Early in the 20th century, Constanta and its Black Sea resorts were the toast of Central Europe and the Balkans, rivaling such legendary spas as Marienbad. Romania's king summered at nearby Mamaia, and European aristocracy thronged the Art Nouveau Casino. Wars and the Communist Era intervened, placing Constanta off limits. Today, travelers are again exploring the Black Sea Coast, discovering both its gracious old seaside resorts and its ancient cultural legacy. For the shores of the Black Sea are truly ancient lands, first settled by Greek colonists and later ruled by Roman Emperors. Indeed, Constanta and Romania present a fascinating mosaic of cultural sites, from ancient Greek cities and Roman monuments to early Christian hermitages and 16th century mosques.
In 8 A.D. the Emperor Augustus sent the lyric poet Ovid into exile at Constanta. The poet mourned a life far from the flesh pots of imperial Rome, dying eight years later. Today his statue stands before the Museum of National History in Ovid Square.