Despite the fact that I have visited Romania 2 times, it is my first time in Constanta, second biggest city of the country. Actually I visited Romania many times when I was studying at university. But I had never a chance to visit Constanta. This time I rent a car in Varna during my trip to Bulgaria and go towards Constanta.
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Constanta is the second biggest city of the country after Bucharest, the capital city. The city, which is also known as the coastal capital city of Romania, was establishhed in BC 6th century. The city, which was established by the Greek immigrants, began to be ruled by the Romans since BC 1st century. It is known that the famous Roman poet Ovidius was sent to exhile here. In memory of that, the statue of Ovidius was erected in front of the Archeology Museum in the city.
Since the Constanta city was rebuilt by the Emperor Konstantinus II in 6th century, it was known as Constantiana. The city, which was under control of Bulgarians for a while, was captured by Byzantines in 971 once again. This city, which was named as “Kötence” after Ottoman Empire ruled the area in 1419, was initially a small port city. It was between the borders of Ottoman Empire until 19th century. With Freedom Wars in between 1877 and 1878, the area was added to the Romanian soil. When it was under the control of Soviet regime, shipyards, railways and factories were built in the city.
Now it is a famous touristic place. You may witness that better when you travel to Constanta from Varna. Along the way, there are many big hotels and touristic facilities named Jupiter, Neptun, Saturn, Mangalia and Venus.
I arrived Constanta after a 2,5 hour long journey. At the border between Bulgaria and Romania, you can enter the country after 15 minutes without any problem.
Places To Visit In Constanta;
- Kral (Carol) Mosque
- National History and Archeology Museum
- Ovidius Square and Statue
- Petru si Pavel Cathedral
- Anton de Padova Church
- Casino Building
- Farul Genover Genoese Lighthouse
Kral (Carol) Mosque
It is sure that every visitor who came to the city visits first this mosque which is also known as Büyük Mahmudiye Mosque. It was built by Aziz Mehmet Paşa in 1823 by the order of II. Mahmud, one of the Ottoman sultans. After the partial collapse of the mosque, Romanian king Carol I made it rebuilt on its own base in 1910 in order to reward the loyalty of Muslim Turks and Tatarians who fought for Romania during World War I. The Romanian architect of the mosque combined Byzatinian and Eygyptian motives. The mosque is still open for worship. Especially on Fridays, the khutbah is read in three languages. Veli Revan, the young imam of the mosque, makes a speech in Turkish, Romanian and Arabic on every Friday. Both you can pray and watch the city landscape from the top of the minaret.
National History and Archeology Museum
Just a few steps away from the mosque is the National History and Archeology Museum. The museum is in a quite big square. National History and Archeology Museum is a must-see place with its different architecture. At the entrance gate of the museum, there is a statue of Roman poet Ovidius. He spent 8 years in exhile in Constanta. From ancient writings to coins, artifacts, weapons and swords found during acheological excavations, you can see many things when you enter the museum. But while touring the museum, I did not see any writing, coin, weapon or artifact from Ottoman Empire despite they were once a country ruled by Ottomans for 500 years. In a few artifacts shown in the museum, no detailed info were given. Since I am a Turk, I thought that these artifacts remained in Ottoman period.
Visiting Hours: Summer 09:00 – 20:00, Winter 09:00 – 19 :00
Entrance Fee: Adult 15 Lei , Student 8 Lei ( 1 Euro = 4,5 Lei)
Ovidius Square and Statue
This is the square named after Ovidius Publius Naso, one of the important poets of Latin literature. You can see the Ovidius statue in the square which was designed by the famous architect Ettore Ferrari in 1887. The place where the statue located is a meeting spot for local people.
Petru si Pavel Cathedral
It is the biggest cathedral in Constanta. It was rebuilt by the architect İyon Mincu in between 1883 and 1885. This luxurious cathedral is a popular wedding venue. During my visit, there was a wedding too. It was not only in the cathedral, also in the whole city. I even thought that I visited the city in a day when a mass wedding occured. I could not get into the cathedral but I could take some pictures from outside.
Sf. Anton de Padova Basilica
The original basilica in Constanta was built in 13th century and a chapel was added to it in 1885. That basilica which was damaged during World War I, was rebuilt in between 1935 and 1937. The basilica was originated from the Catholic churhes in Northern Italy. Small red brick were used during its construction.
The old casino which begane the symbol of the city. It was built by the architects Daniel Renard and Petre Antonescu during World War II. The casino which was opened in 1911 hosted Russian imperial family who visited the city in 1914. It is now a popular place where people walking on the coast and couples come to watch the sunset.
It is just across the casino on the coast. I did not prefer to visit it but if you want, you can do it. In the aquarium which was opened in 1958, the most interesting animals are exotic sea breams and sturgeons which are unique in the world.
Farul Genover Genoese Lighthouse
This lighthouse on the coast is 26 meter high. The lighthouse was built in 1860 in order to honor the Genoese merchants who established the sea trade community in 13th century.
How To Go To Constanta?
There are direct flights to Constanta from Turkey and Europe. I first went to Varna in Bulgaria and then rented a car and drove to Constanta. If you want to travel to Constanta from Bucharest, you can come to the city after a 3,5-4 hour journey by bus or train.