THE DANUBE DELTA
At the end of a way exceeding 2840 km, collecting the waters of an impressive river basin covering more than 8% of Europe’s surface, the Danube, the second largest river of the old continent builds upon its encounter with the Black Sea Well over 16,000 years, one of the most beautiful Delta in Europe and even in the world, also known as one of the planet’s great wetlands.
The Danube Delta is a flat region with a small inclination from west to east. In relation to the Black Sea zero level, 20.5% of the delta territory is below it, the highest “heights” being on the marine coasts (Letea – 12.4 m, Caraorman), while the highest depths are on the Danube’s arms -39 m to Chilia, -34 m to Tulcea, -18 to Sulina).
The Danube Delta, with the impressive diversity of habitats and life forms it hosts in a relatively small area, is a true biodiversity museum, a natural value bank of invaluable value for the universal natural heritage.
The Danube Delta hosts over 1830 species of trees and plants, over 2440 species of insects, 91 species of mollusks, 11 species of reptiles, 10 amphibian species, 320 species of birds, 44 mammalian species, many of these being declared unique species and nature monuments and 133 species of fish.
The Danube Delta territory can be divided into two geographical sub-regions: the Delta proper (located between the river arms) and the Razim Sinoe lagoon complex, south of Sfântu Gheorghe branch. At Ismail (at Pătlăgeanca), the Danube branches off forming Chilia arm (to the north) and Tulcea arm (to the south). The second one turns to the Sfântu Gheorghe Ceatal in the arms of Sulina and Sfântu Gheorghe, the latter being the southernmost arm of the Danube and the oldest of all.
Chilia, the most northern one, has a length of 104 km, transports about 60% of the Danube’s waters and alluviums and forms a good portion of Romania’s border with Ukraine.
Sulina arm is the shortest, only 71 km, it is rectilinear and due to the fact that it is carried out the navigation of the sea vessels is always dull.
The southernmost Sfantu Gheorghe arm has a length of 112 km and carries 22% of the Danube’s flow. Next to it, starting with the 19th century, a secondary delta (Sacalin Islands) began forming, which currently has a length of 19 km.
The Danube Delta is:
- - the newest land in Europe (increases by 40 m of land every year)
- - the second largest delta in Europe (that of Volga holds the first place)
- - the third as ecological importance of the 300 natural reserves in the world
- - one of the largest and most compact reed areas in the world (240,000 ha)
- - the world’s richest ornithological fauna (over 250 species)
- - the place where very rare and endangered bird species are found, such as Dalmatian pelicans, small cormorants, red chestnut or Pelecanus crispus, Pelecanus onocrateus, White Egret, Egreta garzeta.
The Danube Delta was included in 1990 by UNESCO in the World Biosphere Reserve Circuit. It has been included in the international biosphere reserve network under the Man and Biosphere Program – UNESCO’s MAB, and has also been included in UNESCO’s Universal Cultural and Natural Heritage List.
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