The Roman Fortress Noviodunum, one of the ancient settlements in Dobrogea


The ancient fortress of Noviodunum is located near the small town Isaccea, Tulcea County. Noviodunum name is of Celtic origin, ‘Dunum’ meaning fortified, and the point where it is located was known as Eski Kale, translated from Turkish as Old City. The early Roman fortress was built over an old Getic settlement. Noviodunum Fortress is an archaeological site which is located in the eastern part of the Isaccea, and also includes a fort built and expanded by the Romans and Byzantines.

The ruins of the old fortifications are found in the so called Old Pier (Pontonul Vechi) location, represented by a high and rocky area, located on the right side of the Danube, in Tulcea County.

The Roman and Byzantine fortress Noviodunum had a military strategic and economic role, the development of this settlement leading to the status of ‘municipium’ in the late second century. It was also the seat of detachments of the legions stationed in Dobrogea and the main base for the Roman fleet Classis Flavia Moesica that controlled the lower Danube and the northern and western shores of the Black Sea. The city has developed in stages, until the Ottoman conquest in 1420.

The late Roman fort was surrounded by massive fortifications, including large, impressive towers. Near the city there were unearthed traces of an ancient Christian basilica, which dates back in the fifth century. Around the fort, a large civil settlement and cemeteries with numerous graves have been found, which can be dated to Roman and Late Roman age, as well as the Byzantine era.

After researches and excavations started in 1953 by archaeologists, several jewelries, objects and various major components have been discovered, which are found today in Tulcea County Museum.

Being an important strategic point on the Danube river bank throughout the centuries, the archaeological site of Noviodunum-Isaccea is one of the most important archaeological sites in the northern Dobrogea.

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