The Paradise Of Perpetual Quiet

Are there places in the universe where the endurance of legends can overcome an often hostile reality?

This issue was inspired by Romania's good luck in owning the Danube Delta, combined with its fear that this territory may not be protected to the extent required – both by the Romanians themselves and by the whole of Europe, given that its fate concerns of a number of states. This concern about an ecosystem so rich in economic, research, tourist opportunities also rose from our awareness that the Romanians' preoccupation with environmental issues and nature protection has been rather slack. Deeper involvement of all interested parties is more than opportune.

A majestic show of nature, the wilderness of the Danube Delta has always drawn the attention of both men of science and, owing to its strategic location and rich resources, neighboring rulers. It is a special, spectacular world in its own right, with its own rules and rigors that, even if it looks paradisiacal, cannot be ignored. Whereas the region of Dobrogea/Dobruja, the oldest geologically within the boundaries of Romania, as a rule has been a rather austere land of meditation and nostalgia ever since Ovid, its northern part, the Delta, is an exotic place with abundant biodiversity still under construction: dense forests with luxuriant vegetation, the largest concentration of reed, home to hundreds of species of birds, of which the pelican has turned into its symbol – a world of apparent peacefulness and mystery, behind which life explodes into thousands of forms.

This land under the sign of paradox saw the birth of great artists or scientists, some of which are evoked, and as worthy research institutes and museums. Contacting them and working together was not always a cinch, but in the end it provided us with valuable data and – while not altogether taming our concerns – a ray of hope as to the future of the Delta. Just like the overwhelming variety of the biotope, the cultural realm cannot be exhausted in one single issue, but it is our belief that the selection, made in the best of faith, is a representative one. It attempts to present a real, not an ideal, Danube Delta, in the hope that it will delight, but also convince readers, as well as authorities, on the necessity of more viable projects.

The Danube Delta has been declared Landscape of the Year 2007-2009 by the International Friends of Nature organization in Vienna. The Save The Danube And Its Delta NGO has already put up a few ecological initiatives, seeking the commitment of both Romanian authorities and Delta lovers. Cultural events such as the Anonimul (Anonymous) International Film Festival have already acquired some tradition. And the list may go on.

To illustrate this issue, we turned this time to the photographic art's unbeatable means of rendering nature. When captured on film, the panoramas of a life that moves at an unusual rhythm for urbanites may acquire the proportions of a hymn.

Roaming Romania's youngest piece of land, delimited by the Chilia, Sulina and Sf. Gheorghe arms through which the Danube flows into the Black Sea, I became convinced that there is a place in the universe where the endurance of legends has, over time, an indisputable bearing on human intelligence.

by Aurora Fabritius