The Macin Mountains have an impressive history, and are allegedly part of an ancient mountain range, with altitudes of 3,000 meters
This range crossed Europe from west to east.
The remaining mounds in Dobrogea, Scotland and Brittany stand proof of that. At
present, there is a string of tourist routes, most of them of a medium
Dan Staicu is the director of the Macin
Tourism Promotion and Information Center. He tells us we have just stepped onto
Romania's oldest territory, as the mountain range is roughly 300 million years
old. With details on that, here is Dan Staicu himself.
Dan Staicu: "The mountain range is a clear
proof of the Hercynian orogeny in the late Paleozoic era, having the shape of
an iceberg, of a mountainous island. They can hardly be associated with
mountainous formations today, given their small altitude, yet the Macin
Mountains are unanimously described as Romania's oldest mountains, with the
467-meter tall Tutuiatu being their highest peak. It is located in the commune
of Grecci. The diversity of the scenery is provided by the existing Megalithic
formations and the contrast between the steppe landscape and the forest
vegetation at the foot of the mountains. The scenery is scattered with eroded
monoliths, whose shape can be viewed in many ways, according to everyone's
imagination. Actually, there are 12 trekking routes as well. The most
spectacular one is the Pricopan Summit, taking us all the way up to a summit
that was formed 250 million years ago. In fact, the mountainscape in the
Pricopan Massif, which is the most spectacular one, is made of a wide range of
granite formations, rocks and vast vistas looking out onto the Macin
Depression, river Danube, onto the Luncavita Depression. The vista looking out
onto the cities of Galati, Braila and Reni is also beautiful. Along the route
you can admire the alpine scenery with its round boulders and weird shapes. An
unusual rock shape along that route is the Dobrogea Sphynx, actually the main
point of attraction for most of the tourists."
Tourist trekking routes are ranging from easy
to moderate and can be taken in one day, with the 12-kilometer route being the
longest. It is a protected area, accounting for around 0.05 % of Romania's
surface area that is 11,000 hectares. However, it is here that we find more
than half of the total number of plants species countrywide. For instance, if there are around 3,300 plant
species in Romania, roughly 1,900 to 2,000 can be found in Macin Mountains.
Such info can also be accessed at the Macin
Tourism Information Center, which has made maps available to visitors, as well
as brochures and everything else you need to know before you decide to visit
the region. Dan Staicu once again.
we can recommend tourist guides as, apart from the Macin Mountains, a tourist
asset proper, there are other tourist objectives as well. We have the Roman-Byzantine
fortress in Ogetia. It stands on a former islet and the locals named it the
little church. Then, on the banks of River Danube, you can visit Troesmis, a
fortress the Romans erected on the former site of a Gaetic fortress. All
throughout antiquity, it was a key strategic point the exiled poet Ovid made
mention of, in his Epistulae ex Ponto, Letters from the Black Sea.
Subsequently, the settlement used to be the encampment site for the 5th
Macedonian Legion. The Iacobdeal Lake can also be visited in the region. It is
a quarry lake, formed as the result of a blast induced for the exploitation of
granite. The water gloss has a surface area of around one kilometers and a
depth of 30 meters. A camping site is expanding there as well. We also have the
Monasteries triangle in the region. Of those, I should like to mention the
Cocoș Monastery, founded in 1833 by the Romanian monks who had arrived from
Athos Mountain. Then there is the Saon Monastery, founded during the Ottoman
ruling in 1846. The monastery looks very much like a village made of scattered
households; it even has a museum and a workshop of carpet-weaving and religious
painting. Here you can find old copies of Romanian books. Another asset worth
visiting is a wine cellar known as Terente's Cellar. It is included in the
tourist circuit, offering visitors sessions of wine tasting made in Dobrogea's oldest
If you don't care very much for the wines, you should know that Dobrogea
is attracting tourists through its multiculturalism, the region being a genuine
melting pot for many ethnic groups like Turks, Tartars, Greeks, Armenians and
Jews. All these communities have significantly contributed to the region's
prosperity and have also influenced its gastronomy. Here is Dan Staicu,
director of the local Center for Tourist Information and Promotion with more on
this varied cuisine.
Dan Staicu: "We
live by the Danube but there are also mountains here so the gastronomic offer
is interesting. As we were a long time under Ottoman domination I believe we
have the best Turkish sweet dessert pastry. Also very tasty are the fish soup
and the goat or sheep pastrami, which is specific to this area and prepared in
a special way."
In order to spend a holiday in the area you need to book accommodation
beforehand as guest houses aren't very numerous here. Here is again Dan Staicu
at the microphone.
Dan Staicu: "The
best periods are in spring and autumn, because summers are very hot and dry in
this part. There is one guest house in Macin and two others are under
construction. There are another two in the Macin Mountains National Park and
three in Luncavita. They are limited in terms of accommodation but in Luncavita
there are also traditional artisans whose products and workshops can be admired
at the local Travel Information Centre."
The Macin Mountains are home to one thousand species of butterflies, 37
bird species, which enjoy international protection as well as big variety of
ecosystems. All these, the hospitality of the locals as well as the region's
diverse cuisine are the ingredients of a successful holiday.