Constanța - belvedere


Coat of arms
Constanța is located in Romania
Coordinates: 44°10.4′N 28°38.3′E / 44.1733°N 28.6383°E / 44.1733; 28.6383Coordinates: 44°10.4′N 28°38.3′E / 44.1733°N 28.6383°E / 44.1733; 28.6383
Country Romania
County Constanța County
Founded 7th century B.C. as Tomis
 – Mayor Radu Ștefan Mazăre
 – City 124.89 km2 (48.2 sq mi)
 – Metro 1,013.5 km2 (391.3 sq mi)
Elevation 25 m (82 ft)
Population (est. 2010[1])
 – City 301,221
 – Density 2,418/km2 (6,262.6/sq mi)
 – Metro 446,595
 – Ethnic groups Romanians, Turks, Tatars, Roma, Greeks
Postal code 900xxx
Languages Romanian
Sister cities: Sulmona, Turku, Yokohama, Brest, Istanbul, Rotterdam, Odessa, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Dobrich, Thessaloniki, Mobile, Trapani, Sidon, Lattakia, Heraklion, İzmir, Alexandria, Santos, Havana, Shanghai, Perugia, Novorossiysk.

Constanța (Romanian pronunciation: [konˈstant͡sa]; historical names: Tomis, Greek: Κωνστάντια, Konstantia, Bulgarian: Кюстенджа, Kyustendzha, Turkish: Köstence) is the oldest extant city in Romania, founded around 600 BC. The city is located in the Dobruja region of Romania, on the Black Sea coast. It is the capital of Constanța County and the largest city in the region.

The city of Constanța is one of the most important in Romania, one of four roughly equal-size cities which rank after Bucharest. The Constanța metropolitan area, founded in 2007, comprises 14 localities located at a maximum distance of 30 km (19 mi) from the city, and with 446,595 inhabitants[2] it is the second largest metropolitan area in Romania, after Bucharest.

The Port of Constanța has an area of 39.26 km2 (15.16 sq mi) and a length of about 30 km (19 mi). It is the largest port on the Black Sea, and one of the largest ports in Europe.[3]



Tomis (also called Tomi) was a Greek colony in the province of Scythia Minor on the Black Sea shore, founded around 600 BC for commercial exchanges with the local Getic populations. The name may likely be derived from Greek Τομή meaning cutpiece, section.

According to one myth dating from Antiquity, found in the Bibliotheca, it was founded by Aeetes:

"When Aeetes discovered the daring deeds done by Medea, he started off in pursuit of the ship; but when she saw him near, Medea murdered her brother and cutting him limb from limb threw the pieces into the deep. Gathering the child's limbs, Aeetes fell behind in the pursuit; wherefore he turned back, and, having buried the rescued limbs of his child, he called the place Tomi."[4]

Another legend is recorded by Jordanes (after Cassiodorus), who ascribes the foundation of the city to a Getae queen (The origin and deeds of the Goths):

"After achieving this victory (against Cyrus the Great) and winning so much booty from her enemies, Queen Tomyris crossed over into that part of Moesia which is now called Lesser Scythia - a name borrowed from Great Scythia -, and built on the Moesian shore of the Black Sea the city of Tomi, named after herself."

In 29 BC the Romans captured the region from the Odryses, and annexed it as far as the Danube, under the name of Limes Scythicus.

In AD 8, the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC-17) was banished here by Augustus, where he found his death eight years later. He laments his exile in Tomis in his poems: Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto. Tomis was "by his account a town located in a war-stricken cultural wasteland on the remotest margins of the empire".[5] A statue of Ovid stands in the Ovid Square (Piața Ovidiu) of Constanța, in front of the History Museum (the former City Hall).

Constanța panorama in 1910
The port of Constanța in 1941

A number of inscriptions found in the city and its vicinity show that Constanța lies where Tomis once stood. The city was afterwards included in the Province of Moesia, and, from the time of Diocletian, in Scythia Minor, of which it was the metropolis. After the split of the Roman Empire, Tomis fell under the rule of the Eastern Roman Empire. During Maurice's Balkan campaigns, Tomis was besieged by the Avars in the winter of 597/598.

