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gibonu

Danube – Black Sea Canal

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Hi.

A few words and some pictures about cycling on the banks of the Danube – Black Sea Canal.

The cycling tour was done last year, in late October.

 

The Danube – Black Sea Canal is located in Dobrogea, the most Eastern region of Romania.

It is also called “the land between the Danube river and the Black Sea”.
Part of the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years, Dobrogea was reunited with Romania in 1878 (after the Romanian War of Independence).
Ottoman legacy is still present today in Dobrogea, through mosques and Muslim population (mainly of Turkish or Tatar origins).
An interesting fact is that the North Eastern corner of Bulgaria is also called Dobrogea.
More about Dobrogea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobruja

 

The canal itself has 64 km long, between Cernavoda (on the Danube right bank) and Constanta South port, on the Black Sea shore.

 

More about the Danube – Black Sea Canal:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danube_%E2%80%93_Black_Sea_Canal

including the dark period (1949 – 1953) when there was a giant forced labor camp, where many people of the Romania elite was killed.

 

And an interesting movie about the Danube – Black Sea Canal (with English subtitles):

http://www.acn.ro/

 

The accommodation was in Medgidia, a small town in Dobrogea, located 185 km east of Bucharest, on the A2 motorway.

More about Medgidia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medgidia

 

Hotel Livius (http://www.hotellivius.ro/ - only in Romanian) is a place I will gladly recommend.

80 lei (less than 20 Euros) a double room , close to the city center and the bikes are allowed in the room.

Or, at least, my bike was allowed in the room (I was alone).

 

Breakfast is not included in the room price, but for extra 10 Lei (less than 3 Euros) you get scrambled eggs, bread, butter, honey and marmalade, plus two big cups of tea and coffee.

 

 First day – Part I

Medgidia – Castelu – Poarta Alba – Murfatlar –Straja Monument – Agigea – Lazu – Constanta.
63 km

 

After breakfast, the first stop was at the Abdul Mecid mosque, close to the hotel.

The construction of the mosque was ordered in 1857 by the Ottoman sultan Abdul Mecid, from whom the name Medgidia came.

The mosque was built for about 6000 Tatars who came in Dobrogea from Crimeea, after the Crimeean War (1853 – 1856).

Now, the mosque is the oldest building of the town.

 

Inside the mosque.

 

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The minaret of the mosque.

 

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The fence of the mosque court yard.

 

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Medgidia town hall, just opposite the mosque.

 

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Center of the city – Decebal square.

 

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The statue of Dan Spataru, a famous Romania pop singer, born in a village near Medgidia.

Beside the statue, it is written “Honorary citizen“.

 

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Another statue, named “Woman with harp”, made by Ion Jalea, an important Romania sculptor.

 

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Ion Jalea sculpted all his life with only one hand (the other hand was lost during the First Word War).

 

Clock in good shape, but not working.

 

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The Danube – Black Sea Canal seen from Medgidia bridge (towards East and Black Sea).

 

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From that bridge I went down on the Northern bank (or the left bank, direction Medgidia – Black Sea).

 

Medgidia train station.

 

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In front of the station there is a street (named Plopilor if I’m not wrong) which goes straight to the Canal bank.

 

The road on the Canal bank.

 

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I think this is Medgidia port authority.

The radar on the top of the building was not working.

 

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Port cranes.

 

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Medgidia concrete factory, one of the most important in Romania.

 

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Medgidia is left behind.

 

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Towards Poarta Alba.

 

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First day – Part II

Medgidia – Castelu – Poarta Alba – Murfatlar –Straja Monument – Agigea – Lazu – Constanta.
63 km

 

 

Poarta Alba canal junction.

Straight ahead is the main Danube – Black Sea Canal.

To the left, there is a smaller Canal, called Poarta Alba – Midia Navodari.

The end of the smaller canal is on the Black Sea shore, north of Constanta port.

 

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Poarta Alba road bridge, over the Poarta Alba – Midia Navodari canal.

 

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On the brigde.

 

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Poarta Alba – Midia Navodari canal, seen from Poarta Alba road bridge.

 

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Also from the bridge is visible the “Poarta Alba Memorial Monument”.

 

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The entrance into the Monument court yard.

 

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The Monument itself.

