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Dan Sambra / Administrator

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Friday, February 15th 2013, 6:50pm

1858: Statistical Report ... Dobrogea, Foreign Office, Neale - British Consul, Tulcea, Isaccea, Macin, Babadag, Medgidia, Mangalia, Küstendje, DBSR, Varna, Balcic, Kavarna, Silistria

Quoted from "Statistical Report ..."

Varna, March 28, 1858

General Description of the Dobrutcha

Superficial extent

The territory called the Dobrutcha, annexed to Bulgaria Proper,
1840: Das Osmanische Reich, Fried
and forming a portion of this province, is, nevertheless, sufficiently distinct in its position and the mixed races of its inhabitants to require a separate notice. The surface of the Dobrutcha, by which district is implied the north-eastern corner of Bulgaria, covers a surface of about 7,500 English square miles.

The Danube separates it not only from Bessarabia to the north, but from Wallachia and Moldavia to the west and north-west, while to the south a line drawn from Balsik to Bazardjik separates it from the rest of Bulgaria. Its eastern boundary is washed by the Black Sea from Balsik to the mounts ofthe Danube.

Soil and climate

The soil and climate of this district is very favourable to agriculture; its surface is extremely undulating, and at intervals small conical hills and tumili are interspersed in some places, as between Donakoi and Kiorchesme: these hills are cones, formed by volcanic eruptions. From the summit of some of these a fine view is obtained of the surrounding country, and several of them bear still the traces of bygone fortifications.

ln no country within an equal space, are so many ruins to be met with as in the Dobrutcha; the defensive works thrown up by each successive conquering horde have been apparently as successively destroyed and others rebuilt by their enemies. An interesting field is here presented for the antiquary. Some of the modern towns occupy the site of ancient cities and have been distinguished as follows:

Modern ................ Ancient
Kustenjee ............ Tomi of the Romans (Constantia of the Genoese)
Kara Herman ......... Silvania
Toultcha .............. Aegissa
lsakcha ............... Neriodunum
Matchin .............. Chrisopolis
Hirshova ............. Carsium
Rassovata ........... Acheopolis

The great number of ruined villages in the Dobrutcha, the names of which are familiar to the inhabitants, but of which the former site is now only pointed out, attests the large populations which once inhabited this district, upon the surface of which a million of inhabitants might subsist; whereas its present population (included in the general population of Bulgaria) hardly reaches 80,000, inhabiting 388 villages, or about ten persons per square mile.

In consequence of this deficiency in labour, reapers are brought from the district of Ternova to aid in securing the crops. The soil in the valleys of the Dobrutcha is in every respect well suited to agriculture, and especially for spring crops; but it is too light and damp for those of the autumn. The neighbourhood of the woody districts is particularly well adapted for the cultivation of grain, while the high lands afford abundant pasturage.

The geographical position of this district exercises a favourable influence upon its climate; the close vicinity of the Danube and the Black Sea keeps up a humidity which moderates the heats of summer and the cold of winter. The spring is early; and vegetation rapid, and arrives quickly at maturity. The winter sets in late, and hardly lasts more than three months, and the rains towards the close of autumn cause a fresh vegetation, as luxurious as that of spring; but the hay dries in the fields for want of sufficient hands to reap it.

These circumstances render the Dobrutcha especially adapted for pasturage, and the amount of hay which it would supply it would be difficult to calculate or exaggerate. The Transylvanian shepherds, before referred to in this Report, chiefly frequent this district with their flocks, upon the payment of a tax which produces a revenue of at least 10,000 I. annually to the Government.

The centre of the Dobrutcha, however, being particularly exposed to the influence of the sun, is dry and scorched. Towards the extremities of the district the forests refresh the climate and afford moisture to the atmosphere. In the forest regions springs are abundant, and the tillage land is protected from high winds, but towards the centre the springs dry up, and the want of water is much felt, being only procurable from wells.

This part of the district is exposed to the violent winds, which blow alternately, towards the close of autumn, both from the Danube and the Black Sea, accelerating frosts, which often injure the crops; the spring crops are on this account alone dependent on. The climate of the Dobrutcha, in the opinion of close observers, has undergone a considerable change in the lapse of years. It is observed. that as the villages now existing are constructed only where there are springs of water, such must have at all times been the case in the chosen sites of those villages which are now in ruins; but the springs adjacent to these have dried up, while in the vicinity of the woody regions they have ever remained unchanged: it is therefore inferred, that to the destruction of the forests in the centre of the Dobrutcha is to be attributed the drying of the springs, the want of which produces an unfavourable influence upon the climate and soil of this part of the district.

