On the Black Sea shore, in the middle of the Silver Coast, there is a wonderful place which definitely stole my heart, too. Balchik is 2,600 years old and initially, its name was White City, due to the sand hills surrounding the settlement. It has not lost its charm, as it is an equally welcoming resort as it was hundred and thousand years ago, ready to amaze you.
Nevertheless, people coming here do not want to visit the city, but the Queen Mary of Romania’s Castle. She also fell in love with the peace of the place, the sound of the sea and the blue sky. So she moved here.
A unique garden
When she moved here, Queen Mary wished to have a park, because she loved flowers. So she brought some architects to design her park. But the park easily became a unique botanical garden. The queen brought plant species from all over the world. She created an impressive collection of over 250 cacti.
If you come here in springtime, you’ll find yourself not knowing where to look first, and how to embrace everything with your eyes. Being in the Sentry Garden, my astonishment grew with every step, with every flower and every hue that rinsed my eyes. I then discovered that the garden is an imitation of the famous Cretan Labyrinth. For arranging it, the Queen ordered that the materials be brought from the island of Crete. And when I arrived in the Garden of Allah, I stepped on alleys paved with stone from Morocco.
Get lost in colors
I refused to look on maps and that was the best decision I made. I recommend you to follow the alleys by colors. You’ll discover beautiful places like a waterfall, a romantic bridge and unforgettable views.
A broken heart
Queen Mary’s last wish was that her heart remains in Balchik. Her desire was fulfilled two years before Romania lost the Quadrilateral in 1940. The pride of authorities was greater than the desire of a queen so that the heart was taken from Balchik to the Bran Castle. There it remained until the intervention of communists in 1968, which have managed to pull her remains out of wooden coffer from the castle and move them in the basement of the Museum of History in Bucharest.
- this article was published in an extended form in Ioana Magazine, August 2015.