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Constantza

CONSTANTZA (Constanta), formerly known as Kustendji or Kustendje, a seaport on the Black Sea, and capital of the department of Constantza, Rumania; 140 m. E. by S. from Bucharest by rail. Pop. (1900) 12,725. When the Dobrudja was ceded to Rumania in 1878, Constantza was partly rebuilt. In its clean and broad streets there are many synagogues, mosques and churches, for half the inhabitants are Roman Catholics, Moslems, Armenians or Jews; the remainder being Orthodox Rumans and Greeks. In the vicinity there are mineral springs, and the sea-bathing also attracts many visitors in summer. The chief local industries are tanning and the manufacture of petroleum drums. The opening, in 1895, of the railway to Bucharest, which crosses the Danube by a bridge at Cerna Voda, brought Constantza a considerable transit trade in grain and petroleum, which are largely exported; coal and coke head the list of imports, followed by machinery, iron goods, and cotton and woollen fabrics. The harbour, protected by breakwaters, with a lighthouse at the entrance, is well defended from the north winds, but those from the south, south-east, and south-west prove sometimes highly dangerous. In 1902 it afforded 10 alongside berths for shipping. It had a depth of 22 ft. in the old or inner basin, and of 26 ft. in the new or outer basin, beside the quays. The railway runs along the quays. A weekly service between Constantza and Constantinople is conducted by state-owned steamers, including the fast mail and passenger boats in connexion with the Ostend and Orient expresses. In 1902, 576 vessels entered at Constantza, with a net registered tonnage of 641,737. The Black Sea squadron of the Rumanian fleet is stationed here.

Constantza is the Constantiana which was founded in honour of Constantia, sister of Constantine the Great (A.D. 274-337). It lies at the seaward end of the Great Wall of Trajan, and has evidently been surrounded by fortifications of its own. In spite of damage done by railway contractors (see Henry C. Barkley, Between the Danube and the Black Sea, 1876) there are considerable remains of ancient masonry - walls, pillars, etc. A number of inscriptions found in the town and its vicinity show that close by was Tomi, where the Roman poet Ovid (43 B.C.-A.D. 17) spent his last eight years in exile. A statue of Ovid stands in the main square of Constantza.

In regard to the Constantza inscriptions in general, see Allard, La Bulgarie orientale (Paris, 1866); Desjardins in Ann. dell' istit. di corr. arch. (1868); and a paper on Weickum's collection in Sitzungsbericht of the Munich Academy (1875).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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