The mixed population of this district represent no less than twelve different nationalities, and almost as many different creeds: voluntary exiles, and deprived of the means of existence in their native countries, they have sought an asylum in this productive district. The object of their emigration being gain, they have settled her as colonists, and are remarkable for their industry. The number of families of the different nationalities thus inhabiting the Dobrutcha are here enumerated:

Nationalities ................ Number of families
Turks ............................... 4800
Tatars ............................. 2225
Wallachians ....................... 3656
Bulgarians ......................... 2214
Lipovani ........................... 747
Arabs .............................. 145
Cossacks ......................... 1092
Greeks ............................ 300
Germans ........................... 59
Gipsies ............................. 212
Armenians ......................... 126
Jews ............................... 119
Total number of families: .... 15764

The Turks inhabit the district towards the sea; The Wallachians those parts bordering on the Danube. These two sects are the most ancient among the different sects inhabiting the country. The Tatars, driven from the Crimea upon its conquest by Russia, settled in Bessarabia; but on the capture of Ismail, they crossed the Danube and settled in Dobrutcha, where they have not remained undisturbed for the last fifty years: they have been four times driven by the approach of the Russian armies.

During the late war (1853) [Dan: razb. Crimeii], they fled across Bulgaria, dispersed over the Balkan, committing great ravages, robbing and burning the Bulgarian villages on their line of route, and the town of Bazardjik became almost depopulated by the flight of the Christian inhabitants. A new Colony of Tatars is now settled in the Dobrutcha, numbering about 13,000, who, at their own request, were transported from Eupatoria and other parts of the Crimea, and were landed at Balsik, during the late war, from British and French vessels.

The Bulgarian inhabitants have only been settled in the Dobrutcha during the last thirty years. The Cossacks and Lipovani have emigrated thither from Russia, and their numbers are increasing by occasional fresh arrivals. The Greeks inhabit exclusively the towns, and are not engaged in agricultural pursuits. The few German colonists inhabit two villages respectively near Toultcha and Hirshova.

The Turks and Tatars of the Dobrutcha are generally considered to be the most prosperous; and yet, the following return of the possession in domestic animals and products of the 3,656 Wallachian families, estimated at a very low rate, would imply that they were by no means in impoverished circumstances, as compared with the peasantry of most other countries:

Agricultural Stock ..................................Amount £
358l5 Oxen. at 21. 10s. ............................ 89 537
10075 horses, at 4l. ................................ 40 300
66050 sheep, at 10$. .............................. 33 O25
722 buffaloes, at 2l. 10$ ............................ 1805
7400 pigs, at 10s. .................................... 3700
8720 bee-hiws. at lOs. .............................. 4650
Total .............................................. £ I72 927

Or, on the average, the value of the stock of each family would be 47£. The towns comprised within this territory are Bazardjik, Toultcha, lsakcha, Matchin, Babadagh, Hirshova, Mangalia, Kustenjee, Boghos Koe, and the recently constructed town or large village of Megedia, standing on the site of the former town of Karasu, in which the Tatars who left the Crimea during the late war have been located.

The principal features of these several towns are as follows:

The town of Bazardjik, which was almost entirely deserted owing to the ravages committed by the Tatars of the Dobrutcha on their flight from the Russians during the late war (1853) has been reoccupied. It is well situated in a valley surrounded by vineyards, and is well supplied with water: it contains four mosques, a Greek church, and an Armenian church; 750 houses are inhabited by Turks, 110 by Bulgarians, 50 by Annenians, and 40 by gipsics of the Christian persuasion. The total population amounts to 4,700.

