Best Sights Tour Ukraine – Romania
Between the Danube and the Black Sea region lies the area rich in history, where live peacefully multiple nationality. North Dobruja is a country of contrasts, consisting of the counties of Tulcea and Constanta, on the south-eastern Romania. The Danube Delta is the youngest of the Romanian land and best conserved delta in Europe (2681 km2).
Since 1991 it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mountain Mechinuluy included in the National Park, recognized as the oldest mountains in the country, and Dobruzhskaya steppe is located in the very dry climatic zone of the country. In the course of history, the region learned Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, traces of which can be found today. Ancient Greek colonies were established in Dobruja in the 7th century B.C., with the founding of Histria, 70km north of the regional capital Constanta. Later, this became a Roman province, and a base for conquering the Dacians. From 1418, the region fell to the Turks and remained under Ottoman rule until they were expelled in 1878; Dobruja was divided in two, the southern portion going to Bulgaria and Northern Dobruja becoming part of Romania.
Current tour is including destinations of the Ukrainian part of Bessarabia and Romanian part of Dobruja (which is also known as North Dobruja).
|Day 1||Odessa – Belgorod-Dniester – VylkoveNight in Vylkove|
|Day 2||Vylkove – Izmail (79.5 km)Night in Izmail|
|Day 3||Izmail-Orlivka-Issacea- Tulcea –Night in Tulcea|
|Day 4||Tulcea – MedgidiaNight in Medgidia|
|Day 5||Medgidia – Mangalia|
1. Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. City in southern Bessarabia on the right bank of the Dniester Liman, 18 km from the Black Sea; a raion center in Odesa oblast. In 600 BC this was the site of the Greek colony of Tyras. In the 9th century AD it was a city of the tribes of Tivertsians and Ulychians named Bilhorod; in the 13th century it became part of the Principality of Galicia-Volhynia. In the 14th century it was ruled by the Genoese (and renamed Moncastro), and for a time in the 15th century was part of the Moldavian principality. In 1484 the city was captured by the Turks and in 1503 renamed Akkerman (White Rock); during the 17th and 18th centuries it was the seat of the Bilhorod Horde. In 1812 it came under Russian rule; from 1918 to 1940 it belonged to Romania and was called Cetatea Alba. In 1940 it became part of the USSR; in 1944 it was renamed Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. Between the two world wars the city was the center of Ukrainian cultural life in southern Bessarabia. Its region is inhabited by Moldavians, Russians, andBulgarians, as well as Ukrainians. The city has a food industry, with an affiliate of the fish-canning association Antarktika; and a reinforced-concrete-products, a furniture, and a clothing factory. It also has an ethnographic museum, founded in 1934, which contains among its exhibits archeological finds from the city of Tyras. The city’s architectural monuments include the well-preserved castle fortress (built in 1438–54 by Master Fedorko), with 26 turrets, 4 gates, and a citadel whose walls are almost 2 km long, and a restored church built during the 14th and 15th centuries. The city also has a seaport, constructed in 1970.
2. The Akkerman Fortress. Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky, along with Rome and Athens, is among the ten most ancient towns of the world. Tourists usually are attracted to this place by well-known Bilhorod-Dnistrovska (Akkerman) fortress.
The Akkerman fortress was founded on the ruins of the ancient town Tyr as an impregnable citadel. Though being in “venerable” age and participant of many historical events, the fortress has managed to survive through the centuries, and preserve its outstanding power and grandeur. Today it is considered the best preserved medieval fortification in Ukraine.
The houses here are built on artificial islands of mud instead of the streets – channels, which locals call the “Erik”, and instead of pavement – a wooden “masonry”.
Residents move by Erik on boats. Boats are in almost every home. Each is numbered. Register of personal water transport is necessary because by the boat people go to the gardens, which are located in the flooded areas – the islands in the delta of the Danube, and this is the border area.
Among the objectives that are worth to visit in Vylkove are:
-Local History Museum “House of the Fisherman”.
