General Socioeconomic Aspects

Human settlements are concentrated in depressions, hills with safer areas, on river valleys, some of them even having a strategic-military role – Măcin and Luncaviţa. Most settlements in Dobrogea have an irregular shape, the household being those specific to Southern Dobrogea: “closed yard”, designed for agricultural and pastoral use, with clear elements of “double-yard households”, namely the yard for animals and the house yard. Peasants use to take great care of their animals, positioning the household and its annexes according to cardinal points: stables are mostly positioned in the East, while the house can be anywhere except North, the direction of the North Wind.

The traditional household includes – the “small room” or “ploata” (this can be the summer or winter kitchen), the “dam” with separate stables for vows, bulls, spaces for winter feed, “the sheep shelter”, the “salamac” or pig barn, the cellar, the chicken barn, the gate for carriages, and the straw barn, in the garden.

Dobrogean traditional elements are: wagon style houses with consecutive rooms, split roofs, thatched roofs, with frontons decorated with fretted wood, with blue or green colored woodwork and white limestone colored walls.

The granite of Măcin Mountains has been used for the pylons of Cernavodă bridge, for pavement in France, Turkey, and Germany. Many stonemasons from Italy and Greece were brought here, the heirs of their families continuing to live in Greci.

Most families in the neighboring settlements earn their living by agricultural activities and growing animals. In all the settlements there are dispensaries, secondary schools, kindergartens, vocational schools or high schools, community centers, catering establishments.

The occupations and lifestyle of the settlements neighboring the park have been related to the steppe, forests, glades, pastures, mountains and the Danube’s wetlands for hundreds of years.

Since ancient times the inhabitants have created a tradition out of using the natural resources of the neighboring areas for whatever was needed in the household – wood, reed, foodstuffs for animals, medicinal plants, berries, mushrooms, etc.

Among the occupations of the locals there is agriculture (cereal cultures, fruit tree orchards), fishing, vine cultivation, livestock growing (horses, sheep, and swine), apiculture, horticulture and the marketing or animal or vegetal products in the nearby market towns. Craftsmanship has a very long tradition but is currently declining. Stone carving stands out, reed processing, woodworking, the hand knitting and making of traditional clothes and costumes and handicrafts.

The industry domains represented in the areas neighboring the park: light industry, food industry, wood industry, and the mining industry.

Many of the traditional forms of life and work have been preserved. Horses and donkeys are still used for traditional means of transportation, but the animal breeds of the area are not the most efficient, thus bringing low productivity in this respect.

The houses, tools and many everyday used objects are simple and they are even made today out in households, using local materials and traditional know how. A special characteristic is the traditional architecture: clay houses with thatched roofs, simple wooden surroundings, or reed-built encroachments for animals.

Another special feature is the local customs on special occasions (celebrations, weddings, christenings, funerals), local manifestations – rustic celebrations, festivals, fairs, and so on, which are veritable parades of traditions costumes.