The Danube Delta - Romania's Newest Land

After last week's blogpost on Canada's Belcher Islands, we are keeping the theme of "islands" in this weeks entry. However, the focus shifts to Europe, as we are presenting you the satellite image of "Danube Delta".

The Danube, Europe’s second longest river, flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world. Originating in southwestern Germany, it passes through 4 European capitals (Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade) before emptying into the Black Sea. The area where it finally meets the ocean is located in the border region between Romania and Ukraine and is called the Danube Delta.

(The Danube Delta is located in the border region between Romania and Ukraine)

The Danube Delta contains an area of approximately 4,000 square kilometres, 80% of which located in Romania. The satellite image above shows the islands of Sacalin, Romania’s only island in the Black Sea. In this blogpost, we will tell you more about this incredibly shaped island, how it got its form and a bit on the history of the delta in general


In 1991, the Romanian part of the Danube Delta was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites, meaning that nearly 3,000 square kilometres of it are strictly protected. The delta contains Europe’s largest natural wetlands and is of extreme importance to a variety of animals. Birds from six major ecoregions, such as the Mongolian, Siberian and Arctic ecoregions, visit the delta on their migratory routs. During winter, about one million individual birds can be found spending the colder months in the delta. Among the birds that can be seen in the delta are pelicans, wild ducks and swans.

(The Danube Delta is bird paradise; Dalmatian Pelican, Photo by Adi Daniel Antone, WikiCommons)


The Danube Delta is one of the least inhabited areas of temperate Europe, averaging only 2 inhabitants per square kilometre. Despite that, there are considerable issues threatening the biodiversity of the area. During the Romania’s Communist era, plans were made to transform the Danube Delta into a large agricultural zone. Large areas of the delta were drained and transformed into farmland, negatively impacting the ecosystem. The construction of dams further upstream, especially during the late 20th century, have reduced the flow of sediments into the delta, inhibiting its natural development. Indeed, these sediments carried downriver have been an important part of the island of Sacalin’s evolution.


It is hard to believe, but the island of Sacalin is no older than 160 years. Initially, it was made up of two separate islands – Sacalinu Mare and Sacalinu Mic (both named after Sakhalin Island, a Russian island in the Pacific). Over time, sediments flowing downstream and settling around the islands formed a “bridge” between the two islands and united them, forming one single island. Today, Sacalin has an area of about 21,000 hectares, measuring 19 kilometres in length. The island is still evolving: strong currents and winds erode the land on the southern end, while sediments continue to add land mass on the northern part, causing a “rotational” movement around the centre point of the island - clearly visible in the satellite image below. The winds and currents are also causing the curved shape of the island, giving it an almost sabre-like form.

(Wind and currents have given the island of Sacalin its shape and cause a "rotating" movement)


Not only the island of Sacalin but the entire delta is still evolving. On average, it grows by 40 metres per year, thanks to millions of tons of river deposits flowing down the Danube. Indeed, the Danube Delta is considered Romania’s “newest land”. This breath-taking and ever-transforming environment is one of Romania’s favourite tourist attractions, a magnet for bird watchers, fishers and adventurers. It is best explored by boat, but visitors should be aware that the delta is considered a biosphere reserve and therefore it is required to get a permit before entering.

(No matter how you twist and turn it, the Danube Delta always looks fascinating)


Danube Delta was one of the first satellite images we offered in our store. What made us fall in love with the motif, Sacalin island, is its unique shape. But it is also the different ways you can hang up the poster that makes the motif special. Turn it on its head – it represents a feather. Turn it by 90° - it looks like a scimitar or sabre. Then there are the beautiful colours and contours of the water. On one side of the island (the eastern side) we can see waves, while the other side of the island is characterised by the many different shades of blue, green and grey, caused by the sediments flowing down the Danube. All of this makes the Danube Delta one of our favourite motifs and we are happy to share its story with you!

(Rippling waves in the east and amazing colours in the west - a unique feature of the motif "Danube Delta")

If you liked this posts and feel as amazed by the beauty of the Danube Delta and Sacalin island as we do, have a look at our store and check out our poster and premium prints of the delta.

We hope you enjoyed this week's blog entry. Let us know your own stories about the delta and make sure to also check out our other posts!


Satellite image "Danube Delta" (c) eoVision / DigitalGlobe

Image of Dalmatian Pelican: By Adi Daniel Antone from Craiova, Romania (Pelecanus onocrotalus Danube Delta Romania) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

#Europe #Romania #satelliteimage #motif #DanubeDelta #water #island

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