The Danube Delta (Delta Dunarii)

General information

The total surface of the Danube Delta measures 4.152 square kilometers – 3.450 km2 are actually located on the Romanian territory.

The delta is actually the result of the Danube flowing into the Black Sea and it is the newest geographical form in Romania and the largest reservation from the damp territories located on the European continent, being heavily traversed by channels, brooks, swamps and lakes.

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In 1990, the Danube Delta has been listed as part of the UNESCO patrimony and the reason for this is obvious: the delta can be seen as a vast natural laboratory as all sorts of chemical and biochemical processes of water decantation and purification occur in this territory (when the fresh water meets the marine water). The delta is also home to an increased number of beings.

The biological research conducted in the area concluded that upon flowing into the Black Sea, the water of the Danube contains, besides calcium carbonate, a consistent amount of plankton and microscopic fauna. It is in this exact place that the environment is appropriate for mollusk and shell fish proliferation.

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The Danube Delta is still a wild environment, even harsh-looking upon a first gaze, but it is extremely generous in terms of the food and shelter which are at the disposal of the multitude of creatures that dwell in this region.

The diversity and beauty of this wilderness is not banned to human gaze as long as there are no interferences to the fundamental elements of the bio-system.

Flora and fauna

What makes the Danube Delta unique is the impressive flora and fauna it shelters within its boundaries, most of it consisting of rare species. These have adapted to a predominantly aquatic environment and this is what mostly intrigues and fascinates people. But the region does not consist only of water, as there are several crests located every now and then, such as Letea, Caraorman, Stipoc, etc.

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The two types of environments are separated by a marshy area which is predisposed to flooding. However, this surface is not devoid of life. On the contrary, there are species which have adapted to each of the environments (water/ land) in as much as the territory is “populated” irrespective of the annual period or of the hydrological conditions.

Some of the species of plants that are found in the Danube Delta are the hornworn (Myrlophyllum), the white water lily (Nymphaea alba), the yellow pond lily (Nuphar luteum), the pond thistle  (Trapa nataus), the water plantain (Alisma plantago), various plants with flouting leafs and roots which can be found on the lakes’ shores, the duckweed (Lemna), the frog bit (Hydrocharis morsisrane) and many more.

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The marshes and the flooded areas form a specific ecosystem which is characterized by bog reed plants and floating reed islet. The vegetation in this area is 80% bog reed. The remaining 20% is constituted of bulrush (Typha latifolia), water fern (Nephrodium thelypteris), pewter grass (Sairpus radicans), “Forget-me-not” flower (Myosotis palustris), yellow common iris (Iris prendocorus), poison hemlock (Cicuta virosa), the grey willow tree (Salix cinerea), etc.

There are also forestry areas, especially in the Letea and Caraorman Crests, where oak trees, as well as other types of trees grow. The most beautiful forestry area is Hasmacul Mare, located on Letea crest, which has been declared a natural monument back in 1938.

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Another thing that attracts tourists to this area is the diversified species of birds which have transformed the Danube Delta into their natural habitat. It is precisely this aspect that has made the delta such a renowned place. There are more than 300 species of birds found here and 70 of them are actually not original from the European continent.

A study has been conducted recently and the discoveries pointed out that 166 of these birds are actually “permanent dwellers” of the delta, whereas the remaining part are only passing by during the hot seasons, when winter installs itself in their original habitat.

The Danube Delta is the place where a multitude of birds from around the world come together. Thus, we will encounter European species such as the sea swallow, the reed nightingale, white eagle, etc.; Siberian species (singing swan, the ember goose, the crane), Chinese (the mute swan, the big cormorant), and species from the Mediterranean area (pelicans, herons).

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There are actually 9 endangered species found here, which are protected by the law. These are divided into two main categories based on the coloration of their feathers (white or multicolored). At present, there are other 3 species on the verge of being declared protected by law.

The Danube Delta has stirred the interest of many environmentalists and activists who have seen the damages inflicted in this natural paradise by man. Thus different projects have been developed so as to transform the Delta, if not totally, then partially, a natural reservation.

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What it has not been said yet, although you have probably already deduced it, is that the Danube Delta offers a great imagery of nature. So if you want to enjoy a relaxing vacation, surrounded by natural landscapes, where all the worries are left behind in the city you have departed from, then the delta will definitely be the appropriate choice for you.

What is more, you can see a multitude of species which are located nowhere else on the Romanian territory, and as it has been mentioned previously, some are not even found on the European continent.