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Dobruja or sometimes Dobrudja (Romanian: Dobrogea, Bulgarian: Dobrudzha) is the territory between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, which includes the Danube Delta and the Romanian sea-shore. Northern Dobruja (Dobrogea) belongs to Romania, Southern Dobruja (in Romanian, Cadrilater) to Bulgaria.

Map of Romania with Northern Dobrogea highlighted
in orange and Bulgaria with Southern Dobruja
highlighted in yellow


This land was inhabited since ancient times by Dacians. In the 7th and 6th century BC several Greek colonies were founded here including Tomis, Histria, Callatis, Dionysopolis and Olbia to facilitate trade with locals.

In 480 BC the Thracians from the south extended their rule over Dobruja and in 339 BC it was conquered by Alexander the Great and brought under Macedonian rule, which was weaken after his death. The Dacian king Dromichaites, successfully defended Dobruja during two campaigns by Lysimach, the Macedonian King of Thrace, in 300 BC and 292 BC.

The area was controlled by the Scythians in the 3rd century BC and then, in 46, Romans annexed it as part of Moesia. The strategic importance of this territory was recognized by the Romans, who defended it on the south by Trajan's Wall a double rampart, drawn from Constanţaa, on the Black Sea, to the Danube.

The territory alternated between the medieval Byzantine and Bulgarian empires until its fall in 1411 to the Ottoman Empire.

It remained under Turkish rule until 1878, when Romania received the northern part and Bulgaria the smaller Southern Dobruja (Treaty of Berlin, 1878). After the Second Balkan War Bulgaria lost Southern Dobruja to Romania (Treaty of Bucharest, 1913), but the September 1940 Treaty of Craiova, imposed by Nazi Germany, restored it to Bulgaria with a population exchange (the Romanian minority was forced to leave the south while the Bulgarian minority had to leave the north). The post-1940 border situation was confirmed by the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947.

Area, population and cities

The entire Dobruja has an area of 23,100 kmē and a population of rather more than 1.35 million, of which just over two-thirds of the former and nearly three-quarters of the latter lie in the Romanian part.

Major cities are Constanţa, Tulcea, Medgidia and Mangalia in Romania, and Dobrich and Silistra in Bulgaria.