Dobrogea Fortresses and History


 
Adamclisi FortressAegyssus FortressArgamum FortressCallatisCapidava FortressCarsiumEnisala FortressHalmyris FortressHistria FortressNoviodunum FortressThe Archaeology MuseumThe Roman MosaicTomis FortressUlmetum Fortress

Strange blocks of stone for some people, archaeological treasures for others, the ruins of the fortresses scattered all around the Dobrogea lands still have the power to impress a traveler and to make him wonder about their stories.

Maybe it all started 3.000 years ago when Greeks colonized these lands looking for new territories to expand their civilization. Before them … who knows what was … legends say it was the Deluge, but also the Neolithic cultures and the Hamangia Thinker is a proof for that. Greeks founded many fortresses especially on the Black Sea shore: Tomis (today Constanta, which has the second largest maritime harbor in Europe), Callatis, Histria, Argamum, Heracleea, Aegysus and who knows how many others. They were interested in trade with local people, looking for gold, honey, oil or resins for which they were giving fabrics and fine pottery from Greece.

After Greek civilization faded, was a period of Macedonian Empire control over Dobrogea but, at the beginning of this era, a strong enemy threatened the locals. After long battles beautifully depicted in the metops (bas-reliefs) of Adamclisi, the Roman Empire transformed Dobrogea in a Roman province. Romans, who were excellent administrators and engineers, developed a huge defense system of fortresses along the Danube: Capidava, Carsium, Axiopolis, Durustorum, the ruins of which are still visible, although covered by the dust of almost two millennia. The most beautiful and best preserved of these Roman settlements is Tropaeum Traiani, near the present village of Adamclisi. Here again, you will find remains of the city temples and streets. The most striking feature is a huge marble monument dedicated by Emperor Traianus to the god Mars after his successful campaign against the Dacians. An armored faceless warrior rests on top of a cylinder 32 meters (100 ft) in diameter. Carved around the base, there are 49 bas-reliefs portraying the Roman conquest of Dobrogea after tough wars in 102 A.D.

The Roman Empire divided several centuries later and the Eastern Roman Empire became the Byzantine Empire who preserved the civilization and the defensive system of their ancestors, but also built new fortresses, the most spectacular being the Enisala fortress. Around 1400 Mircea the Old, king of Wallachia, was also proclaimed king of Dobrogea but unfortunately, after the Byzantine Empire felt under the Ottoman Empire attacks, Dobrogea was transformed in Ottoman territory. In 1877, after Romania defeated the Ottoman Empire in the Independence War, Dobrogea become part of Romania.

Conclusion: Dobrogea is a mixture of cultures, of civilizations, of populations, maybe richer in history than any part of Romania. All its uniqueness was synthetized in the beautiful National History and Archeology Museum in Constanta where visitors can admire more than 430.000 objects, some of them priceless when speaking for instance about the Hamangia Thinker and his wife – the Seated Woman, masterpieces of the Neolithic art, or about Glykon – the snake goddess of the family and house.

Pentru unii sunt blocuri ciudate de piatra, pentru altii sunt comori arheologice, dar ruinele fortaretelor si cetatilor raspandite pe tot teritoriul Dobrogei inca au puterea de a impresiona vizitatorii si de a-i face sa se minuneze de legendele acestor locuri.

Probabil totul a inceput in urma cu 3.000 de ani cand grecii au colonizat aceste locuri in cautarea lor de noi teritorii in care sa isi extinda civilizatia. Inaintea lor … cine stie ce a fost … insa legendele spun ca a fost Potopul, insa culturile neolitice si Ganditorul de la Hamangia sunt dovezi evidente ca inainte aici a mai fost ceva. Grecii au intemeiat multe cetati in special pe malul Marii Negre: Tomis (azi Constanta, care este al doilea port ca marime in Europa), Callatis, Histria, Argamum, Heracleea, Aegysus si cine mai stie cate multe altele. Ei erau interesati sa faca comert cu localnicii, cautand aur, miere, ulei sau rasini pentru care ofereau tesaturi si portelanuri fine din Grecia.

Dupa ce civilizatia greaca a decazut, a fost perioada imperiului Macedonean sa iti extinda controlul asupra Dobrogei dar, la inceputul acestei ere, un dusman puternic ameninta localnicii. Dupa batalii de lunga durata descrise atat de frumos in metopele (baso-reliefuri) de la Adamclisi, Imperiul Roman a transformat Dobrogea in provincie romana. Romanii, care erau excelenti administratori si ingineri, au dezvoltat un impresionant sistem de cetati de aparare de-a lungul Dunarii: Capidava, Carsium, Axiopolis, Durustorum, ale caror ruine inca sunt vizibile, chiar daca sunt acoperite de praful a doua milenii. Cea mai frumoasa si mai bine conservata din asezarile romane este Tropaeum Traiani, langa satul Adamclisi de azi. Aici, vizitatorii descopera ceea ce a mai ramas din templele si strazile orasului. Cel mai impresionant vestigiu este un imens monument de marmura dedicat de Imparatul Traian zeului Marte dupa campania sa victorioasa impotriva dacilor. Un imens luptator fara chip imbracat in armura se afla deasupra unui imens cilindru de 32 metri diameteru. Sculptate in jurul bazei cilindrului se afla 49 de baso-reliefuri care infatiseaza cucerirea Dobrogei de catre romani dupa luptele grele din anul 102 d.Ch.

Imperiul Roman s-a divizat cateva secole mai tarziu si Imperiul Roman de Rasarit a devenit Imperiul Bizantin si a conservat civilizatia si sistemul defensiv al inaintasilor, dar in acelasi timp au construit noi cetati, cea mai spectaculoasa din ele fiind Enisala. In jurul anului 1400 Mircea cel Batran, voievodul Valahiei, s-a proclamat si voievod al Dobrogei dar din pacate dupa ce Imperiul Bizantin a cazut sub atacurile Imperiului Otoman, Dobrogea a fost transformata in teritoriu Otoman. In 1877, dupa ce Romania a invins Imperiul Otoman in Razboiul de Independenta, Dobrogea a devenit parte a Romaniei.

Concluzie: Dobrogea este un amestec de culturi, de civilizatii, de populatii, probabil mult mai bigata in istorie decat orice parte a Romaniei. Unicitatea sa a fost sintetizata in superbul Muzeu National de Istorie si Arheologie din Constanta unde vizitatorii pot admira peste 430.000 de obiecte, unele din ele de o valoare inestimabila cum ar fi de exemplu Ganditorul de la Hamangia si sotia lui – Femeie Sezand, capodopere ale artei neolitice, sau de exeplu Glykon-ul – Zeul Sarpe, protector al familiei si al casei.



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