Port of Constantza
Review and History

The Port of Constantza (also spelled Constanta) lies on the western shores of the Black Sea in southeastern Romania about 200 kilometers east of Bucharest. Romania’s major seaport, its modern port and docks are connected to the oil fields of Ploiesti by pipeline. The city has administered the coastal urban agglomerate stretching 60-kilometers from Mangalia to Navodari since 1960.

The Port of Constantza is an arts and cultural center with an important collection of archaeological treasures including a Roman mosaic tile floor. It is also an industrial city producing prefabricated concrete and paper and pulp as well as supporting a busy food-processing sector. In 2007, over 304 thousand people called the Port of Constantza home.

Port History

The history of the Port of Constantza and the city are closely related. Archeological evidence shows that the area has been inhabited since the 6th Century BC. The ancient fortress of Tomis was given city status by Rome in the 1st Century AD.

Greeks first established the modern city and port as a trade center, and the Greek influence was strong through the 1st Century BC when the Romans conquered the area. The Port of Constantza enjoyed prosperity for several centuries, even being named after Roman Emperor Constantine.

During the Byzantine Roman period, the Port of Constantza was invaded by barbarians several times, driving merchants and trade from the city. Despite this, an active group of merchants from Genoa remained, and an area in the Port of Constantza keeps the name “Genovese” in their honor.

After the fall of Rome and Byzantanium, Romanian Mircea the Great governed the Port of Constantza for a short time until the area was occupied by the Ottomans who named the city Kustendge Port. Trade resumed slowly.

In 1857, the Turkish Ottomans consigned construction of the port and a railway in their “Dobrogean” region connecting Constantza and Cernavoda to an English Company, and the Port of Constantza finally had modern facilities.

In 1877, the region of Dobrogea was united with Romania after their Independence War, and interest in taking advantage of the Port of Constantza’s strategic location grew. King Carol believed that the port would become one of the most important in the Orient and a major contributor to the national economy. Supporting the King’s enthusiasm, the Romanian government purchased the Port of Constantza from the English company that built it and embarked on major port extensions and the construction of a bridge at Cernavoda.

In 1896, the construction was launched in an elaborate ceremony where King Carol dedicated a lofty and wordy foundation stone, and the Port of Constantza was modernized. The Port of Constantza – complete with dredged channel, breakwaters, and quays - was officially inaugurated in 1909. The new port had six basins, storage tanks for oil, and silos. In 1911, the Port of Constantza reported total traffic of 1.4 million tons of cargo.

Between the two World Wars, the Port of Constantza acquired other new facilities that included the administrative headquarters, the stock exchange, a floating dock, and a corn drying facility. By 1937, the Port of Constantza handled 6.2 million tons of cargo, making it the leading port in Europe. Unfortunately, the Port of Constantza suffered from World War II, Soviet occupation, and communist dictatorship.

In 1967, work to extend the southern area of the Port of Constantza began. In 20 years, the port covered an impressive 3900 hectares. Its highest volume of cargo traffic was reached in 1988 when it handled 62.3 million tons of cargo.

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