STORIES FROM THE BLACK SEA COAST
Stories that show where three beaches on the Romanian sea coast got their name from.
This illustration is part of the 2nd Annual Summer Group Show organized by The Blue Crow Gallery in Toronto, Canada.
Plaja Tataia (middle panel) and Plaja Duduia (third panel) serve the city of Constanța. Each summer, the locals go to the beach, just as I did as a child, climbing down many steps under the scorching sun to meet the cold, dark waters of the Black Sea.
Tataia was a lonely old man who used to live in a hut by the sea. He was well known to the locals, and over time, with his constant, calming, and almost mythical presence on the beach, he earned their true affection. He was called Tataia (Grandad), and well after his passing, the locals referred to the beach he lived on as Plaja Tataia (Tataia Beach). And to this day, they still do.
Duduia was a beautiful young woman, married to the man who took care of one of the town's sandy beaches, turning it into the very first proper beach to serve the city of Constanța at the end of the 19th century. It had changing rooms for both men and women, and his wife, who was called Duduia by the locals (a term that showed praise and affection), used to rent umbrellas, chairs, and clogs for the day to those who came to the beach. It was in her praise that they named this stretch of sandy shores Plaja Duduia (Duduia Beach).
Plaja Mamaia (first panel), a little further away form town, serves the most well known Romanian sea resort, Mamaia. Set in a distant past, its legend reminds us of the extremely powerful mother-daughter bond. Kidnapped by the Turks and carried away in a boat, Mamaia sees her daughter, Constantina, who was unable to swim and thus sure to drown, desperately run to her rescue. Mamaia then pleads for a miracle and her prayers are answered when she is turned into the long sandy banks that now form Mamaia Beach. A story of love and sacrifice that very few locals even remember.