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Today most of the Romanian Black Sea shore is with the exception of the Danube Delta area an uninteresting flat plain. However, there was once upon a time a southern rocky sector with spectacular vistas, which is now part of Bulgaria. In the interwar period when the territory was still part of Romania, Queen Marie built in the ancient city of Balcic one of her most remarkable holiday villas, endowed with a large garden and guest houses. Taking the queen’s example, many well to do Romanians built summer residences in that town. The seashore in Balcic faces the south and is protected by a series of rocky hills and cliffs from the cold winds and winter weather that comes over the open Russian steppe from as far as Siberia and menaces most of the rest of the country.

The interwar period has been a glorious time for Balcic, which saw many wealthy Romanians spending the summers in the luxury of the seashore villas or the development of a remarkable painters’ colony that took advantage of the glorious southern sunlight and landscape of Balcic.

Diana Mandache collection All rights reserved

Balcic – Tenha Yuvah villa – (DM collection)

Marie  and her family spent many a summer holiday at her villa and gardens in Balcic and took pleasure rides in the fast boat along the shore. Everything exuded the happiness and well being typical of the Edwardian Age, much the same as other European aristocrats of that period enjoyed the Mediterranean resorts or the British had an wonderful time in India.

TRomanian Royals enjoying a boat ride, Balcic - Diana Mandache collection All rights reserved

Romanian Royals enjoying a boat ride, Balcic – (Diana Mandache collection)

Remarkable for Balcic and the times when Marie put it on the holiday map as an idyllic place, was that not very far away, on the Soviet Black Sea shores, the story was completely different. Stalin unleashed the party purges, killing and sending to prison countless wretched souls. Romania was the country bordering this monstrous state entity and in less than two decades after Marie built her Balcic villa, would be one of its first victims. Valentin & Diana Mandache

All rights reserved©Diana Mandache 2009

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