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The anthropogenic tourism potential of the Danube valley towns. case study: Giurgiu-Braila sector.

The appearance and the development of settlements in the Romanian Danube space have been determined by: the level of revaluation of existing resources; the degree of productive activities development; the level of traffic and transportation; the increase of public and private services.

The final result of these actions is to speed up the urbanisation, to reduce the rural-urban differences, the multiplication of economic functions in time and space. Generally, the urban and rural settlements from this sector of the Romanian course of the Danube are realities in motion that have managed to preserve their existence over centuries.

The efficient use of natural, cultural, human, material and financial resources present in rural and urban localities represent the essential condition of the social and economic progress and one of the fundamental features of the market economy. In this context, the tourism industry, through the manner of organisation and development, subordinates itself to this objective, aiming at obtaining some positive economic results, together with the superior satisfaction of the tourists' requirements. This tertiary sector, which generates and supports the tourist function, is based mainly on what the tourist offer of the area means.

Tourism offer greatly depends on the tourist attractions ensemble that can motivate their visitation and includes all the elements that may be valued at a certain moment for the stimulation of the tourist request. All the natural and anthropogenic resources are included in this offer, which, through qualitative and quantitative features, allow the development of necessary fittings to accommodate tourists for a pleasant stay.

The tourism offer has certain limitations in terms of time, having a permanent or a seasonal feature, according to the specifics of tourism resources. There is a spatial limitation as well because the extension of tourist provisions may have a reduction in territory, as a consequence of the availability of services found in a relative rigidity compared to the flexibility of the tourist demand.

In time and space, a wide range of tourism resources that formed the starting base for many tourist activities has taken shape. Tourism is called at the moment to take over a part of the old industrial functions, which involved an important consumption of energy and raw materials, but also pollution. The multiplying role of tourism shall be felt at the level of all the urban settlements through the improvement of infrastructure, the reduction of pollution, the increase of safety and security of persons, the increase of the life standard.

The rigorous quantification of all the existing tourism potential shows the extent to which some settlements have real chances of developing the tourist function and identify through what tourism forms it may be practiced. In view of this, the scientific analysis of the tourism resources comprises the territory of six counties and eight cities (fig. 1 and 2). This approach further allows the setting of the necessary specific fittings to support a balanced distribution of the tourist flow through the revaluation of less known tourism objectives. Based on the data obtained from the specialized institutions and on site, we have found out that not all the localities enjoy the presence on their territory of tourism objectives. Even if they have more natural and cultural resources, not all of them have real tourist valences, the accessibility and the attractiveness of resources having a very important role.

The urban tourism is connected to the urbanization phenomenon of several localities, through which they receive a new status and know an amplification of economic functions. The towns have been and are still emblems of the great freedom of cultural expression. These stand out through the architecture of the buildings, sculptures, bas-reliefs, the landscapes of the parks, gardens, squares, urban furniture, art and culture events.

The tourism value of the towns increases through the presence of some cultural institutions, museums that are special for their artistic events, increasing the level of attractiveness. In view of the above, one may state that the towns from the studied sector that are country seats have the necessary conditions to support this form of tourism.

The preservation of some urban nuclei, certain historical centers, favors the carrying out of special tourism activities, especially because many old buildings may become accommodation units, catering units, recreational places. Giurgiu and Braila are the towns that have managed to assert themselves, at a superior level, as historical centers and to revaluate the buildings through restorations and preservation actions. For the other smaller towns, such as Harkova, Cernavoda, Macin, even if they have old buildings, the level of preservation is very low. Moreover, the towns that are county seats have several of the most important cultural institutions: theatres, cultural houses, clubs, which may organize special events, at a national level ("Haricleea Darclee" festival, Braila).

