Enisala Fortress: The Genovese Legacy from the Black Sea

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

If you’d like to visit Enisala 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 Fortress

Enisala Fortress

Photo source: fotolia

The story of a Genovese legacy

Located in the arid landscape of Dobrogea, close to the rich biodiversity area 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 original military importance, as the fortress had defensive towers on three of its sides, five of them still conserved today.

Enisala Fortress

Enisala Fortress

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 Prince Mircea the Old, during the short interval of time from the late 14th and early 15th when Dobrogea belonged to Southern Romania, the fortress was lost in 1419-1420 when the Ottomans conquered Dobrogea. As the Turks extended their domination up to the north of the Black Sea, the fortress gradually stopped having military importance.

The sandbanks that blocked the access of the fortress’ golf to the sea, forming the largest lake in Romania, cut-off also the commercial importance of the fortress.

Enisala fortress

Sea view from Enisala Fortress

The fortress was abandoned between the 16th and the 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.

For the visiting schedule, check www.icemtl.ro

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

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