Located in the heart of Vilkovo building of the House of the fisherman is very simple in terms of architecture. Near the monument to the fisherman, who was transferred here from the territory of a fish factory. The House of the fisherman is the author’s historical museum Vilkovo, created by the artist Alexander Sharonov. In 2002 he opened an art gallery with his canvases and the first exhibits of the local history museum – these were two Greek amphorae and Turkish cauldron. Then the artist swapped his paintings of historical artifacts, or buy them on the money from the sale of paintings. The basis of the exhibition went to 54 canvases of the artist, as well as icons, objects of everyday life of the Old Believers and other peoples living in the territory of Bessarabia (the Ants, Goths, Greeks, Scythians, Romans, Turks, and others.). The museum includes weapons since the Transdanubian Sich, the Russian-Turkish war, as well as the Second World War.
-Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin.
-The church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. This is the second Old Believer church, located on the island of Kalimbeyka. Compared to the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin it is young – built in the early XX century. It is built in the shape of a ship: the architect decided to use one of the ancient symbols – the temple of God, sailing in a stormy sea of life.
Nicholas Church is called “Ukrainian”. This new rite Orthodox church was founded here in 1818, and after seven years consecrated in the name of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, although, according to the legend, more earlier, the first wooden church was built in Vilkovo by Zaporozhye Cossacks who moved here in the late XVIII century. In 1902 on the site of a wooden church at the expense of the parishioners was built a new stone church.
In its architecture intertwined ideas of Baroque and Art Nouveau. The iconostasis was created under the influence of the master Faberge. The consecration day became a wide holiday, it finished by lunch, during which people donated money for the purchase of icons and church plates. Some of the citizens were in Kiev, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Athos had shrines, which bought the icon for the temple. Some of the icons of temple hitherto preserved inscriptions confirming their purchase on Mount Athos. Romanian King Ferdinand visited the temple Vylkove gave the Shroud; local merchants Zarzar and Stamati bought the Throne. The temple is decorated with chandeliers and 12 beautiful brass candlesticks. They are made in a factory Yu Gostunskii Podolsky district, Moscow province in 1902.
5. Izmail. Izmail is a historic city on the Danube river in south-western Ukraine. The city is the administrative center of the Izmail district in the Odessa region and the largest Ukrainian port on the Danube. The World Wildlife Fund’s Isles of Izmail Regional Landscape Park is located nearby. The town was first mentioned with the name Ismailiye, derived from the name of the OttomanGrand Vizier Izmail, the adding of initial i being a feature of Ottoman Turkish.
Suvorov announced the capture of Ismail in 1791 to the Empress Catherine in a doggerel couplet, after the assault had been pressed from house to house, room to room, and nearly every Muslim man, woman, and child in the city had been killed in three days of uncontrolled massacre, 40,000 Turks dead, a few hundred taken into captivity. At the end of the war, Izmail was returned to the Ottoman Empire, but Russian forces took it for the third time on 14 September 1809. After it was ceded to Russia with the rest of Bessarabia by the 1812 Treaty of Bucharest, the town was rebuilt thoroughly.
This union was recognized by the United Kingdom, France and Italy in the Treaty of Paris, but not by the Soviet Union which had territorial claims over Bessarabia. In 1940, and again during World War II, it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army and included (August 1940) in the Ukrainian SSR; the region was occupied in 1941–1944 by the Romanian Army participating in Operation Barbarossa. During the Soviet period following World War II, many Russians and Ukrainians migrated to the town, gradually changing its ethnic composition. The Izmail District was formed in 1940 and the town remained its administrative centre until the district was merged to the Odessa region in 1954. Since 24 August 1991, Izmail has been part of independent Ukraine.
6. Isaccea. Isaccea is a small town in Tulcea County, on the right bank of the Danube, 35 km north-west of Tulcea. The town has been inhabited for thousands of years, as it is one of the few places in all the Lower Danube that can be easily forded and thus an easy link between the Balkans and the steppes of Southern Ukraine and Russia. The Danube was for a long time the border between the Romans, later Byzantines and the “barbarian” migrating tribes in the north, making Isaccea a border town, conquered and held by dozens of different peoples. The fort of Noviodunum for one of the most important centres of the defense system at the Lower Danube. The Celtic name Neviodunum, mentioned by Ptolemy, shows that the settlement was inhabited from the pre-Roman age onwards. This settlement was later overbuilt by a Roman bathhouse (thermae) and again overbuilt by a large late Roman fort.