Tomis was later renamed to Constantiana in honour of Constantia, the half-sister of Constantine the Great (274-337). The earliest known usage of this name was "Κωνστάντια" ("Constantia") in 950. The city lay at the seaward end of the Great Wall of Trajan, and has evidently been surrounded by fortifications of its own. After successively becoming part of the Bulgarian Empire for over 500 years, and later of the independent principality of Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici and of Wallachia under Mircea I of Wallachia, Constanța fell under the Ottoman rule around 1419.

A railroad linking Constanța to Cernavodă was opened in 1860. In spite of damage done by railway contractors there are considerable remains of ancient masonry walls, pillars, etc. An impressive public building, thought to have originally been a port building, has been excavated, and contains the substantial remains of one of the longest mosaic pavements in the world. In 1878, after the Romanian War of Independence, Constanța and the rest of Northern Dobruja were ceded by the Ottoman Empire to Romania. The city became Romania's main seaport and transit point for much of Romania's exports.

On October 22, 1916 (during World War I), the Central Powers (German, Turkish and Bulgarian troops) occupied Constanța. According to the Treaty of Bucharest in May 1918, article 10.b (treaty which has never been ratified by Romania), Constanța remained under the joint control of the Central Powers. Allied troops liberated the city in 1918 after the successful offensive on the Thessaloniki front knocked Bulgaria out of the war.

In the interwar years, the city became Romania's main commercial hub, so that by the 1930s over half of the national exports were going through the port. During World War II, when Romania joined the Axis powers, Constanța was one of the country's main targets for the Allied bombers. While the town was left relatively undamaged, the port suffered extensive damage, recovering only in the early 1950s.


Mamaia, administratively a district of Constanța
Mamaia, view towards Constanța

Constanța is the administrative center of the county with the same name and the largest city in the EU Southeastern development region of Romania. The city is located on the Black Sea coast, having a beach length of 13 km. Mamaia, an administrative district of Constanța, is the largest and most modern resort on the Romanian coast. Close around there are mineral springs and sea bathing also attracts many visitors in summer.


Constanța has a moderate continental climate with considerable maritime and some subtropical influences. There are four distinct seasons during the year.

Summer (late May to mid September) is warm, dry and sunny with a July and August average of 23 °C (73 °F). Constanța rarely experiences very hot days often found in the interior, because of the moderating influence of the Black Sea. Nights are warm because of the heat stored by the sea.

Autumn starts in mid or late September; days are long and relatively warm. Nights can still be tropical (temperatures above 20°C) on an average of 10 days in September. September is often warmer than June, because of the heat accumulated by the Black Sea. The first frost occurs on average in mid November.

Winter is much balmier compared to other cities in southern Romania. Snow is not abundant but the weather can be very windy and thus, unpleasant. Winter arrives much later than in the interior and December weather is often mild with high temperatures reaching 12 °C (54 °F). Average January temperature is 1 °C (34 °F). Winter storms when the sea becomes particularly treacherous are a common occurrence between December and March.

Spring arrives early but it's quite cool. Often in April and May the Black Sea coast is one of the coolest places in Romania found at an altitude lower than 500 m (1,640.42 ft).

4 of the warmest 7 years since 1889 occurred after the year 2000 (2000, 2001, 2007 and 2008). The winter and the summer of 2007 were respectively the warmest and the second warmest in recorded history with January (+6.5°C) and June (+23.0°C) breaking all-time records. Overall 2007 was the warmest year since 1889 when weather recording began.

Climate data for Constanța
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3
Average low °C (°F) −4
Precipitation mm (inches) 29
Avg. rainy days 10 8 7 7 8 8 5 4 4 6 10 9 86
Sunshine hours 93 112 124 180 248 300 341 310 240 155 90 62 2,255
Source: [6]


Historical population of Constanța
Year Population  %±
1853 5,204
1879 5,430[7] 4.3%
1900 12,725[8] 134.3%
1912 census 27,201[9] 113.7%
1930 census 59,164 117.5%
1948 census 78,586 32.8%
1956 census 99,676 26.8%
1966 census 150,276 50.7%
1977 census 256,978 71%
1992 census 350,581 36.4%
2002 census 310,471 −11.4%
2007 estimate 304,279[10] −2%

According to the last Romanian census, from 2002, there were 310,471 people living within the city of Constanța, making it the fifth most populous city in Romania. The next census will be in 2011.

