Constanta, steeped in Greek mythology
Constanta Travel Blog› entry 11 of 37 › view all entries
church service in an Othodox cathedral, and old mosque, old casino, archeological museum, beach at Mamaia and lunch at Iaki Hotel and dolphins
Constantza (the 2nd t has a tail) was called Tomis in the old times, it has a history of more than 2500 years, ancient Greeks had sailed here, and it was part of the Roman empire. It's the town were the Roman poet Ovid spent his exile.
It's the 2nd busiest/largest seaport in Europe, Roterdam being the most busy. It is mostly industrial, with container ships. Thus the entry into the harbor was not very picturesque, many tall cranes and carge ships filled the horizon, which was pretty flat with no hills in sight.
We took a short bus ride from the ship to town, passing a huge pile of scrap metal, and I do mean huge. Rusting metals, beams, even a bathtub can be seen on top of the pile. We were told these were the remains of the communist era factories which were now shipped to China to be given a new life! In the distance, other piers had similar mountains of scrap metal!
We walked about a block to an Orthodox church, being Sunday morning, service was going on.
Next to the church was a small area of ruins, it was fenced off, but the objects inside looked like they were Roman.
We then walked to the large structure next to the water. It looked really pretty from a distance, but when we got close, we could notice that it was in need of repair. It was a royal casino. Our guide told us that somebody had purchased it and was restoring it to become a casino again. Kevin and I took a peek inside the door, and there was a guard. He tooked at us, gestured us inside, and closed the doors behind us! Hmm! Then he said 10 lei for a quick look.
We then were driven to the Ovid Square, where the archelogical museum was located. A bust of Ovid stood in front of the museum. A short walk away was a tiny mosque, nothing impressive by Istanbul standards, and it didn't look to be in use either. The museum had some glass artifacts from a coule of thousands years ago, and then there were some nice sculptures.
Glykon, the fantastic serpent from the 3rd century was a stone serpent which looked like it had hair, very cute and pretty too, The large statue of Fortuna and Pontos, gods protecting the city and the ancient port Tomis (from 2nd -3rd century) was well preserved and stood regally in front of a dark blue drape for contrast, since the statue was white marble. And Aedicula with the double representation of Nemesis, Roman ruins were a couple of small statues with broken noses, but otherwise intact and beautiful.
In between the museum and the mosque was a building constructed over the oldest Roman mosaics found in this area. The Roman building was a marble building at the seaport with mosaics on the floor and artifacts from 4th century can b e seen on the floor.
We had the option of having our lunch on our ship or go to a beach hotel. We opted to go to the beach hotel just to see more of the city. The Mamaia Beach was a popular place for Romanians, the Black Sea was warm here, and the sand hot. Many many people were on the beach, some looking like red lobsters they would regret when they got home! People were swimming, building sand castles, and having a good time.
We had our lunch buffet under some big umbrellas in the courtyard of the Iaki Hotel, owned by a soccer player, There was a pool at the hotel too for people who wanted fresh water.
Back to the ship after lunch. The shipped sailed for Odessaat 4:45pm. Kevin went for a tour of the bridge and I stayed in the cabin. Then I heard an announcement saying “We have dolphins, come out to the front of the ship”, so I grabbed my camera and went to have a look. There were several dolphins swimming just ahead of the bow of the ship. Looking straight down, they were not more than a couple of feet ahead, they kept up the speed and distance, and would swim upside down so we could see their white bellies, then they would pop out of the water for some air and dive under again. They did this for a few minutes and then disappeared. The captain said he didn't see dolphins often in the Black Sea, but we were lucky,
During the night, the ship encountered some waves and winds, apparently a cold front was passing through, and it was kind of bumpy.