This town is the centre from which the several roads branch off leading to the different towns situated on the Lower Danube, and those on the Black Sea from Sulina to Varna. Its position is, in fact, in the Dobrutcha, what Malines is in Belgium, the centre of all the lines of Communication.
The distance from Bazardjik to the towns refened to is as follows:

Towns situated on the Black Sea ...... English miles

From Bazardjik to Varna .................... 24
From Bazardjik to Balsik .................... 18
From Bazardjik to Kavarna ................. 21
From Bazardjik to Mangalia ................ 36
From Bazardjik to Kustenjee .............. 54

Towns situated on the Danube

From Bazardjik to Roustchouk .......... 120
From Bazardjik to Silistria ................ 48
From Bazardjik to Boghos Koe ........... 60
From Bazardjik to l-lirshova .............. 96
From Bazardjik to Matchin .............. 126
From Bazardjik to Toultcha ............. 114
From Bazardjik to Babadagh ............ 96

From the central position which it occupies, a fair is held at Bazardjik annually in the spring which attracts merchants from all parts of Bulgaria.

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Friday, February 15th 2013, 7:23pm

Tulcea / Toultcha, Isaccea / Isakcha , Macin / Matchin, Medgidia, Mangalia, Kustendje, Babadag, Cernavoda

Quoted from "Statistical Report...."


Toultcha contains a mixed population of about 12,000 inhabitants.
1860:: Toultcha / Tulcea, C. P. Peters
It is situated on a height, the Danube flowing at its base; and the inhabitants are chiefly engaged in trades and pursuits having reference to the wants of the numerous shipping of all nations which pass the Toultcha on their way from and to Galatz and Ibraila.

Three or four hundred Ionians are established here as boatmen, ship-chandlers, and pilots. Mr. Vice-Consul Lloyd, whose jurisdiction extends between this town and Sulina, is fully occupied in settling the differences of the Ionians (between themselves and the other inhabitants), as in this locality they are for the most part of a turbulent class.

The construction of boats and sea-going vessels of a small tonnage has made considerable progress at this town. Wool, tallow, and grain form the principal exports.

The free navigation of the Danube, and a consequent increase of shipping, will no doubt greatly add to the prosperity of this town, unless this result is counteracted by the success which may attend the projected railway between Boghos Koe [Dan: Cernavoda] and Kustenjee, and harbour at the later place.

Isakcha and Matchin
The inhabitants of these towns are chiefly occupied in the river trade of the Lower Danube and in fishing. The population is composed of Turks and Wallachians.

1850: Babadagh

In this town the Turkish and Wallachian inhabitants are the most numerous; with the exception of Bazardjik and Balsik, this district of the Dobrutcha is the most populous.

It is 27 miles distant from Toultcha, 24 from lsakcha, 36 from Matchin, and 60 from Hirshova.

Medgidia and the Tatars
The large village or town of Megedia, situated about half-way
1860: Medgidia, C. P. Peters
between Rassova and Kustenjee, has been constructed within the last two years upon the site of the town of Karasu (which of late years had been abandoned) under the directions of the Turkish Government, for the accomodation of the Tatars who left the Crimea during the late war (1855), and are now colonised in the Dobrutcha.

It was decided by the Porte to treat these emigrants, who number about 13,000, with great liberality upon their arrival at Balsik, where they were transported, with their baggage and effects, in British transports, and a considerable sum of money was awarded to be distributed amongst them for their immediate support.

A Commission was dispatched with these funds, and the Pasha of Roustehouk came to Balsik, and remained there for some months for the purpose of settling the colonists. But both in the distribution of the funds and the building of the village, peculation appears to have been practised, as the Pasha has since been removed from his office, and has been summoned to Constantinople to render an account of the disbursements. The Tatars are now engaged in agricultural and pastoral pursuits, but they are generally esteemed to be far from an industrious race.

Mangalia, situated on the shores of the Black Sea, does not contain
1854: Mangalia, L'Illustration
more than eighty houses, of which seventy-five are inhabited by Turks.

The roadstead is rarely frequented by shipping. It once possessed a safe and eommodious harbour, formed in solid masonry, the traces of which still remain.

Local tradition attributes its construction to the Armenians, and a stone with an inscription in Armenian to that effect, is stated to have been found in the sea. The dimensions of the stone-work forming the harbour are said to have been so substantial that two bullock-carts could pass side by side along the top, which was ornamented with marble statues.