As of 2010, an estimated 301,221 inhabitants live within the city limits,[1] a decrease from the figure recorded at the 2002 census.

After Bucharest, the capital city, Romania has a number of major cities that are roughly equal in size: Constanța, Iași, Cluj-Napoca and Timișoara. None of them exceeds 320,000 inhabitants.

The metropolitan area of Constanța has a permanent population of 446,595 inhabitants,[2] i.e. 65% of the total population of the county, and a minimum average of 120,000 per day, tourists or seasonal workers, transient people during the high tourist season.

Ethnicity 1853[11] 1896[12] 1912[13] 2002[14]
All 5,204 10,419 27,201 310,471
Romanian 279 (5.4%) 2,519 (24.1%) 15,663 (57.6%) 286,332 (92.2%)
Tatar 1,853 (35.6%) 2,202 (21.1%) 277 (1%) 8,724 (2.8%)
Turkish 104 (2.0%) 2,451 (9%) 9,018 (2.9%)
Greek 1,542 (29.6%) 2,460 (23.6%) 3,170 (11.6%) 546 (0.17%)
Bulgarian 342 (6.5%) 1,060 (10.1%) 940 (3.4%) 48 (0.01%)
Jewish 344 (6.6%) 855 (8.2%) 1,266 (4.6%) 44 (0.01%)
Roma/Gypsy 127 (2.4%) n/a n/a 2,962 (0.95%)


View toward Constanța shipyard

Constanța is one of Romania's main industrial, commercial and tourist centers.[15] During the first half of 2008, some 3,144 new companies were established in Constanța and its neghbouring localities, a number surpassed only in Bucharest and Cluj County.[16] The Port of Constanța is the largest on the Black Sea and the fourth largest in Europe.[17] The city also boasts a comparably large shipyard.[18]

Tourism has been an increasingly important economic activity in recent years. Although Constanța has been promoted as a seaside resort since the time of Carol I, the development of naval industry had a detrimental effect on the city's beaches.[19] Nevertheless, due to its proximity to other major tourist destinations, Constanța receives a significant number of visitors every year, who discover and visit the city's monuments and attractions. Also, Constanța is a centre of commerce and education, both of which significantly contribute to the local economy.


The opening, in 1895, of the railway to Bucharest, which crosses the Danube by a bridge at Cernavodă, brought Constanța a considerable transit trade in grain and petroleum, which are largely exported; coal and coke head the list of imports, followed by machinery, iron goods, and cotton and woollen fabrics.

One of Constanța's distinct pink buses, running on Route 44.
A2 motorway

The A2 motorway, linking Constanța to Bucharest, is almost completed. Currently, it runs from Bucharest to Cernavodă and is slated to open to Constanța by 2011. This will coincide with the opening of the city's outer traffic ring (part of A4 motorway) which would divert heavy traffic to and from the city port and to Mangalia.

The city is served by the Mihail Kogălniceanu International Airport.

Port of Constanța includes Constanța North Port and Constanța South Port, is the 4th largest in Europe and is protected by breakwaters, with a lighthouse at the entrance, is well defended from the North winds, but those from the South, South-East, and South-West prove sometimes highly dangerous. The Black Sea squadron of the Romanian fleet is stationed here. A large canal (the Danube-Black Sea Canal) connects the Danube River to the Black Sea at Constanța.

Constanța's public transport system is run by Regia Autonomă de Transport în Comun Constanța (RATC), and consists of 17 bus lines, and 2 trolleybus lines. In the early 2000s, the city bought 130 new MAZ buses, replacing the aging DAC buses. 90% of its bus fleet is currently made up of the new buses, which are distinctly painted in bright colours, such as pink, yellow and green. There are also Doubble decker busses that run in the summertime and provide access to and from the city's resort. As of July 2009 the cost of 1 ticket is 3 RON. Some bus lines run on decommissioned tram lines - the tram cars were almost 40 years old, not safe and too noisy so the tram lines were removed, widening the boulevards and also easing the pressure on traffic. As of July 2009 all the tram lines have been decommissioned and replaced with long-wheelbase buses. There is also a private line of minibuses (maxi-taxi) which serves some routes.


