Most visitors first encounter the Black Sea coast at CONSTANŢA, a busy riviera town and Romania’s principal port. Its ancient precursor, Tomis, was supposedly founded by survivors of a battle with the Argonauts, following the capture of the Golden Fleece; centuries later, the great Roman poet Ovid was exiled here for nine years until his death in 17 AD. These days, the town is an attractive mix of Greco-Roman remains, Turkish mosques and crisp modern boulevards, home to several interesting museums and a lively restaurant scene.
The oldest area of Constanţa, centred on Piaţa Ovidiu, stands on a headland between what is now the tourist port and the huge area of the modern docks to the south and west. Walking up the shore from the tourist port, you’ll find Constanţa’s passable beach, and inland, beyond the remains of the walls of ancient Tomis, the modern commercial area, along boulevards Ferdinand and Tomis. Further north, nearing the resort of Mamaia, are various sights designed to appeal to children, including a dolphinarium. Pilot cutters mounted by the road at the town’s northern and southern entries attest to its status as a port, as does its biggest festival, Navy Day on August 15, when up to ten thousand people watch the parade.