 

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The names written on the Monument (Cernavoda) – Saligny – Medgidia – Poarta Alba – Noua Culme – Galesu – Peninsula – Midia – Constanta) are the sites of the former forced labor camps.

 

The Monument was erected in the memory of the political convicts who died working in the first phase of the Canal construction.

There are a lot of sad stories with the Romanian elite (doctors, University professors, lawyers, priests or peasants) who worked and died here, in forced labor camp conditions.

 

Some of them manage to survive.

It is an interesting story of a former political convict, who became an engineer after he was released.

Years after, his destiny took him back to the Canal, this time as a chief constructor, on the second phase of the Canal construction.

Before the opening of the Canal, this gentleman was invited to attend  a technical conference held in the Romanian Academy of Science.

Here, the former political convict said something like this “At the Canal, I began working  as a slave and I finish as a chief engineer”.

For these words, he was round-up again by the Political police.

 

The visit to the Monument is free.

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First day – Part III

Medgidia – Castelu – Poarta Alba – Murfatlar –Straja Monument – Agigea – Lazu – Constanta.
63 km

 

 

Back on the Northern shore (left bank) of Danube – Black Sea Canal.

 

The railway bridge.

 

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The road bridge (over Poarta Alba – Midia Navodari Canal).

 

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Canals junction, seen from the other side.

 

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Close to the water (towards Poarta Alba).

 

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Road towards Murfatlar.

 

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Somewhere on the half way between Poarta Alba and Murfatlar, in the Southern shore (right bank) there is a typical Communist mosaic (very well preserved), showing different stages of the Canal construction.

 

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Drainage of the water from the nearby fields.

 

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Close to the entrance in Murfaltlar town.

 

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The Orthodox church of Murfatlar, named “The Birth of the Virgin”.

 

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Entrance in the church courtyard.

 

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The little mosque of Murfatar.

 

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Also in Murfatlar area is located one of the most important vineyard of Romania.

More about the vineyard: http://www.murfatlar.com/

 

The Murfatlar bridge over the Canal.

 

 

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First day – Part IV

Medgidia – Castelu – Poarta Alba – Murfatlar –Straja Monument – Agigea – Lazu – Constanta.
63 km

 

On the Murfatlar bridge.

Towards Poarta Alba (West).

 

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Towards Agigea (East).

 

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From here, the most spectacular part of the Canal begins.

 

Also, from the Murfatlar bridge I cycled towards Agigea on the Southern shore (right bank) of the Canal.

 

The road gets a little bit narrower.

 

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Concrete cubes.

 

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Concrete beams.

 

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The Northern shore.

 

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The road is good.

 

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On the Northern shore, to decrease the force of the water which came from the nearby fields in case of heavy rains.

 

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A2 motorway (Bucharest – Constanta) seen from the side

 

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and from below.

 

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Sometimes, briefly the eye contact with the Canal is lost.

 

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First day – Part V

Medgidia – Castelu – Poarta Alba – Murfatlar –Straja Monument – Agigea – Lazu – Constanta.
63 km

 

 

After the A2 motorway bridge, the Youth Monument from Straja is visible.

 

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The  Monument is placed somewhere above the Canal shore.

To get to the Monument, you need to leave the Canal shore road and to climb on another road, for 2-300 meters.

The climbed road gets in another road, on the field, and from here you need to turn left, towards the Monument.

The road from the field.

 

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Towards the Youth Monument.

 

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The Youth Monument.

 

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The Youth Monument was made by artist Pavel Bucur and was inaugurated in 1988.

It symbolizes an angel without wings, and was its construction was financed by the funds of Union of Communist Youth (Uniunea Tineretului Comunist in Romanian).

It seems that the Union paid from its own funds for 10 km of the Canal length.

 

The statue is 38 meters high and the base of the statue stands for about 10 meters high.

The height of the base is seen better on the picture bellow, compared with the bike.

 

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The statue is made of stainless steel, mounted on a solid metal frame.

 

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According to the artist who designed it, the Youth Monument from Straja is the second largest in the world, after the Statue of Liberty from New York (his words, not mine).

 

The view form the Youth Monument is impressive, at least in my opinion.

East, towards Agigea and the Black Sea.

 

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West, towards Murfatlar.

 

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And a closer view of the A2 motorway bridge over the Canal.

 

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The road which goes down, from the Monumet to the Canal bank.

 

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Last glimpse to the Monument.

 

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