Situated at the crossroads of several commercial routes, Constanța lies on the western coast of the Black Sea, 185 miles (298 km) from the Bosphorus Strait. An ancient metropolis and Romania's largest sea port, Constanța traces its history some 2,500 years. Originally called Tomis, legend has it that Jason landed here with the Argonauts after finding the Golden Fleece.

One of the largest cities in Romania, Constanța is now an important cultural and economic center, worth exploring for its archaeological treasures and the atmosphere of the old town center. 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.

Main sights

The Genoese Lighthouse
The Casino
Carol I Mosque, Constanța is the centre of Islam in Romania.
The House with Lions
The Ottoman Hunchiar mosque in Constanta is still used by the Turkish minority

Ovid's Square

Designed by the sculptor Ettore Ferrari in 1887, the statue dedicated to the Roman poet, Publius Ovidius Naso, gives name to this square. Emperor Augustus exiled Ovid to Tomis in 8 AD.

The Roman Mosaics (Edificul Roman cu Mozaic)

A vast complex on three levels once linked the upper town to the harbor. Today, only about a third of the original edifice remains, including more than 9,150 sq ft (850 m2) of colorful mosaics. Built toward the end of the 4th century AD and developed over the centuries, it was the city's commercial center until the 7th century. Archaeological vestiges point to the existence of workshops, warehouses and shops in the area. Remains of the Roman public baths can still be seen nearby. Aqueducts brought water six miles (10 km) to the town.

The Genoese Lighthouse (Farul Genovez)

Soaring 26 feet (7.9 m), this lighthouse was built in 1860 by the Danubius and Black Sea Company to honor Genoese merchants who established a flourishing sea trade community here in the 13th century.

The Casino (Cazinoul)

Completed between the two World Wars in art nouveau style according to the plans of the architects, Daniel Renard and Petre Antonescu, the Casino features sumptuous architecture and a wonderful view of the sea. The pedestrian area around the Casino is a sought-after destination for couples and families, especially at sunset.

The House with Lions (Casa cu Lei)

Blending pre-Romantic and Genovese architectural styles, this late 19th century building features four columns adorned with imposing sculptured lions. During the 1930s, its elegant salons hosted the Constanța Masonic Lodge.

The Archeology Park (Parcul Arheologic)

The park houses columns and fragments of 3rd and 4th century buildings and a 6th century tower.

St. Peter & Paul Orthodox Cathedral

Constructed in Greco-Roman style between 1883 and 1885, the church was severely damaged during World War II and was restored in 1951. The interior murals display a neo-Byzantine style combined with Romanian elements best observed in the iconostasis and pews, chandeliers and candlesticks (bronze and brass alloy), all designed by Ion Mincu and completed in Paris.

The Great Mahmudiye Mosque (Moscheea Mare Mahmoud II)

Built in 1910 by King Carol I, the mosque is the seat of the Mufti, the spiritual leader of the 55,000 Muslims (Turks and Tatars by origin) who live along the coast of the Dobrogea region. The building combines Byzantine and Romanian architectural elements, making it one of the most distinctive mosques in the area. The centerpiece of the interior is a large Turkish carpet, a gift from Sultan Abdul Hamid. Woven at the Hereke Handicraft Center in Turkey, it is one of the largest carpets in Europe, weighing 1,080 pounds. The main attraction of the mosque is the 164 ft (50 m) minaret (tower) which offers a stunning view of the old downtown and harbor. Five times a day, the muezzin climbs 140 steps to the top of the minaret to call the faithful to prayer.

Hünkar Mosque (Ceamia Hunchiar)

The mosque was built between 1867-1868 by Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz for Turks who were forced to leave Crimea after the Crimean War (1853-56) and settled in Constanta. The mosque has a 24m high minaret and was subject to a restoration in 1945 and 1992.

The Fantasio Theatre (Teatrul Fantasio)

Built in 1927 by Demostene Tranulis, a local philanthropist of Greek origin, this theatre used to be called “Tranulis” before 1947, after the name of its benefactor. It's a fine building featuring elements of neoclassical architecture, located in the heart of the city, on Ferdinand Boulevard.


