The Danube Delta is an important wildlife habitat, the second largest
delta in Europe. It has the largest number of birds of any South European
wetland, being a key area for passage of migrants and wintering birds;
the number of winter wildfowl may exceed 2 million. Over 320 species of
birds are of European importance, of which 12 are globally threatened.
Romania, Black Sea coast, between the river branches Chilia, Sulina
and Sfintu Gheorghe. The largest part of the protected area lies in Tulcea
county, the southern part in Constanta county.
580 000 ha, including 50 600 ha of strictly protected areas and 223 300
ha of buffer zones.
& owner: The State owns 90% of the area. The other 10% is in private
hands. The area is managed by the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority,
a public organisation co-ordinated by the Ministry of Water and Environmental
Protection, established in 1990.
The Biosphere Reserve is divided in three types of zones with respect
to management for nature conservation and ecologically sustainable management:
Strictly Protected areas, Buffer Zones and Economic Zones.
of the Danube Delta goes back to the last Ice Age. Its geomorphology is
the result of the interaction between the Danube river and the Black Sea
during the Holocene period, beginning some 16 000 years ago. The northern
part of the Delta is sinking and this resulted in a land area that is
only 9% of the area a few thousand years ago.
Danube in Romanian is Dunare and the old names of it are Danubius (Latin),
Istros (Greek), Donaris (Geto-Dacic). The Romanian name is Rezervatia
Biosferei Delta Dunarii. The word delta stems from the fourth Greek letter,
delta, a triangle.
The traditional land use in the Delta included fishing, hunting, extensive
cattle and pig breeding, cultivation of some agricultural and horticultural
crops, honey production, hay cutting, and collection of materials, such
as reed, for house building. Agriculture has always been practised in
the Delta, albeit on a very small scale, and probably on a sustainable
basis. The first agricultural pilot polders were constructed at the end
of the 19th century.
The last communist government's plans to reclaim the delta in a series
of polders have luckily been largely dropped. The area is now intended
it is managed as the exceptional wild-life sanctuary it is. The same government
neglected eco-tourism. This resulted in the destroying of great parts
of the area. Nowadays cattle-breeding, viticulture and apiculture are
popular income generating activities for the local people.
of human occupation
The earliest signs of occupation are found on terraces and promontories,
especially around lakes Razim and Sinoie. During the Iron Age, about 3
200 to 2 500 years ago, a series of fortified settlements were established
on hills at Sinoie, Enisala, Babadag, Bestepe, Balteni, Malcoci, Tulcea
and Somova. Next to these settlements one can find Greek and Roman settlements
(also a lighthouse).
Along the Romanian coast, the main sea currents run from north
to south, chiefly because of the prevailing winds. The result is a southward
shifting of the Danube Delta river mouths. The current situation is partly
due to dam construction on the Danube which has reduced the transport
Sand dunes and depressions with saline wet soil do exist in the area.
Also depression with wet and highly saline sand do exist.
On the marine levees Letea and Caraorman with a sand dune relief, forests
of oaks has developed in a mixture with another species and lianas, which
give them a subtropical aspect, forest that has been.
The Danube Delta is one of Europe's last and most extensive landscapes
in a natural state, with its extensive reedbeds, maze of tributaries,
canals and lakes with their great abundance of aquatic plants.
There are three large nature reserves in the area: Rosca-Buhaiova-Hrecisca,
Perisor-Zatoane and Periteasca-Leahova. These were the first strictly
protected areas in the Delta.
From the total number of 927 animal species and subspecies previously
recorded, 900 still occur; of these, 378 are included in the "Red List".
The fauna includes different kinds of molluscs, insects, fish (45 fish
species, a remarkable number), amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Birds species that can be seen include Little and Great white egret, Little
bittern, Black and Purple Glossy ibis, White stork, Kingfisher, Spoonbill,
Pink or Brown hoopoe and Dalmatian pelican.
includes reed, water lilies, Feather grass and several sorts of climbing
Information and Ecological Education Centre, 34A, Portului Street, Tulcea.
Open daily, May - Oct. Free access.
Documentation Centre Crisan (Crisan, Sulina branch) and Information Centre
Sulina. Open daily, May - Oct. Free access..
With international support, a first draft Management Plan was prepared
during 1994-1995. The management objectives have been grouped in four
main categories: 1) objectives with a general character; 2) objectives
for the sustainable economic use areas; 3) objectives for buffer zones;
and (4) objectives for the strictly protected areas.
After the change of the regime, also the attitude towards tourism changed
and eco-tourism is now considered very important. This resulted in new
plans and opportunities for the future.
Access fees have to be paid at Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority
(DDBRA), on the ground floor of its headquarters, daily from Monday to
Friday, 8-16h, Saturday 8-12h. During the bird breeding season the reserve
Biking & Horses: Hiking, biking or horseback riding is only
possible on the dry areas around the villages. Activities can be organised
upon request by the Tourist Family Association in CA Rosetti-Letea, and
by ANTREC in Crisan. In Tulcea or inside the protected area it is not
possible to rent bicycles.
Excursions are organised only by the tourism companies with activities
inside the protected areas. In the area 7 touristic routes do exist and
4 new touristic routes were developed in 2001.
Do not swim in the water in the Delta. Some water snakes live
in the Delta itself. Here are no nautical sports developed. But there
are organised trips with OB motor boats, canoes, and rowing boats. All
tourism companies have facilities for such kind of trips inside the protected
establishments: available in the villages.
The delta has three camp sites:
Camping Crisan, tel: 095832293
Camping Chilia (Mr. Tudor Cartacuzencu), tel: 0040 40/ 519090
Camping Murighiol (200 places, bungalows and tent places).
events: The Ecological Education Dept. of DDBR Authority has developed
an ecological education programme in all visitor centres, in schools inside
the protected area and around it; it collaborates with local NGO's, celebrates
all international days for environment protection, and organises regional
and international workshops.
Tulcea is connected with Bucharest and other main cities by train,
by ship (Danube), by air and obviously through the road network. Parking
areas in Tulcea exist in town centre, in front of Delta Hotel, str. Isaccei,
no. 2, and near the House of Culture, near DDBR Authority headquarters,
Str. Portului, 34A.
Biosphere Reserve Authority, Governor, Mr. Virgil Munteanu, Str. Portului,
no. 34A. OP 3, CP 32. Tel. 0040 40 518 945, fax: 0040 40 518 975; e-mail:
[email protected], internet: www.ddbra.ro.
and Ecological Education Centre Tulcea, 34A, Portului Street, Tulcea