The Danube Delta is a unique place not only in Europe, but also among other deltaic ecosystems due to its high biodiversity, to its renewable natural resources and to its beautiful scenery doubled by its cultural sites remnants and worth. Danube Delta has been formed starting from the Upper Pleistocene and has evoluated in connection with the three Danubian arms: Sfântu Gheorghe (the oldest, from the south, 126 km), Sulina (80 km) and Chilia (the newest, from the north, 116 km). Named Istratos by the Greeks and Danubius by the Romans, the river carries every year between 75 and 85 million of tons of alluvia by means of its water volume of approximately 6,000 mc/s, thus increasing the surface of the Delta.
The waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of European deltas. Over countless centuries the silt brought down by the river has enlarged the Delta into a network of channels, lakes, reed islands, tropical woods, pastures and sand duned that now cover close to 5.165 sq km (2000sq miles). An exotic landscape with over 1,200 species of trees and plants, with the richest ornithological fauna on the continent (more than 300 species, among which unique colonies of pelicans) and ichthyological fauna (with around 100 species, from the Danube herrings to the sturgeons which produce the precious caviar).
The starting point for a Delta adventure is usually the small city of Tulcea, almost as old as Rome, and situated close to where the Danube divides into the three main arms that create the wetlands. Tulcea , the gateway to the splendors of the region, built on seven hills and influenced by Turkish styles, this former market town is now an important sea and river port, as well as the center of the Romanian fish industry. The Muzeul Deltei Dunarii (Danube Delta Museum) provides a good introduction to the flora, fauna, and way of life of the communities in the area.
An expedition into the Danube Delta means discovering the Letea Grind, with its strange wood, well known for asymmetrically shaped trees. It also means discovering the "Bird Heaven", the natural parks and bird colonies such as Petrisor, Zatoane, Uslina-Crisan, Golobovita and Sahalin Isand. Fish is the region's specialty cuisine and you can dine on a wide range of fish-based dishes in the Delta. One not to miss is the local fish soup.
The way to explore the Delta is by boat, whether by ferry, fishing boat, kayak or rowboat. A trip through the inner channels requires specialized equipment and a local pathfinder to guide your way. It's a trip wildlife lovers should not miss. Only 15,000 people make their living from fishing, livestock breeding, and reed harvesting in this vast area. Their villages, lapped by the waterways, seem untouched by time. Local fishermen make their own version of Russian borsch over an open fire. At restaurants you can sample Danube herring, croquettes of zander, or sturgeon steak, tastily washed down with Aligote, Muscat or Merlot wines. In every way a Delta trip is a memorable experience.
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