  • Abator
  • Anadalchioi
  • Badea Cârțan
  • Boreal
  • Casa de Cultură
  • Centru
  • C.E.T.
  • Coiciu
  • Dacia
  • Energia
  • Faleză Nord
  • Faleză Sud (Poarta 6)
  • Far
  • Gară
  • Groapă
  • Halta Traian
  • I.C.I.L.
  • I. C. Brătianu (Filimon Sîrbu between 1948–1990)
  • Inel I
  • Inel II
  • Km. 4 (Billa)
  • Km. 4-5
  • Km. 5
  • Mamaia
  • Medeea
  • Palas
  • Palazu Mare
  • Peninsulă
  • Pescărie
  • Piața Chiliei
  • Piața Griviței
  • Port
  • Tăbăcarie
  • Tomis I
  • Tomis II
  • Tomis III
  • Tomis IV
  • Tomis Nord
  • Trocadero
  • Unirii
  • Victoria
  • Viile Noi
  • Zona Industrială


The current mayor of Constanța is Radu Ștefan Mazăre (Social Democratic Party).

The Constanța Municipal Council, elected in the 2008 local government elections, is made up of 27 councilors, with the following party composition:

    Party Seats in 2004 Seats in 2008 Current Council
  Social Democratic Party 15 19                                      
  Democratic Liberal Party 3 5                                      
  National Liberal Party 6 3                                      
  Greater Romania Party 3 0                                      



Constanța is home to several football clubs, with FC Farul playing in the Romanian second division. There are two rugby teams in Constanța: RC Farul Constanța, who play in Divizia Națională BRD, and Constructul Cleopatra Constanța, who play in Divizia A. One of the top Romanian handball clubs, HCM Constanța, is also based in the city. Olympic champion gymnast, Simona Amanar, was born in Constanța.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Constanța is twinned with:


  • Italy The Honorary Consulate of Italy
  • Norway The Honorary Consulate of Norway
  • Finland The Honorary Consulate of Finland
  • Hungary The Honorary Consulate of Hungary
  • Lebanon The Honorary Consulate of Lebanon
  • Syria The Honorary Consulate of Syria

Natives of Constanța


See also


  1. ^ a b "Largest Romanian cities in 2010" (in Romanian). August 28, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Populația stabilă la 1.01.2009" (in Romanian). INSSE. May 19, 2009. Retrieved May 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Constanța". Romanian Tourist Office. Retrieved 2009-04-18. 
  4. ^ Bibliotheke I, ix, 24
  5. ^ The Cambridge Companion to Ovid ed. Philip Hardie p.235.
  6. ^ BBC Weather - Constanța
  7. ^ The history of Constanța (Romanian)
  8. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition
  9. ^ A Handbook of Roumania
  10. ^ Romania in Cifre-2008 (Romanian)
  11. ^ Robert Stănciugel and Liliana Monica Bălașa, Dobrogea în Secolele VII-XIX. Evoluție istorică, Bucharest, 2005; pg. 202
  12. ^ Lucian Boia, History and Myth in Romanian Consciousness, Central European University Press, 2001, p. 182
  13. ^ Ioan N Roman, La population de la Dobrogea d'après le recensement du 1er janvier 1913 in La Dobrogea Roumaine, Bucharest, 1919
  14. ^ 2002 census results
  15. ^ "GhidTuristic.Ro: Județul Constanța" (in română). Retrieved 2 decembrie2008. 
  16. ^ "Cuget Liber: Constanța are 3.144 de firme noi, în primele șase luni din 2008" (in română). Retrieved 2 decembrie2008. 
  17. ^ "Port of Constanța Ranking". 20010-10-19. 
  18. ^ "Șantierul Naval Constanța: Despre noi". Retrieved 2 decembrie2008. 
  19. ^ Juler, Caroline (in poloneză). Rumunia. Przewodniki National Geographic. National Geographic Polska. 
  20. ^ "Eight Cities/Six Ports: Yokohama's Sister Cities/Sister Ports". Yokohama Convention & Visitiors Bureau. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  21. ^ "Kota Kembar Makassar-Constantia". Ali Mochtar Ngabalin. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  22. ^ "Les jumelages de Brest". Retrieved 2009-07-07. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Twinning Cities". City of Thessaloniki. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 


  • Livia Buzoianu and Maria Barbulescu, "Tomis," in Dimitrios V. Grammenos and Elias K. Petropoulos (eds), Ancient Greek Colonies in the Black Sea, Vol. 1 (Oxford, Archaeopress, 2001) (BAR International Series; 1675 (1-2)), 287-336.

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