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Constantza


City’s cultural life    EN

Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN

There were few signs of a cultural life at Constanţa during the first half of the 19th century. The development of the city after the building of the British railway in the 1860s secured better conditions for the emergence of cultural activities, but it was only after 1878 that a veritable cultural life can be documented at Constanţa. As other templates refer to aspects of the city’s cultural life, we will shortly mention below the establishment of a public library and of a museum, as well as the development of the local press.

Construction activities revealed numerous Greek and Roman vestiges on the site of modern Constanţa, so that already in 1879 Prefect Remus Opreanu proposed to the Romanian Academy to collect all valuable pieces into a museum that was functional within the prefecture itself. A fire destroyed the place in 1882, and the stone objects that survived were displayed in the public garden. During the following decades, most of the important findings were taken to Bucharest, although local authorities struggled for the re-establishment of the museum. It was only in 1906 that the central government allowed the formation of a committee that was to reorganise the museum, and in October 1911 the Regional Museum of Constanţa was recognised as a branch of the Museum of Antiquities in Bucharest. The collection was preserved and exhibited at the “Mircea cel Bătrân” Gymnasium and N. Orghidan was the museum’s first director and custodian. After his transfer from Constanţa, the exhibits were moved to the Teacher Training School and I. Ghibănescu became the new custodian (September 1912). By his efforts, a small building in the municipal park was given for the use of the museum, which gradually developed on the basis of archaeological findings in the rich historical province of Dobrudja [1].

The first public library at Constanţa was established by a group of local intellectuals headed by Petru Vulcan, as one of the activities of the “Ovidiu” Literary Circle formed in 1897. The library was inaugurated in September 1898, and its activity was supported with donations by the honorary members of the society, either from among the Romanian cultural elite (Grigore Tocilescu, Spiru Haret, Ioan Kalinderu, Nicolae Iorga, Ion Luca Caragiale etc) or from among local notabilities (Ion Bănescu, Marin Dobrogianu Ionescu, Ioan N. Roman etc). However, the “Ovidiu” Literary Circle was affected by disputes, and after Vulcan’s resignation the library, with a collection of 3,000–4,000 volumes, was closed [2]. Another public library was functional at the “Mircea cel Bătrân” Gymnasium and had in 1906 about 1,300 volumes [3]. Similar institutions were organised by the “Cultura” Lecture Circle, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Popular Academy [4].

The press witnessed a similar development. “Farul Constanţei” (“The Lighthouse of Constanţa”), the official newspaper of the local administration, was published weekly between 1880 and 1888, and with interruptions until 1913, with names such as “Monitorul judeţului Constanţa” (“The Monitor of Constanţa County”) and “Monitorul oraşului Constanţa” (“The Monitor of Constanţa City”). Important cultural reviews were “Ovidiu”, which published mainly literature and science between 1898 and 1907, and the “Revue of the Society of Arts, Letters and Sports” which informed the public about local cultural and sporting events [5]. Other newspapers and magazines were “Gazeta Dobrogei” (“The Gazette of Dobrudja”) (1890–1894), “Constanţa” (1891–1903, 1914), “Santinela Dobrogei” (“The Sentinel of Dobrudja”) (1894–1896), “Dobrogea Jună” (“Young Dobrudja”), published weekly since 1904, “Drapelul” (“The Flag”), the journal of the National Liberal Party, published weekly between 1909 and 1912, “Dobrogea Nouă” (“New Dobrudja”), a nationalist organ published between 1911 and 1914, “Liberalul Constanţei” (“The Liberal of Constanţa”) (1913–1928), “Liberalul” (“The Liberal”) (1915–1916), “Tribuna Dobrogei” (“The Tribune of Dobrudja”) (1908–1913), “Democratul” (“The Democrat”) (1914), “Dobrogea Jună” (“Young Dobrudja”) (1904–1944), “România Mare” (“Greater Romania”) (1915–1916), “Dacia” (1915–1944) and “Varda” (1915–1916) [6].

 


[1] Z. Covacef, Nicolina Mihail–Ursu, Angela Pop, Adrian Rădulescu, “Centenarul Muzeului de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie Constanţa”, Comunicări de istorie a Dobrogei (Constanţa: Muzeul de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie, 1980), vol. I, 16–18; Angela Pop, “Contribuția cadrelor didactice la viața culturală a Dobrogei între anii 1878–1916”, ibid., 144–145; Stoica Lascu, Mărturii de epocă privind istoria Dobrogei (1878–1947), vol. I (1878–1916) (Constanţa: Muzeul de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie, 1999), 102–105; Florica Cruceru, Artele în Dobrogea 1877–1940. Mărturii. Documente. Imagini (Constanţa: Ed. Muntenia & Leda, 2002), 174–175; Doina Păuleanu, Constanţa. Aventura unui proiect european (Constanţa: Ex Ponto, 2003), 29–36; Eadem, Constanţa. Spectacolul modernităţii târziu. 1878–1928 (Constanţa: Muzeului de Artă Constanţa, 2005), vol. II, 500–507. Also see details at http://www.minac.ro/.

