I visited the city of Constanta for a few days out during my Beach Holiday in Mamaia. The city had been in the back of my mind after chatting to a few Romanian people in the UK about it.
Constanta is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Romania, the city was founded around 600 BC. It is located in the Northern Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the warmest city in the country and as such is a popular tourist destination. I enjoyed my roam around the city which has some nice coastline a massive port and some interesting historical buildings.
What Wikipedia Says
One of the largest cities in Romania, Constanta is now an important cultural and economic centre, worth exploring for its archaeological treasures and the atmosphere of the old town centre 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.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constan%C8%9Ba
I had a few run-outs to Constanta city during my stay to have an explore. On the first trip, I walked in from the main shopping centre, City Park Mall in Mamaia. I initially meandered around the south of Lacul Tabacariei towards a wooden black church called Great Martyr Mina Church. Great Martyr Mina Church is an orthodox church with nice shaded areas in the garden. I had a good look around the area taking in the lake views.
I then headed in the general direction of the black sea via the suburbs of Constanta popping in a local shop on the way to grab some water, coke, and Ursus. It wasn’t long until I reached a cliff top where I could see in the distance the old town area of the city.
I headed down to the beach which was pretty quiet with nice sand underfoot. In true RJ style, I found a nice looking beach bar to get a dose to b-vitamins in the form of Staropramen lager and enjoyed watching the sea.
The Beaches of Mamaia were more geared to those that like a beach holiday but minus the views of the Old Town area. One feature I enjoyed was the clifftop zip line from the cliffs onto the beach, ideal for adrenaline junkies and reminded me of a few that I had enjoyed in the Forest of Dean, minus the coast.
Tomis Turistic Port
I disembarked the nice bar and headed towards the old town area of the city. This took me into Tomis Turistic Port a marina that had a great choice of restaurants on the waterfront, many with outside seating. The marina had many boats of different sizes, it was a shame I could not find a boat trip to see the local coast.
From the marina, I headed along the coastal footpath to the must-see and iconic Constanta Casino. The Casino is located on the boardwalk and has some fantastic sea views to admire. The boardwalk is also home to some well-maintained gardens, plenty of benches to watch the sea and a nice multi-level bar with views of the Casino called The View.
The Constanta Casino is a defunct casino, located in Constanta, Romania. It has been designated by the Romanian Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony as a historic monument. The Casino is architecturally classed as Art Nouveau in design and dates back to a wooden building built-in 1880. Constanta Cazino has been built 3 times with the current art nouveau design being completed in 1910. In the past, the city was Romania’s version of Monte Carlo. Sadly the casino is closed to visitors as the building has been abandoned. I can imagine this was the place to be and hope one day it gets restored to its former glory.
The Port of Constanta
This is the main port of Constanta and its entrance is located not far from the old town and visible from the coast road. I found it fascinating to see how big and active it was. I enjoyed watching the ships unloading cargo as well as the whole industrial vibe in the dockyard. It is not particularity stunning for those that like beauty but for those who appreciate industrial aspects of life it is worth having a look from above on the coast road.
I asked around to find out if there was an opportunity for ferry’s or boats that head north along the coast landing at Sfantu Gheorghe to cut out a long minibus journey to Tulcea and 4-hour ferry ride down the delta and see the Black Sea coast, sadly was out of luck as no such thing exists. I even submitted enquiries on Trip Advisor and again drew blank n my idea, maybe a business opportunity exists for someone there.
After having a ramble and chill by the coastal statues on the seafront next visible landmark I saw was The Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, drink finished and camera out I was going to visit this.
Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul
Located near to the Casino was this unique looking Cathedral with nice gardens, a place I visited twice on my time in the city. I have a nice sit out in the shaded areas of the garden while refreshing with some sparkled water from my day bag and admired the structure of the exterior. It looked different than the Orthodox cathedrals I had seen throughout the country.
On the first visit, it was rather busy so when I passed a few days later and was quiet I had to venture inside to see the interior. The entry was through a 2 arched doorway with white pillars between each arch, quite decorative and set the tone for me.
The inside of the cathedral was really special and decorated in a very intricate manner. As well as the decorative nature of the inside it was a haven to cool down and reflect while others prayed in the tranquil environment. I quite like the Orthodox style of art inside but never really hang around too long inside active places of worship, so I took a few discrete shots and departed via the shop and picked up a postcard for posterity.
The old town has a variety of churches and other religious buildings such as St. Nicholas Church, which is the same name as the church in my home village. I didn’t manage to get one good photo of this one while ambling the streets but remember it being very white but must have been on a mission to find a suitable lunch spot. Also in the area is the Roman Catholic Church of St. Anthony and Constanta Mosque.
The old towns site streets and squares were all full of bars and restaurants serving a variety of food types.
I was having a western day and needed a burger fix as well as some B-Vitamins in the form of beer so opted for a quiet place with outside seating which options were in abundance.
On a second visit to the city, I arrived by minibus from Mamaia Nord to the station. Not far from the train station is Parcul Gării a very nice park for a wander or sit in the sun. There are some very nice trees and belive some of the poplar and chestnut trees are older than 60 years.
The centrepiece of the park is a kinetic fountain that is great to watch for a while. The fountain was made in the ’70s from stainless steel from the local railway station.
I felt safe here and had a bottle of beer at a bar at the edge heading towards the pretty Ferdinand Boulevard.
Heading towards the old town I reached the Archeological park which contained a variety of statues with the centrepiece being the Victory Monument. This is the monument of victory of communism against fascism, this was built in 1968 by sculptor Boris Caragea. This was designed to signify the anti-fascist battle of the Romanians. From here I headed along the coast road overlooking the massive dockyards towards the port area of the city.
Museum of National History and Archaeology
The Museum of National History and Archeology is located in Ovidius Square in the old town area. This is one of the best museums in Romania second only to the National History Museum in Bucharest. To the front of the museum is Ovidiu’s Statue or Statuia lui Ovidiu din Constanța. The statue is dedicated to the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, the statue was built in 1887.
The Museum building was started back in 1879 and was formed to prevent smuggling of archaeological artefacts from Constanta. The museum contains over 400000 objects dating from the Paleolithic era up to more modern objects. The Museum includes Greek, Romanian, Byzantine and medieval objects of interest and fantastic for history buffs. http://www.minac.ro/
The Museum of Folk Art
A lovely looking building dating back to 1893 houses the Museum of Folk Art. Inside you can view art traditional ceramics, woodwork, glassware, textiles and more, fascinating collection. https://www.muzeuetnocta.ro/