Enisala Fortress: The Genovese Legacy from the Black Sea

If you’d like to visit this fortress and other attractions from Dobrogea, contact us via www.uncover-romania-tours.com

The Black Sea shore offers to the curious traveler much more than a day at the beach, and visiting Enisala Fortress is the perfect occasion to uncover this other side of tourist attractions. The only medieval fortress from Dobrogea that survived the Turkish-Russian wars from the 19th century, Enisala tells the hundreds of years old story of the time when the powerful Genovese merchants controlled the maritime commerce of the Black Sea.

Enisala

Photo via fotolia

The story of a Genovese legacy

Located in the arid landscape of Dobrogea, close to the rich biodiversity of the Danube Delta, the fortress is strategically placed at an altitude of 116 meters. Overseeing the potential movement of enemy troops both on sea and land, Enisala had from the beginning a key political and commercial role, being one of the prime Genovese colonies from the Black Sea. Its architecture also indicates its initial military importance, as the fortress had defensive towers on three of its sides, five of them still conserved today. The oriental style bastion of the main gate adds even more originality to its architecture.

Enisala

The fortress was built at the beginning of the 14th century after the Genovese merchants took the monopoly of the Black Sea commerce from the Byzantine Empire. In search of new markets for their goods, the merchants raised the fortress on the location of an older Byzantine construction from the 10th-11th centuries, the fortress of Heracleea. The commercial activities flourished for the next two centuries, allowing the inhabitants of the fortress to buy expensive Italian and Turkish pottery as the archaeological discoveries indicate.

Restored by Mircea the Old, during the short interval from the late 14th and early 15th when Dobrogea belonged to Southern Romania, the fortress was, nevertheless, lost in 1419-1420 when the Ottomans conquered Dobrogea. Enisala gradually lost its military importance as the Turks extended their occupation up to the north of the Black Sea. The sand banks that blocked the access of the fortress’ golf to the sea, forming Razim Lake, the largest lake in Romania, cut-off the commercial importance of the fortress.

Enisala fortress

The fortress was abandoned between the 16th and 19th centuries, but its ruin saved it from the Russian order to destroy all military fortresses from Dobrogea, making it the only one surviving from this part of Romania. Today, its uniqueness and historical importance make it one of the top attractions from the shore of the Black Sea.

Travel tips

For a full day of historical discoveries, add the ruins of the ancient fortresses from Histria and Jurilovca to your tour. If you’re looking for more adventurous activities, go on a hiking trip in Macinului Mountains, the oldest in Europe.

Source: www.cetateaenisala.ro

If you’d like to visit this fortress and other attractions from Dobrogea, contact us via www.uncover-romania-tours.com

About the author

Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer, focusing on sustainable tourism practices and destinations. You can find Diana Condrea on Twitter and Google+

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