as the environment is protected.
The net of lakes, channels and brooks is the main line of communications in the Delta and a great place for boating, water sports and angling. Furtuna, Merhei, Babina, Matita, Gorgova, Uzlina, Lumina, Puiu, and Rosu are some of the most beautiful lakes. Channels such as Sireasa-Sontea, Eracle-Lopatna, Litcov, Dunavat, Lipovenilor lead to the most hidden and charming places in the Danube Delta.
Over 310 species of birds have been spotted on the Danube Delta, including:
about 60% of the world's small cormorants
the greatest number of European colonies of white pelicans and Dalmatian pelicans
during winter time, almost half of the world's red-breasted-geese
Besides the resident species, 80 other species of birds from Asia, Africa and Northern areas of Europe come to hatch . Red breasted geese, long-tailed ducks, whooper swans, black-throated divers spend winters here. By spring time come pelicans, egrets, purple herons, spoonbills, curlews and others. White-fronted geese, ospreys, cranes, red-legged geese etc. pass in their way through the Danube Delta. Here are also some rare or near extinct species such as the griffon vulture, the teal, the sheld duck and the ruddy sheld duck.
The Dalmatian pelican and the white pelican, the sheld duck and the ruddy sheld 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 whooper swan are protected by law.
Angling Fishing for fresh water and saltwater fish is allowed the whole year, except during for the 60 day spawning season beginning in April. The fishing areas are yearly established by the Hunters and Anglers' Union and the Administration of the Biosphere Reservation "Delta Dunarii."
Boating: Options for getting on the water include druises in the Danube Delta, strolling on channels and brooks. There is plenty of opportunity to rent different types of boats at Tulcea, the "Lebada" Hotel at Crisan, the camping area at Crisan-sat, the tourist center at Murigiol, or from private individuals.
The abundant vegetation of the Danube Delta begins on the surfaces of the lakes on which thousands of white and yellow water lilies float. The Danube Delta is suited to the development of 1,150 species of plants, and is the largest unbroken reed area in the world. There's even a carnivorous plant, the Aldrovanda, which waits for its prey with wide open traps.
Of a great interest are the large reed surfaces and the floating islets, the gallery-woods of willows and black poplars, the warmth-loving oaks with beautiful boughs interwoven by lianas and creeper. It looks like a luxuriant tropical wood. Almost 20,000 acres are covered by different kinds of deciduous trees on the sand islets of Letea and Caraorman, which are scientific reservations under strict control and protection.
The 75 species of freshwater fish are one of the great wealths of the Danube Delta. Among the most common species are carp, crucian carp, pike, zander, sheat fish, perch. During the spawning period, anadromous seafish such as sturgeon and sterlets that live in the Black and Caspian Seas, swim up the Danube.
Tulcea is the gate of the Delta and the administrative center of the county. Built on the spot of the old Dacian and Roman Aegyssus (7th to 1st c. B.C.), like ancient Rome, this city of 110,000 inhabitants lays on 7 hills like Roma Madre, and is an important port. Some of the highlights include 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 City Museum is interesting, with its natural sciences, archaeology, arts and ethnography departments.
The Danube Delta has been inhabited for thousands of years. The descendants of the Scythian and Dacian tribes never ceased to live on this Romanian land surrounded by waters. During the 10th through 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 Genoa and Venice, Arabs and Greeks, and the native inhabitants. Places like Preslavat, Sulina, Isaccea, Chilia, Tulcea, Sfantu Gheorghe flourished. Old vocations, such fishing and shepherding, never stopped. 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.
Nowdays about 15,000 people live in the Danube Delta. Most of them work at 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 A.D), it became porto-franco in 1900 and still keeps architectural details of the "Europolis" described by the novelist Jean Barth, and historic buildings, such as the spot of the former European Comittee of the Danube and the Old Lighthouse built in 1802.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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