Monuments and Archaeological Sites

Proving the age of some human settlements, but few of them may be included in the group of tourism objectives:

* Giurgiu, which includes artifacts of the culture of Dridu (the 8th-9th centuries), with a necropolis, showing traces of old housings, the ruins of the medieval fortress (the 12th- 14th centuries);

* Harkova, Neolithic inherits a settlement, tell type, archaeological reservation, Roman fortress bearing the name of Carsium (the 5th-6th centuries B.C.);

* Cernavoda, in the Southern part. There are several levels of settlements, necropolises, starting with the period of the Neolithic, until the Iron Age, continuing with the Hellenistic and Roman periods; it holds specific objects for the culture of Hamangia (the 4th-2nd centuries B.C.), the place of origin of the famous clay statue "the Thinker and his pair." The Hellenistic fortress Axiopolis was first here, founded by king Lysimachos1 (Lisimah) of ancient Tracia. The continuity is proved by the traces of a feudal fortress (the 9th-10th centuries), with households and a church inside;

* Trajan's walls, close to Cernavoda one can still see the traces of the stone wall and of the place where the stone was excavated in antiquity;

* Braila: a Dacian settlement at Brailila (the 1st century B.C.), covered by layers of land, where tools, weapons, jewelry, ceramic, coins were uncovered.

Religious Monuments and Ensembles

Including a large number of churches of wall, the majority built on the old church locations and a reduced number of monasteries:

* Giurgiu. Here we can mention the following churches as tourist objectives: "St. Nicholas" Monastery (1830), "St. George" (1840), the "Assumption of Mary" Episcopal cathedral (1852), "Holy Trinity"--Smarda (1864), "The Annunciation"--a Greek church, the initial painting made by Gh. Tatarescu (1864), recently renovated. These buildings are representative for the 19th century, which proves that they were built in a prosperous economic period, being the contribution of traders, craftsmen, local traders, hieromonks, in the characteristic neo- Byzantine style.

* Calarasi stands out through: The orthodox cathedral called "St. Nicholas" (1838); the churches of wall called: "St. Nicholas"--Magureni (1864), "Volna" (1856), "Sf. Anastasia" (1872), "St. George" (1868), "St. John" (1882), serving the town's neighborhoods;

* Oltenifa--the church of wall called "St. Nicholas" (1855), with original paintings, in Neo-Byzantine style;

* Fetesti includes the churches: "St. George" (1882) and "St. Nicholas" (1884);

* Harkova: the orthodox church of wall called "St. Constantine and Helene" (1903), and the mosque (1812);

* Cernavoda: the orthodox church of wall called "St. Constantine and Helene" (1882-1895), and the mosque (end of 18th century);

* Macin, the church of wall called "St. Nicholas" (1872), and the old mosque (1860);

* Braila: the church of wall called "Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel" (the 17th century), initially a Turkish mosque, the orthodox church celebrates two titular saints "St. Peter and Paul" and "St. Paraskevi" (1872-1892); the church "St. Nicholas" (1860-1865), paintings of P. Alexandrescu, and the Great Synagogue (1892).

Civil Monuments and Ensembles

Comprising buildings that belong to public or private institutions which preserved to this day, their number is very small and they are more specific for the urban centers:

* Giurgiu stands out through the building of the old Prefect's Office (1927), at the moment being a history museum, the river station (1840), the railway station (1878), the Local Council building (1930), the City Hall (1920), an old group of houses from the 20th century in Neoclassical style with frontals and pillars (the house of Dr. D. Caragea, the house of Dr. Miltiade), the Clock Tower (the 18th century), etc.

* Calarasi, with the Prefect's Office (1894-1897), built in Neoclassical style, architect C. D. Ciocani, the old garrison of the firefighters (1897), nowadays the National Archives, the building of "Alexandra Odobescu" County Library (1912), The former Court building (1925), nowadays an archaeology and history museum, the office of the Town Council (1886), the former building of "stirbei Voda" High School (1881);

* Oltenita, a relatively young settlement, with very few old buildings, such as: The Water Castle (1913), nowadays housing a restaurant at the ground floor, the old trading hall with an interior yard (1925), "Flacara" Cinema building (1929-1930) displaying a painting representing a Bacchic celebration, the "Neagoe Basarab" High School building (1930-1934), the archaeology museum building (1926), masterpiece of architect I. Cernescu;

* Fetesti has the building of the Railway Repair Shop and of a roundhouse of engines (1888), three grain mills, the first one dating from 1904, and the other from the period 1929-1934;