Kustenjee and Boghos Koe / Cernavoda
Previous to the war between Turkey and Russia (1828-29), Kustenjee
1855: Kustendje, Camille Allard
contained a small fortress, which was destroyed by the Russians at the period reffered to. The present population hardly numbers 400. As the nearest point to the Danube, and as evinced by the columns of granite and marble which have been found here, Kustenjee, under the Genovese, by whom it was built, must have been a very considerable and important commercial city.

Its port had quays of hewn stone; but vessels, from a remote period, having discharged their ballast in the anchorage-ground, it has become filled up and useless, and the roadstead is so exposed that an occasional vessel which may anchor here is stranded should an easterly or north-easterly-gale arise.

During the late war, several English and French transports were here for the purpose of loading hay, the produce of the Dobrutcha, for the use of the armies, when no less than twelve British vessels were driven on shore on the same day, exclusive of those under other flags; no lives were, however, lost, and their crews were convoyed to Varna. The import and export traffic of this port is at present quite insignificant; the Custom-house authorities not having even an agent here to collect the dues upon any produce of the neighbourhood which may occasionally be shipped.

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Friday, February 15th 2013, 9:02pm

DBSR - Danube Black Sea Railway

Quoted from "Statistical Report ..."

The projected railroad / DBSR

The projected railway from Kustenjee to Boghos Koe, however, to which I have had several times occasion to allude in the course of this Report, renders this port of considerable interest. I am informed that the preliminary measures having been concluded, the line will positively be commenced in the course of two months; the engineers to be employed on this work being at present engaged within this district in contracting for the necessary timber.

The distance between Kustenjee and Boghos Koe not exceeding thirty-five miles, it is anticipated that it will be completed in less than two years. The success of this enterprise would seem, in a great measure, to depend upon diverting the channel of the corn and grain at present exported from Galatz and lbraila by the mouth of the Danube, and of its conveyance by rail from Boghos Koe to Kustenjee for shipment at that port, where it is purposed by the railway company to construct a harbour.

lf one or other of the mouths of the Danube are rendered permanently navigable through the endeavours of the Commissioners appointed to attain this object, great doubts must prevail whether the shipments of grain from Ibraila and Galatz would be so diverted; as, however advantageous the transit to Kustenjee would be by rail as compared to the longer and more tedious channel of the Danube, merchants are, in general, adverse to the frequent transfer of their merchandise from one mode of conveyance to another, when their operations can be accomplished by the single transaction of loading the ships at Galatz.

It is true that a considerable portion of the grain and other produce deposited at lbraila and Galatz for exportation, is, in the first instance, derived from the country higher up the river, and on both sides of it as far as Widdin. These, it might be expected, might advantageously be stopped at Boghos Koe, instead of continuing their course to Galatz, and take advantage of the railroad of that place for conveyance to the Black Sea at Kustenjee; but even in respect to this portion of the trade, it must be considered that the merchants themselves, or their agents, are established at Galatz and Ibraila, and may be averse to alter the present channel of their operations by the mouths of the Danube, especially under the improvements and facilities anticipated in that quarter.

Under any circumstances, however, the projected railway, if carried into effect, would, in my humble opinion, be far superior in practical utility to the long-projected enterprise of a canal between the same points. lt has, indeed, been a mattcr of surprise to me that such an undertaking should have been so long agitated, as a fatal and insuperable objection exists to the possible utility of a canal during the winter months, seeing that it would be frozen even before the Danube itself; and a winter communication between that river and the Black Sea, is, in a commercial point of view, the great desideratum.

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Sunday, February 17th 2013, 10:23am

Varna, Balsik, Kavarna, Silistria

Quoted from "Statistical Report..."

Varna and Roustchouk Railway project
The counter project, frequently proposed and entertained of
1856: Varna
constructing a railroad from Roustchouk to Varna, has many advantages in its favour, and is that which most interests and engages the attention of the native inhabitants, some of the more wealthy and enterprising Bulgarian merchants at Shumla having even adopted steps in favour of the undertaking. Such a line would, undoubtedly, engage a large amount of traffic, and develop the whole resources of Bulgaria; Shumla forming a central depot.

The produce of both shores of the Danube above Roustchouk, now sent to Galatz and lbraila, would, in every probability, here find an outlet by rail to the embarking point at Varna, and the time and distance here gained, would greatly counterbalance the considerations suggested in respect to the comparative advantages of the line between Boghos Koe [Dan: Cernavoda] and Kustenjee, and the passage by the mouths of the Danube.

