Romania is a European country that stands at the gates of the Orient. So, the traveler has the unique chance to taste a well-balanced blend of many cultural aromas. A land with a two-millennium history, Romania has many enjoyable contradictions to offer. Ultramodern cities and perfectly preserved medieval cities within a few hours' reach. There are villages where people stubbornly keep the traditional way of living, rites and ancestral beliefs. Romania is truly blessed with a vast amount of wild beauty.It is often overlooked by tourist heading for the Danube Delta or the more commercial Romanian beach resorts, the once Neolithic city of Mangalia is the only coastal spa resort in Romania and is ideal for those wishing to treat all manner of rheumatic diseases. It offers much in the way of culture and relaxation with the renowned Lake Mangalia and a 600 m long,nice, sandy beach and shallow sea water making it a great place for families.
Mangalia is approximately a two hour drive from the Bulgarian city of Varna along the main coastal highway. There is also minibus service available operating between Varna and Contstanta, that stops in Mangalia. Once in the city everything can be accessed on foot or by bus.
Mangalia is the Romania’s oldest city,mangalia was founded in the 6th century BC by the Ancient Greeks,they named it Callatis. A century later it came under Roman rule when it was conquered by the Roman general Lucullus. Over the years it was invaded many times. Its strategic coastal location on the coast enabled it to thrive and become a most important trade hub. By the 9th century the city was known under several names; the Romanians called it Tomisovara and the Greeks called it Panglicara, but it was the Turks who gave the present name Mangalia,that derived from the Greek name which was too hard for them to pronounce.
Much to see
This city can be divided into two sectors, the north, that is where you will find the coastal resorts Olimp, Neptune, Jupiter, Cap Aurora, Venus and Saturn and the south where the port is located. There are a variety of sites worth visiting; the Callatis Archeology Museum has a great unique collection of Hellenistic coins, Roman sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and tools found on archeological digs in the city. Close to the museum you can also visit the remains of a 4th century Roman-Byzantine necropolis. The 6th century BC Callatis Fortress was built by Dorians and is well worth to give a visit. Many items of great historic significance could be found here including South Eastern Europe’s oldest document in Latin. The 16th century Moorish mosque known as the Esmahan Sultan Mosque built in 1525 by the Ottoman Turks houses many treasures including a selection of oriental carpets and a lovely, well-manicured garden and Turkish cemetery, the Limanu Cave once a home for smugglers, traders and sailors. This cave consists of a network of chambers 4 km in length. Local legends said that this cave used to extend as far as the fountains in Turkey. Other noteworthy sites include the 4th century BC Callatis Citadel with its incineration tombs, the Scythian tomb,that was unearthed in 1959 and is believed to have originated from the Scythians, a nomadic Iranian tribe. Archaeologists have found some unique papyrus documents in Greek here. There is also an interesting Communist mural on the side of the Casa de Cultura near the Hotel President.
If you visit the city between August 8th and 15th then it is worth attending the Callatis Festival, that is Romania’s largest music and cultural festival. This is held on a huge barge in the harbour and spectators sit on the steps opposite. This festival was first held in 1998 and over the years it has achieved international acclaim. There is a wide variety of music played from Romanian pop to folk; there is also a beauty contest and a massive fireworks display on the last night.
Entertainment and Accommodation
There are several numbers of hotels offering good accommodation in this city; the best place to stay is the Hotel President, a modern hotel built on the ruins of the Callatis fortress. Fortunately the ruins have been preserved in the hotel and are open to visitors.Hotel Corsa offers rooms with sea views as well as being close to the city centre. The Mangalia Hotel offers guests the use of a swimming pool and a wide range of spa therapies, whilst Hotel Zenit offers accommodation on the main promenade.
There are plenty of restaurants available in the city offering traditional Romanian cuisine, much of which are meat based dishes including ones from bear and deer. Soup is the bastion of the Romanian diet, Ciorba de burta, a light garlicky soup made from cabbage or vine leaves stuffed with spiced meat and rice is one of the national dishes offered here as are grilled, spicy meatballs and polenta, but perhaps the best dish served in this region is carp roasted on a spit. The Café del Mar is particularly worthy of a mention if you are looking for less traditional cuisine.
If you wish to take a short break over the winter and live on the northern Black Sea coast in Bulgaria, then Mangalia is a stone’s throw away. It offers much in the way of archaeological attractions as well as some great shopping along with an insight into life over the border.