The Danube Delta is not only the second largest delta on the planet, but also the most preserved one on the European continent. According to recorded history, the delta was formed about 5,000 years ago on the place of what was initially a gulf to the Black Sea.
Nowadays, it is home to a great number of animals and plants and it contains 25 types of ecosystems, some of them strictly protected. If you happen to travel to Romania, the Danube Delta is one of the must-see attractions you cannot afford to miss. Following is a list of the top 10 facts that I have learned about this unique place.
1. Its biodiversity is close to the one of the Great Reef in Australia
According to ARBDD statistics, so far over 5,000 species and plants and animals have been identified in the Danube Delta. And, the same source states that that it is very likely that the numbers of animals and plants in the delta is even greater than that considering the various habitat types that exist in this area. This is why biologists concluded that the biodiversity present in the Danube Delta is almost as great and amazing as the one found in the Great Coral Reef.
2. The Danube Delta still continues to grow
Even though geologists agree that the Danube Delta started to form many thousand years ago, its landscape is ever-changing. To put it simply, it is estimated that approximately 67 million tons of alluvia make their way to the delta each year, a fact that determines this lost paradise to slightly increase on a yearly basis.
3. It is the birdwatcher’s paradise
The Danube Delta is the largest home for over 300 resident and migratory species of birds, mainly because of its crossroad location (parallel 45) between the Equator and the North Pole. The vast majority of species can be best observed during late spring (March or April) to mid fall (October) and the most noteworthy birds you are very likely to spot include the red-breasted goose, glossy ibis, small egret, Dalmatian pelican, the white pelican, ferruginous duck and the pygmy cormorant. It is necessary to mention that this delta is home to the largest population of pelicans in Europe.
4. The Danube Delta contains three interesting channels
Covering over 2,000 square miles, the Danube Delta comprises of an intricate network of channels spread between three main ones. The three channels – Chilia, Sulina and Sfantu’ Gheorghe – have their own “personalities” and individual attractions. For instance, if you were to visit the youngest channel – Chilia – you will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the largest pelican colony and check out the beautiful wild horses that live nearby to the Letea forest.
5. It has an incredibly rich cultural heritage
As previously mentioned, the Danube Delta is among the best preserved deltas of the world. First attested by Herodot around the fourth century B.C. this place is still not tainted by the hand of man and currently has a rather small population of 15,000 inhabitants. However, human presence in the delta can be traced back to 5,000 years B.C. Many of the artifacts dated from prehistoric times as well as many traces of the ancient Greek, Byzantine and Roman cultures are still present there.