Histria was first settled by Greek traders in 657 BC and is considered Romania’s oldest town. It eventually surpassed Constanta as being the primary port in the region, but those pesky Goth got wind of this and after numerous attacks, coupled with the gradual sandlocking of the harbor, Histria’s importance waned. The city was abandoned by the 7th century AD, which isn’t really a bad run when you think about it. Its ruins were discovered in 1914.
Histria’s citadel (Cetatea Histria) will be a touch underwhelming if you’ve already been to the lost city of Pompeii, but if you haven’t, you’ll be plenty impressed with the walls, baths and paved roads that have been uncovered at the Histria Archaeological Complex. Visitors can walk freely through the original streets of the ancient fortified city. From the entrance, paths lead through the city’s remains, passing a tower and into the western sector where most of the public buildings, thermal baths and the civil basilica stood. Close by is the Christian basilica, built with stones from the old theatre in the 6th century AD. Some of the more precious archaeological relics uncovered at the site are displayed in the Histria Museum, by the entrance to the site.
On the cliffs in the eastern sector is the so called ‘sacred zone’ (zona sacra). Archaeologists have uncovered remains of a Greek temple here, which is thought to have been built at the end of the 6th century BC.
The Histria Archaeological Complex is 4km south of Histria village. When driving from Constanta, turn east off the main road at the signpost for ‘Cetatea Histria’. The complex is 7km up the road.
Getting to Histria is tough without private transport. Four daily buses depart from Constanta’s northern bus station, but the 4km hike from the stop detours all but the most serious of casual historians. Taxis in the village are sparse.
Accommodations options around Histria are slim to none, however wild camping is permitted on the grounds of the Histria Archaeological Complex, if the thought of it doesn’t spook you out.