[2] Simona Suceveanu, “Pagini din istoricul bibliotecilor din Dobrogea”, Comunicări de istorie a Dobrogei, vol. I, 153–154. Dumitru Constantin Zamfir, “Un templu al cărţii la Pontul Euxin”, Analele Dobrogei, 1:1 (1995), 135–136; Lascu, Mărturii, 259–261; Adriana Gheorghiu, “Biblioteca Judeţeană Constanţa – Instituţie emblematică a spaţiului dobrogean”, Studii istorice dobrogene, edited by Valentin Ciorbea (Constanţa: Ovidius University Press, 2003), 247–249.

[3] Suceveanu, “Pagini”, 151.

[4] Zamfir, “Un templu”, 135–136.

[5] Pop, “Contribuţia”, 140–141.

[6] Adrian Rădulescu, Stoica Lascu, Puiu Haşotti, Ghid de oraş. Constanţa (Bucharest: Editura Sport Turism, 1985), 34–35; a history of the printing houses at Constantin Cheramidoglu, “Din istoria tipografiilor constănţene (I–II)”, Analele Dobrogei, 8 (2005), 173–178 and 9 (2006–2008), 261–269.


References

Websites:

Official site of the Museum of National Industry and Archaeology

http://www.minac.ro/

Official site of the “Ioan N. Roman” Library of Constanţa

http://www.biblioteca.ct.ro/

Archival sources:

Serviciul Judeţean Constanţa al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Constanţa Branch), Primăria municipiului Constanţa (The Municipality of Constanţa), files starting with 1878.

Bibliography:

Covacef, Z., Mihail–Ursu, Nicolina, Pop, Angela, Rădulescu, Adrian, “Centenarul Muzeului de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie Constanţa” [The Centenary of the Museum of National History and Archaeology, Constanţa], in vol. Comunicări de istorie a Dobrogei [Papers on the History of Dobrudja] (Constanţa: Muzeul de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie, 1980), vol. I.

Gheorghiu, Adriana, “Biblioteca Judeţeană Constanţa – Instituţie emblematică a spaţiului dobrogean” [The Departmental Library of Constanţa – an Emblematic Institution of Dobrudja], Studii istorice dobrogene, edited by Valentin Ciorbea (Constanţa: Editura Ovidius University Press, 2003), 247–257.

Lascu, Stoica, Mărturii de epocă privind istoria Dobrogei (1878–1947), vol. I (1878–1916) [Contemporary Evidence on the History of Dobrudja (1878–1947)] (Constanţa: Muzeul de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie, 1999).

Păuleanu, Doina, Constanţa. Aventura unui proiect european [Constanţa. The Adventure of a European Project] (Constanţa: Ex Ponto, 2003).

Păuleanu, Doina, Constanţa. Spectacolul modernităţii târziu. 1878–1928 [Constanţa. The Show of Late Modernity. 1878–1917] (Constanţa: Muzeului de Artă Constanţa, 2005).

Pop, Angela, “Contribuția cadrelor didactice la viața culturală a Dobrogei între anii 1878–1916” [The Contribution of the Teaching Stuff to the Cultural Life of Dobrudja between 1878 and 1916], in vol. Comunicări de istorie a Dobrogei [Papers on the History of Dobrudja] (Constanţa: Muzeul de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie, 1980), vol. I, 125–147.

Rădulescu, Adrian, Lascu, Stoica, Haşotti, Puiu, Ghid de oraş. Constanţa [City Guidebook. Constanţa] (Bucharest: Editura Sport Turism, 1985).

Suceveanu, Simona, “Pagini din istoricul bibliotecilor din Dobrogea” [Pages from the History of Libraries in Dobrudja], in vol. Comunicări de istorie a Dobrogei [Papers on the History of Dobrudja] (Constanţa: Muzeul de Istorie Naţională şi Arheologie, 1980), vol. I, 149–158.

Zamfir, Dumitru Constantin, “Un templu al cărţii la Pontul Euxin” [A Temple of the Book at Pontos Euxeinos], Analele Dobrogei, 1:1 (1995), 135–143.


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