Histria, close to the city of Constanta in Romania, is an archaeological park housing ruins which date throughout Romania’s history.
History of Histria
Histra was once a harbour, first occupied by the Ancient Greeks in 675 BC. Under the Greeks, it flourished into a centre of trade, specialising in ceramics, glass and metals. The earliest Romanian currency, the 8g silver Drachma, was first issued in Histria in circa 480 BC.
Over the centuries, Histria was invaded numerous times, including twice by the Romans and it served as both a Roman and Byzantine settlement. The city was inhabited uninterruptedly for more than 1,300 years across 5 distinct historical periods: Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Early Roman, and Late Roman. Like other colonies, Histria was built of two different units, each surrounded by its own precincts.
On the western plateau was the civil settlement, also the largest inhabited area, surrounded by the oldest identified fortified lines. Only in the seventh century was Histria destroyed by enemy forces.
This rich yet turbulent history has endowed Histria with a wealth of sites and monuments such as temples to Aphrodite and Zeus as well as Roman baths. Visitors can walk around the site with relative freedom, looking at its fascinating collection of remaining walls, columns and structures.
The archaeological excavations began at Histria only 100 years ago and still continue today. Visitors can admire the discoveries of this archaeological work by visiting the museum of Histria which houses a display of finds from the site ranging from inscriptions, jewellery and coins, sculptures and ceramics to tools and weapons.
Getting to Histria
Getting to Histria is difficult without private transport. Buses depart from Constanţa’s northern bus station, but the 4km hike to the museum complex from the stop puts many people off and taxis are hard to find here. Travelling by car is advised.
Explore the impressive history of Romania in our guide to the 10 best historic sites to see, including the supposed home of Dracula at Bran Castle and the imposing Alba Iulia Fortress.