French engineers have carefully surveyed the line between Varna and Roustchouk, and the project of executing a railroad has not, I am informed, been abandoned by French Company.

Port of Balsik / Balcic
I have already observed, under the general heads of the ports
1854: Baldjick, escadres francaise et anglaise
along the sea-coast of Bulgaria, that the port of Balsik has several advantages over that of Varna.

Upon the abolition of monopolies, and the free removal of the restriction to exportation in 1838, Balsik was the first port in this province resorted to. It is sheltered from the most prevailing winds, and the holding-ground is good. The approach of the town itself from the interior, however, is difficult for the carts of the country, and to such an extent was this difficulty felt, that the peasants, some years since, voluntarily imposed upon themselves a contribution in kind of three okes of wheat or barley per cart-load, with the produce of the sale of which they suggested that a convenient descent and way might be constructed leading into the town.

Some improvement in the road was accordingly effected, but the contribution reffered to has abusively been considerably increased in quantity, and has now become a compulsory and permanent tax, receivable by the farmers of the revenue, and yielding, at least 1,000 l. per annum. Barley is good and productive in this neighbourhood, and during the past year (1857), 37,500 quarters were shipped from Balsik and Kavarna for England, in four British and fifteen Austrian vessels; 25,000 quarters of wheat were likewise during the same period exported from Balsik.

The port of Kavarna, nine miles distant from Balsik, and similarly
1854: Kavarna
situated in other respects, is inconvenient for shipping, being upwards of a mile from the town, which is in a dilapidated condition, and contains only about 500 inhabitants.

The importance of this fortress as a stronghold on the Lower Danube,
185x: Silistria
and as commanding one of the narrowest passages of that river. has been sufficiently pointed out by the part which has taken in successive wars; and the glorious and successful resistance which it offered during the late war (l854) to a powerful Russian army, seems to prove, that if this fortress fell so easily on former occasions into the hands of Russia, that fact must be attributed to the slender chances of relief or aid which the garrison could hope for on those occasions, whether by the mouths of the Danube, or from the sea-coast, trough Varna; Russia having the command of both.

During the late war, although supported in flank by the allied armies assembling at Varna, and which, there can be no doubt, mainly influenced the Russian General to raise the siege of that fortress, and recross the Danube, the Turkish forces in Silistria and other points on the river, from thence to Toultcha, were exceedingly harassed during the war by Russian gun-boats (for the most part actually constructed at Toultcha) armed with guns of heavy calibre, and shitting their positions at pleasure.

These vessels in great measure enabled the Russian army to pass the river almost unopposed, and the absence on the Danube of similar vessels on the part of the Turks or their allies to counterbalance this advantage, was most severely felt.

But with the Danube, and the Delta of that river, free to the entry of war
1854: Silistria
steamers, under the present settlement of the frontier, and a sufficient depth of water permanently secured at Sulina; Silistria as a bulwark of the Lower Danube must, I apprehend, be considered to have acquired great additionnal strength and military importance.

The town of Silistria itself, having been subjected to frequent sieges, has hardly found time in the inten/als to improve in extent or prosperity. It consists, at present, of about 2,000 ill-built wooden houses; and of the 10,000 inhabitants, 6,000 are Christians, and 4,000 Turks, exclusive of the garrison.

As a shipping port on the Danube, and a steam-boat station, it exhibits considerable activity, and the corn grown in the surrounding country, and other agricultural produce, is here deposited for shippment in the flat-bottomed boats of the country for lbraila and Galatz, previous to eventual exportation to Europe.

A considerable quantity of tallow is produced in this town, and is noted as of the best description in Bulgaria. In remote periods this town, it is generally believed, was the point of connection between the Danube and the Euxine, at Balsik or Varna.

The remains of two Roman roads running parallel to each other, in the direction of Bazardjik, are still visible, and one of these is to this day made use of; they are lost sight of within the forest, at about 10 miles from the town. Silistria is the seat of a Pashalic, and a Greek bishop also resides here.

(Signed) Edward St. Ino. Neale,
British Consul

B: Statistical Report on the Province of Bulgaria. Printed for the use of the Foreign Office. May, 1858

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