Late Roman maps demonstrate that it was located at a strategic and also economically important place, where important cross-roads of the Danube area met. According to Procopius and Hierocles, this town was also the place of the negotiations between Emperor Valens and Athanarich for the peace conclusion in the year 369 AD. During the VI century AD Noviodunum is attested as an episcopal centre.
7. Tulcea. Tulcea is a city in Romania, located on seven hills, like Rome, which was an important harbor in ancient times. The city was founded by the Greeks in the VII century BC and became known as Egissos (Aegyssus). In the I century BC, it was conquered by the Romans, who rebuilt and developed city in accordance with the level of technological development and the vision of architecture, including, high walls and towers. Egissos first mentioned in the documents of Diodorus (3rd century BC) and later, in the works of the poet Ovid, who refers to his «Ex Ponto» which indicates that the town was named after its founder – Dhaka on name Carpyus Aegyssus.Than the city of Tulcea consistently passed from hand to hand. From the 3rd to the 7th century it was ruled by the Byzantine Empire, from the 10th to the 13th century Genoa and the Ottoman Empire, until it finally was reunited with Romania in 1878. Local Lipovans Russian and Turkish minority, give the city a multi-ethnic flavor.
The main attractions of this Romanian town are:
-The Church of St. Nicholas.
It is located in the central area of Tulcea city, the St Nicholas Cathedral is an imposing monument built in the Byzantine style. Built over a century, St. Nicholas Cathedral has witnessed transformations that the city has suffered throughout history. The aproval construction document of the cathedral was signed by Bishop Dionysius of Durostor in 1862 and the church was built on the site of older churches, built by the romanian refugee of Bestepe village, today the village is located about 25 kilometers east of Tulcea. For a lont time the new church was closed by the ottomans who ruled Dobrogea in those days. Situation changes on 8 November 1887 when a group of orthodox believers, headed by Greek Bishop of Dobrogea decide to handle the new church. Romanian believers fail to fulfill its approach and take possession of their cathedral. On entering the church in the romanian possesion, the place of worship requires many improvements,religious objects were absent and it was unpainted. In the following years, the church suffered a number of changes, culminating in the 1897 when the furniture prestent today was made and assembled.
Also in the same year the mural part is finished. The painting which can be see today inside the cathedral was fully executed between 1905-1906. St. Nicholas Cathedral of Tulcea has a significant number of objects with significant historical and artistic value, such as a Holy Gospel dressed in silver, dating from 1888, vessels made of silver and other precious metals, books of different origins of hundred years old, the two bells cast in 1882 in Bavaria, and more.
The Azizie Mosque, the largest mosque built by the Ottoman Empire in Dobrogea, was built in 1877 by the local ruler Izmail Pasha. Declared historical and architectural monument, the mosque is the most important place of worship for the Muslim community in Tulcea. Built with 85 cm thick carved stone, the mosque has 32 windows, of which 18 are placed in the upper area, in order to provide light to the inner terrace surrounding the mosque on three sides and 14 windows in the lower area. The construction has only one room serving as praying room. At the front entrance, the mosque has inside a high footstep where the believers leave their footwear. Next to the building is the de 25 m height minaret, having 3,55 m in diameter. The Mosque is located in the centre of the city.
-The History and Archeology Museum.
