Foto: Dan Staicu (CNIPT Măcin)
For any tourist who visits the city of Măcin and its surroundings for the first time and arrives in front of mountains the size of hills, the experience is striking, and the desire to learn more about the area grows rapidly. Natural tourist resources are not lacking in the Măcin area, on the contrary, they make this place one that arouses the interest of tourists from year to year. An example in this sense is the Măcinului National Park, which, from year to year, arouses an increasing interest in passers-by and contributes to a better knowledge of the Dobrogean area by Romanians and foreigners.
How to access the Măcin Mountains?
With an area of 11,151.82 hectares, access to the Măcin Mountains National Park is made:
- from DN 22D, between the towns of Măcin and Horia
- on the European road E87, between the towns of Măcin-Jijila – Luncaviţa
- on the county road between Horia and Luncaviţa communes
Macin Mountains National Park – Biosphere Reserve
The Măcin Mountains National Park was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1998, being the only area in the European Union where steppe-specific ecosystems meet alongside sub-Mediterranean and Balkan forests.
More than 3,400 species of flora and fauna can be found in the Măcin Mountains National Park, as well as important areas of steppe vegetation.
Măcinului Mountains National Park is an integral part of the Natura 2000 Network, being the only national park in Europe established for the protection and promotion of biodiversity in the steppe bioregion.
The uniqueness of the landscape is given by the granitic megalithic formations and the contrast between the steppe landscape on the ridges and the forest vegetation at the base of the mountains.
The Măcin Mountains, the oldest mountains in Romania
The Măcin Mountains represent the most obvious residual witness of the Hercynian orogeny from the end of the Paleozoic with the appearance of an “inselberg” (island mountain). They occupy the northwest corner, rising above Ostrovul Brăilei by more than 300 – 400 meters and extend in the form of a narrow hilly ridge (called Pintenul Bugeacului) until near Galati.
Although they hardly resemble any mountainous formations, given their low height, the Măcin Mountains are recognized as the oldest mountains in Romania, and researchers – but also tourists – show a special interest in the natural treasure existing in this area: geological, botanical, zoological .
The interest is validated by research that shows that rocks from 650 million years ago are also found in the area.
The process of rock disaggregation is active, resulting in archaic landscapes with a ruin-like appearance. Măcinul is, therefore, a synthesis of the main geological periods in our country.
The highest point is 467 meters high
The highest point is at Greci and has a height of 467 meters. The mountain landscape is dotted with eroded monoliths that can take different forms, depending on the imagination of those who visit the area.
In the extension of the Ţuţuiatu Peak, towards the north-west, there is the Pietrosul Mare peak (426 meters) and the Pietrosu peak, after which the heights gradually decrease, reaching 100 – 170 meters, near the town of Văcăreni, and in the spur of Bugeac they even reach 95 meters.
To the southeast of the Țuțuiatu peak, the main peak of the Măcin Mountains continues through a series of hilly peaks, such as Costiag Hill (428 meters), Negoiu Hill, with Piatra Mare peak (380 meters), David Hill (354 meters) , Crapcea Hill (344 meters), Carapcea Hill and Carpelit Hill (350 m).
Next, to the west, is the first secondary peak, called Culmea Cheii, with the Pricopan peak (370 meters) and the Maegina massif (285 meters), which converges through Carapacea Hill towards Carpelit Hill.
The imagination of the passers-by is put to work especially on Culmea Pricopanului. Here, 562 species of higher plants and 14 herbaceous floristic associations have been identified, and 72 taxa are considered endangered.
Also to the west, follows the second secondary peak, parallel to the previous ones, formed by several massif mamelonara, with an insular character, drowned in loess and placed in the backstage, where the Orliga hills (117 meters), Carcaliu (95 meters) can be distinguished , Piatra Rîioasă (112 meters), Priopcea (409 meters) and Mircea Vodă (206 meters). They are made of quartzite, which predominates in the Priopcea massif, of mica, filtted and developed in the full steppe, low area.
The last heights, which present themselves in the form of completely isolated massifs, are Iacobdeal, with Victoria peak (341 meters), and Piatra Roșie (both made of granite), then Bujoarele Hills (380 meters), where sandstones, shale and limestone of Devonian age.
On the eastern side of the Măcin Mountains, up to the Lozova valley, there are only two parallel peaks, the first consisting of the Coșlugea Hill (336 meters) and the second of the Pîrlita and Boclugea hills (393 meters), also consisting of quartzites, phyllites, granites of Proterozoic age.
In the north-east of the Măcin Mountains is the upper Taiței Depression, with a longitudinal character (Nifon – Balabancea – Horia), which, through the Teilor Pass, extends into the Luncavita depression.
The climate in the Măcin Mountains
The climate in the Măcin Mountains area has obvious steppe characteristics with dry summers and winters with small amounts of snow.
The average annual temperature varies between 9 and 10.8 degrees Celsius, and the amount of average annual precipitation is around 480 mm/year.
This climate determines a unique ecosystem variety in Europe with interferences of the Pontic – sub-Mediterranean, Central European and Asian ecosystem types, which give the Măcin Mountains the attribute of miniature synthesis of two continents: Europe and Asia.