Life Thoughts

Where I grew up

I do not talk often of my childhood, so I thought it would be interesting for my readers to see where I grew up. I do not have pictures, as I did not think of taking any of the places I am so familiar with. So, instead, I searched on google and their embedded street views are so good I shared a lot of these. You can drag the picture using the mouse and zoom in, if you want to see more.

Some of the places I’m going to mention are only a few minutes from the childhood home, some are at about a 30-40 minutes walk, so very close. Where I grew up? In the city-port of Constanta, at the Black Sea, in Romania. It is a city with a long history, going back to pre-Roman times, with many Greek connections, mostly due to trading. In Roman times, the city was known as Tomis and it is the place where the exiled poet Ovid lived. He was not happy about it, but that’s another story. Even today there is a district of the city called Tomis and there is an Ovidiu Square (Romanian version of Ovid), the state funded university is called Ovidiu too.

Piata Ovidiu – Ovid Square

There is a statue of Ovid and here are two museums, including the one shown here, the Natural History and Archaeology Museum. It is slightly smaller than its counterpart from Bucharest, but it is one of the largest in the country. It was opened in 1879.
There are many impressive items on display, many of them Roman in origin. As you will see in this post, the connection to the Roman past is quite important in Romania and especially in places such as Constanta.

Edificiul Roman cu Mozaic – Roman Mosaic

This is the second museum in the Ovid Square, home to an extensive Roman mosaic. It was discovered recently, in 1959. Luckily it was not destroyed by the communists and we can all enjoy seeing it today. There is more to see outside, including beautiful Roman tombs. It is a wonderful place. I loved going there and seeing the artefacts.

Moscheea Carol I – Carol I Mosque – view from the minaret

Constanta is a highly diverse city with many minorities, as it is a port. This means that our local cuisine was more diverse too, comparing to the inland cities. My husband grew up less than 70 miles from Constanta, but he was enjoying some Turkish or Aromanians dishes only when he was on holiday in Constanta.

This mosque was named Carol I after the Romanian King, as he gave the approval for it to be built in 1910. The mosque can be visited and I’ve been there many times. My husband remembered climbing the stairs to reach the viewing point. The entry fee is less than ÂŁ1, so well worth it if you ever think of visiting Constanta. The mosque is very close to the Natural History Museum. A Catholic church is also nearby, between the mosque and the promenade.

Roman walls near St. Anton Catholic Church

These walls are close to the Catholic church I mentioned before. Most Romanians are Christian Orthodox, which means that this Catholic church serves only a small minority of people. Even so, they do their best to interest the others, organizing events such as carol singing at Christmas time for everyone to enjoy. They also organize the procession of the lilies and I’ve been a couple of times to see it. In front of the church are these gorgeous Roman walls. It is only a few minutes from the next place I’m going to talk about.

Cazino – Casino

On the promenade is this gorgeous Casino. Building started in 1880 and it had two game rooms, two reading rooms for local and international press, and a ballroom. It was damaged in a storm and rebuilt by 1900. It was hugely popular in its heyday. It served as a hospital in the First World War. Unsurprisingly it went downhill during the communist years.

Beach

From the Casino one can walk on the promenade towards the yacht marina before reaching the beach. These beaches are less known by the tourists. There are many resorts at the Black Sea, which are perfect for tourists as there are only hotels, restaurants, bars, and lots and lots of beaches. That meant that the Constanta beach was usually “reserved” for the city dwellers. Now it changed a bit though.

From my early teens I was allowed to go to the beach unsupervised, with friends, because it was close, in walking distance. There were lifeguards and I was not going too deep into the water anyway.

Archaeology Park

If you zoom in, you’ll be able to see huge amphorae in the park. This is where I played many times and where I used to take my first dog for a walk and a play with his friends. At one end of the park is a modern mosaic which shows the Roman settlements in Dobruja.

Colegiul National Mircea cel Batran – Mircea the Elder National College

My high-school, a place I absolutely loved. It was opened in 1896, a few years after the War of Independence. It is one of the best in the countries.