* Harsova: the building of the school, the town museum (the 20th century), old buildings (the 20th century);

* Cernavoda: the buildings of: the city hall, the cinema, the post office, the railway station, the Harbour Master;

* Macin: the old inn building (the 17th--18th centuries);

* Braila, the ensemble of buildings that form the old centre of the town (the 19th--20th centuries), such as the Clock Tower (1909), the Palace of Culture (1864), "Maria Filotti" Theatre building (1889), Navrom Club (1900), the Palace of Agriculture (1923), "Nicolae Balcescu" Grammar School (1885-1886), today houses the high school, Lyra Palace (1924), Banca Agricola building (1892), "Faltis" Drug store building (1899), "Pulberaria Noua" pub (1812-1814), "Suliatis" house (1897), nowadays "Ion Ghica" High School, as well as five memorial houses.

Fine Art and Commemoration Monuments

Comprising bas-reliefs, statue groups, commemoration plaques, and busts, glorifying an historic event or historical and artistic personalities, the majority present in the urban areas:

* Giurgiu, with the Heroes Mausoleum, dedicated to the heroes fallen during the War of Independence (1877-1878), elevated in 1934; The monument dedicated to the First World War heroes (1925), the bust of poet Mihai Eminescu (1938), the masterpiece of artist C. Medrea, located on the tallest foundation of a statue representing the national poet of Romania, the bust of Ion Maiorescu, uncovered in 1978, the busts of the main heroes of 1877, located on the Alley of the Heroes;

* Calaraji, the Monument of the First World War Heroes, on Borcea branch, built in 1925, the bust of writer and historian N. Balcescu (1819-1852), built in front of the high school bearing the same name in 1965, the statue of fighter Ecaterina Teodoroiu, built by artist V. Ionescu-Vara in 1928, commemorative plaque located on the building of the Harbor Master in 1948, placed in the memory of the revolutionists from 1848 from Muntenia;

* Ohenita, with the Heroes' Monument dedicated to those fallen during the First World War built by sculptor I. Iordanescu in 1930;

* Fetesti: the Monument of the First World War Heroes, built in front of the town library, and the Obelisk of the Second World War Heroes (1962);

* Harsova: the monument of the teacher I. Catavu (1836-1909), the Fountain with dolphins, artesian type (1969);

* Cernavoda: the monument of the Heroes fallen in the First World War, built by P. Delia, in 1952;

* Macin has the traces of a Roman settlement, called Arrubium (the 1st century B.C.), continued by levels of housings like hovels, which later have disappeared, leaving place for new housing forms;

* Braila: the Monument of the First World War Heroes (1942), and the bust of Emperor Trajan (1962).

The Technical Architecture Monuments

It refers to those industrial, scientific achievements which are representative for a certain historical stage, as symbols of famous engineers:

* Giurgiu with the "Bridge of Friendship" (1952-1954), having a total length of 2244 m, ensuring the railway and road connections between Giurgiu and Russe (Bulgaria), "Bizetz" bridge, built by Anghel Saligny, being the first curved bridge built on a horizontal level;

* Fetesti stands out through the first railway bridge over Borcea branch, built between 1890-1895, by Eng. A. Saligny, with a total length of 4037 m. The railway and road bridge between Fetesti and Cernavoda, parallel with the old bridge, provided with two railways, six traffic lanes, commissioned on November 21st, 1987;

* Cernavoda, CANDU-type of electronuclear power plant (1950-1996), having only one reactor in operation, and the Cernavoda-Fetesti bridge, built by Eng. A. Saligny (1890-1895);

* Braila has preserved the grain hoppers, built by Eng. A. Saligny (the end of the 19th century), as well as the old coast of the town as a border of the river (1912).

The Public Parks and Gardens

These are elements of urban decorations of localities, present especially in towns:

* Giurgiu stands out through the "Alei" Garden (1951), the Youth Park (1969), preserving oak trees by demolishing some old houses;

* Calarasi, standing out through the three parks stretching on a total surface of 40 ha, of which the most import is Dumbrava (25 ha);

* Oltenita, standing out through the town park (7 ha.), located at the discharge of the river Arges in the Danube, together with a small zoological park;

* Fetesti: with the town park (3,2 ha), having decorative species of trees, located near the Borcea branch;

* Macin benefits from an important park, given the fact that it is located in the South--East (4.0 ha).

