Visterna Valley in Dobruja and its cute atolls dating back in the Jurassic dinosaurs’ days


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The Visterna Valley in Dobrogea/Dobruja, famous for its caverns, is also displaying an exquisite show of large-size atolls, the remainders of the volcanic activity of the area.

Visterna Valley is located in northern Constant county, which is stretching out around the Black Sea’s Romanian coast, more precisely between the sea and the Danube River in a partially mountain area, guarded by limestone rocks, steep valleys and wooded slopes.

The landscape is a historical natural artifact in itself, a proof of the prehistorical times, as it is made of the coral reefs of the Tetis Sea, the Black Sea’s ancestor.


So, on Visterna Valley, above the Adam’s Cave, visitors can admire the atoll colonies, a veritable landscaping and geological performance, also peppered from time to time with cute wildlife typical to the area: gophers, snails, turtles and many other creatures.

On the road between Targusor and Gura Dobrogea localities, above the Adam’s Cave, tourists can take down to the valley, to the Bats’ Cave and it’s there they can discover the great atoll in all its splendor. The Bats’ Cave entrances are themselves placed at the heart of a stone horseshoed formation, probably the extremity of another big atoll.

What are atolls in fact? Some natural stone formations left behind by the withdrawing sea (prehistorical Tetris Sea in our case) that accommodated reef/ coral colonies.

Reefs, coelentera animals, with limestone skeletons, formed of rock, sand or coral, are usually living in the warm seas in colonies which look like little trees. In time, as the colonies are growing, the little trees are turning into larger structures that can have tens or hundreds metres high or wide. As these reefs are getting together like good neighbours, they form larger and larger formations, called atolls, which can reach a diameter of tens of kilometers and significant heights. In the atoll’s center there is a hollow, which also can have huge sizes, hundreds of metres deep.

These natural beauties can be also found in Dobruja, southeastern Romania, particularly at Crucea, Gura Dobogei and in the Dobruja gorges south of Cheia.

Archaeologists established that the Dobruja Gorges reserve is made of limestone dating back to the Jurassic period, which in fact are atoll remainders, taking odd shapes due to the time and water erosion.


If you happen to travel to this region, don’t hesitate to visit the atolls. Moreover, you have plenty of more spots to see in the neighbourhood, such as the caves „Pester la Adam/Adam’s Cave”, and „Pestera Liliecilor/Bats’s Cave”, some real archaeological jewels, as remains of prehistorical tools, game, and human bones were found inside them.

Enisala medieval fortress is also at hand in the area, being one of the most beautiful and mysterious citadels in Dobruja. Find its story here.

Neojurasic Reef, Topalu. Credit photo: Ziua de Constanta

Another fortress, this time even older, dating back in the Geto-Dacian times, Capidava, is also a hot tourist attraction in the region.

Capidava fortress is located on a rocky massif whereof you can admire the Danube river pretty far out.

The Danube is forming two beautiful isles here at Capidava, but also at Topalu, where you can also see the Neojurasic Reef, representing the clearest coral formation in Romania, which is displaying a striking resemblance with the limestone structure of the Alps.

But we’ll talk about the Topalu’s Neojurasic Reef in an upcoming feature.

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