Here my father and one of my great-grand-fathers studied too. Due to its prestige and, of course, the results the students achieve after finishing it, the competition for the entry was fierce. When I applied, I had to take two exams. If I wasn’t successful it meant that I had to wait an year or, more likely, go to a high-school which still had some clearance places in the Autumn. It was quite a lot of pressure on my 14 year old shoulders, but I made it and I had a wonderful time there.

Do you have any questions on Constanta? Were you familiar with some of the places I mentioned?

16 Comment

  1. Finally got back to look at this post! Fascinating! I love hearing about all the places where you lived- I love what you wrote about your school- I knew you were super clever from what I’ve read and know about from your blog posts, but to get into a fiercely competitive high-school, that’s no easy feat! It looks a great building too! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I really look forward to coming back and reading this later (it’s very late but I wanted to get this sent out to everyone: Hi! I will come back and comment on this later but wanted to mention that I did a blog post on the Bloggers Art Gallery with an updated list of partipants with hyperlinks and a poster that you are free to use! Please come and have a look to check out final details. Just wanted to let you know! Looking forward to seeing your post on Tuesday. xx

  3. What a wonderful way to showcase your city, Anca. I must confess I don’t know very much about Romania apart from the fall of the Ceausescu regime. So It was interesting to learn the Casino was used as a hospital during WW1. And that there’s so much diversity to enjoy. Thank you for sharing! Lisa

    1. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. I am thinking of making a few similar posts, with the aid of Google Street View, with places I lived in and maybe with Liverpool too. 🙂

  4. Thank you for this beautiful tour Anca! I had never seen pictures of Constanta and it was great discovering through this virtual tour. I loved looking around the Google Street Map views! I’m surprised at the amount of Roman architecture there is to see. I have never been to Romania but this wonderful heritage makes me want to visit!
    Have a great weekend!

    Julia x
    Julia recently posted…Food: Three Easy & Healthy Meal IdeasMy Profile

    1. I think Romania has so many wonderful things to offer to tourists. There are the mountains, the capital Bucharest, the resorts at the Black Sea, the unusual and gorgeous Delta.
      Hope your weekend is lovely too.

  5. Thank you for the lovely tour of your beautiful home town. I stayed in Eforie Nord, which is just outside Constanta, in 1989, just before the fall of the Ceausescu regime. I remember how friendly people were. We only briefly visited Constanta, as I was touring with the dance group, which was performing in several towns and resorts. I would love to revisit your beautiful country. I loved visiting an old monastery in the mountains, which name escapes me now. It was a special place.

    1. How wonderful. My mother was part of a dance group too and she went to different countries in tours.
      The monasteries up north are well known indeed. It might have been Voronet, it is the most popular one.

  6. Thank you for sharing this very interesting post! I’ve never visited that part of Europe and would like to someday. I think I would especially enjoy all the Roman artifacts. Great idea to use the Google street views to allow us a better look around.
    Kelly recently posted…Books for June 2020My Profile

    1. There are dozens of Roman sites in Dobruja, some really big. It is quite impressive considering that they were quite far from Rome.
      You might like this post too: http://ancaslifestyle.co.uk/hadrians-wall/, from 2016. It is a place where Dacians (Dacia is now Romania) served as guards on Hadrian’s Wall at the Scottish border.

  7. Hi Anca,

    This is a really nice post, I so much appreciate it. I used to go to Constanta almost every year for 2 weeks in the summer. With my parents, brother and our small dog. We had a dear aunt there and her house was small and cozy, on Tomis Boulevard if I remember correctly. We stayed at her place and played with her cats all the time. You have to write a separate post about the cuisine there, I think it will be really appreciated.

    Hugs from Meli!

  8. Anca, I was totally UNfamiliar with everything about your beautiful city. It is lovely. I really do appreciate the architecture and I suspect the history is both fascinating and under communism, a little disturbing. I loved seeing the park where you walked your dog and the different museums an aerial view. What a terrific job of pulling together photos to help tell the story. I knew you were from an Eastern European country but I wasn’t sure which. Now I know. Thank you so much for preparing a post I know took a long time — but so worth it.

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