Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve
Location: Dobrogea, Romania | Size: 580,000 | Established: 1990

Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve

If ever there was an Achilles’ heel in both ancient and recent European history, then that was the Danubian Delta. The lower course of the Danube has often been both a defensive and an offensive line for all the great empires establishing their political borders here. The region called Scythia Minor of the Roman and Byzantine world took the shape of a spur reaching into a territory which was difficult to map and supervise. It was the first to be affected by invasions, and also a starting point of military campaigns across the Danube.

 A place of hyperborean legends, the Peuce island area of strange and bizarre creatures, the delta was gradually discovered and colonised by Greek and Roman merchants. On the lower course of the Danube, the delta represented the most vulnerable and difficult point to control; it’s no wonder that numerous fortresses and citadels were built around it, starting from the period of the Roman Empire and continuing during Byzantium.

At the end of a course of over 2,840 kilometres, collecting the water from a vast hydrological basin that exceeds 8% of the area of Europe, the Danube has built one of the most beautiful deltas in Europe. The Danube Delta is one of the biggest wetlands in the world. A living museum of biodiversity, with 30 types of ecosystems, the Danube Delta is a natural genetic bank with inestimable value for natural world heritage.

Among the water formations in the delta are running waters, fresh still waters like big lakes and lakes inside polders, isolated lakes with still salted or brackish waters, coastal lagoons connected to the sea and marine coastal areas with semi-closed gulfs. Its wetlands include the largest area of compact reed beds on the planet. The delta’s diverse landscapes range from floating islands, willow formations and meadows on flooded banks, river plains, oak forests, shrubs, grassy areas, steppe meadows, meadows on marine levees, shifting sand dunes with little vegetation, coastal belts and beaches as well as agricultural polders, to forest polders and poplar plantations on river banks.