The History and Archeology Museum presents a history of the northern Dobrogea region from ancient times to the medieval age. There you can find nearly 90,000 archaeological objects, numismatic pieces and old documents organized in special collections which include ceramics, bronzes, sculptural and epigraphic pieces, jewels and paleo-Christian objects.The museum is situated on the site of the ancient fortress of Aegyssus. The well-worth-visiting museum is presented on two levels, with the upper level given over to extensive Roman findings and the lower level displaying even more fascinating artifacts of pre-Roman civilisations going back some 6000 years. The museum contains collections of archaeology of north Dobrogea: Prehistoric and Protohistoric, Greek-Hellenistic, Dacian-Roman, Medieval (ceramics, glass, tools, weapons, jewelry), numismatics: antique, medieval, modern (coin hoards of Roman, Genovese, Tatar pieces), lapidarium (epigraphic and sculpture monuments).
-Niculitel Basilica & Sarica Niculitel Vineyards.
The Christian basilica built in 370 AD during the reign of Emperor Valerius. In 1971, torrential rain washed away the earth that hid under a church, opening a unique monument, the crypt housing the remains of four Christian martyrs (Zotikos, Attalos, Kamasis and Phillipos). These four burial can now be seen in the Cocos Monastery.
Cocos Monastery, the most beautiful monastery in Romania, was founded in 1833. In addition to the impressive collections of fine and decorative art, archaeological finds and ancient coins, there are the remains of the oldest Christian martyrs discovered in Europe.
-The Art Museum “Lucian Grigorescu”.
It was opened in 1964 with exhibitions of Romanian contemporary painting, sculpture, and graphics, signed Lucian Grigorescu, Marius Bunescu, Ion Jalea and others. The permanent exhibition takes in classic and modern artworks but also works of contemporary art classics: Lucian Grigorescu, Nicolae Tonitza, Francisc Şirato, Ştefan Dumitrescu, Iosif Iser. The museum also displays a collection of ceramic artworks. In 1991 the museum was named after Lucian Grigorescu, a town native, who was deemed as the most Latin among the Romanian painters. The city honors the painter every year on 1 February, the anniversary of his birthday.
-The “Abdul Mejid” Mosque.
Built in 1860 by the Ottoman Government, the mosque is an historic and architectural monument. It was named after the sultan Abdul Mejid – who reigned between 1839 and 1861. The mosque is served by an imam and a muezzin. The building respects the traditional form of the Muslim cultural placements, decorated in the interior with oriental ornaments and inscriptions in Arabic.
-The Serbian Heroes’ Monument
In 1926, Medgidia commemorated the heroism of the Serbian division which fought in Dobruja during the World War I (see the Romanian Campaign (World War I)) by inaugurating a monument in its honor. With this occasion a ceremony was held with the participation of Romanian and Yugoslavian officials; wreaths were laid at the base of the monument by the Serbian and Romanian royal families.
Its first silver coinage was minted approximately 350 BC. In 72 BC, Callatis was conquered by the Roman general Lucullus and was assigned to the Roman province of Moesia Inferior. Throughout the 2nd century AD, the city built defensive fortifications and the minting of coinage under the Roman emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla continued. Callatis suffered multiple invasions in the 3rd century AD but recovered in the 4th century AD to regain its status as an important trade hub and port city. From 7th to 11th century the city was under the rule of the First Bulgarian Empire.
Best Sights of Mangalia:
-The ruins of the Callatis citadel.
-The Archaeology Museum.
A museum which shelters a rich collection of amphorae and sculptures from the Hellenistic epoch, fragments of stone sarcophagi. It features a collection of Hellenistic coins, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry and tools dating back from the Greek, Roman and Dacian eras. Most items were recovered from the ancient city of Callatis. The facility also includes a library housing over one thousand volumes of archeology related books.
-Turkish Esmahan Sultan Mosque (1573).
One of the oldest mosques in Romania and the only medieval monument of Mangalia. Dating from the 16th century, the mosque was built by Esma, daughter of Sultan Selim II (1566-74) and wife of grand vizier (greatest minister of the Sultan) Sokollu Mehmed Pasha. It is still used by the local Muslim community and located in the centre of town within a large garden that also contains Ottoman grave stones. Esmehan Sultan Mosque was constructed in 1575 by its namesake, Esmehan, the daughter of Ottoman sultan Selim II and wife of Ottoman Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha. It was renovated in the 1990s and includes a graveyard with 300-year old tombstones.