* Braila, the public garden (6,0 ha.), a monument park, with thermophile species of secular oaks (12 ha).

Ethnography and Folklore

The studied territory is part of the Vlasca, East Wallachia and Dobroudja ethnographic areas characterized by several distinctive features:

* the folk architecture of houses, with partial sides roofs, long terraces, with wooden pillars, found in the peripheral neighborhoods of Giurgiu and the other seven Danube towns;

* "Baraganul" folk ensemble operates in Calarasi, being famous for its folk dance ensemble and its performers and instrument players.

Folk and Cultural Events

These are few and partially emphasize the entire artistic treasure of these human settlements:

* "Coruri Vlascene," in August, and the Folk music festival and competition "Pe marginea Dunarii," from September, housed by the Wallach Theatre from the municipality of Giurgiu;

* Fetesti: "Un bob de veselie" Inter-county festival (competition) of satire and humor;

* Cernavoda: the choir "loan D. Chirescu" is still operating, winning all sorts of prizes at classical music festivals;

* Braila is known for: the Danubian Folk Festival, the Summer Festival of Humor, the light music competition called "Lotca de Aur," the epigrams and humor competition "the Tower of the Epigram," and the Short Films Festival for amateurs.

Museums and Memorial Houses

Situated in all towns along the Danube:

* Giurgiu, "Teohari Antonescu" County Museum (1950), divided in rooms with archaeological, medieval, pre-modern exhibits, the house of Tudor Vianu, which has not been set up as a memorial house yet;

* Calarasi: the "Low Danube" Museum, with rooms dedicated to archaeology, history, fine arts, the "Gh. M. Vasilescu" memorial museum;

* Oltenita: the Archaeology Museum (1957), based on the artifacts of the culture of Gumelnita, with origins in the localities of Ialomita area with remnants in the villages of Chirnogi, Cascioarele, Sultana, of the culture of Cernavoda I, the Bronze and Iron ages in Chirnogi, Chiselet, treasures of coins, certain evidence of continuous inhabitancy of the Danubian space by the Dacians.

* Fetesti, museum collection of agricultural cars, the majority of traditional origin (the 18th--19th centuries), completed with newer mechanical equipment;

* Cernavoda: the history museum "Axiopolis," inaugurated in 2006;

* Braila, the History Museum, with rooms dedicated to archaeology, medieval history, memorial houses of writer I. Perpessicius, musician P. stefanescu Goanga, artist Maria Filotti, geriatric scientist Ana Aslan.

The development of the tourist function supports itself on a very careful evaluation of resources in the field, of knowledge of the preservation status of the revaluation level. By nature, the tourist phenomenon is complex, with deep involvement on other social and economic activities. It is a consequence branch, whose development, in each stage, shall be a permanent correlation with the levels and rhythms of development in other fields from the geographical territory studied in this paper. Given these aspects, concerns for the support of the tourist activities have existed in the human settlements from the Giurgiu-Braila Danubian sector during the last few decades. The new political, legislative and economic changes have determined a larger interest for this activity.

When a tourism resource was evaluated and valued in terms of specific settlements, this exercised a positive influence on the regional and local economy, through the incomes generated by the exploitation of the respective objective, through the consumption of goods, complementary services and through the incomes achieved by the labor force used in the field. The approach of the natural and anthropogenic components from these settlements shows that not all the resources have tourist valences and do not require large investments.


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Spiru Haret University, Bucharest


Hyperion University, Bucharest


(1.) Lysimachos, king of Tracia, ruling between 360-281 B.C., his name being connected to the treasure of Greek-Macedonian coins, issued by this king, called stater. The treasure was discovered in 1802, by a local person in Gradistea Muncelului, on one of the slopes of sureanu Mountains, following a land slide occurred after a strong rain.
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Author:Andrei, Madalina-Teodora; Manolache, Elena Paun
Publication:Geopolitics, History, and International Relations
Article Type:Case study
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Jan 1, 2014
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