Marea Neagră

The Black Sea
September 2012
Photographs and text by Petruț Călinescu

The Black Sea – mysterious, menacing and mythical – is at the heart of centuries of warfare, turmoil and historical drama. A mixture of totalitarian regimes and young democracies, a melting pot of ethnic minorities, the Black Sea region is a point of convergence for three very different civilisations: European, Asian and Middle Eastern. Regardless of their nationality or social status, almost all the Black Sea people work for entire years with one dream in their minds: to spend a week at its shores. Its waters, shores and inlands suffered massive transformations as all the surrounding countries tried to tame it, to reshape it, to reinforce or to extract its resources.

Petrut Calinescu, born in the Romanian port city of Constanta on the Western shore of the Black Sea, teamed up with a friend and journalist Stefan Candea to circumvent the sea and explore the multitude of cultures and landscapes around it. Their journey took them through Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. Along their way, they passed through a multitude of autonomous republics, some internationally recognised, others stuck in diplomatic limbo: North Karabakh, Abkhazia, Adygea, and Transnistria.

A couple argues while standing on beach by the Caspian Sea. In the background is the skeletal remains of a Soviet era restaurant. Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan

A man is cooling down his horse on a hot day, Caspian Sea, Sumgait public beach, Azerbaijan

A woman looks into a mirror as she sits on the beach next to the Black Sea. Behind her lies the wreck of a Tanzanian ship that was stranded on the shore during a storm in 2007.Sukhumi, Abhkazia

Nina and her daughter (background) fish from a jetty for Frog fish. The catch suppliments their meager diet which is limited by her monthly pension of about 50 Euros. Nina used to work in a fish canning factory but it was destroyed in the 1992 – 1993 separatist war with Georgia .Ochamchira, Abhkazia

Underwater scene, Pitsunda resort, Abhkazia

Three young women sunbathe at the edge of a rundown Soviet era housing estate by the Black Sea (out of the picture). Sevastopol, Ukraine

A man arranges a display of beach wear and inflatable toys on his stall next to the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan

Young tourists watch a circus show during the summer holidays in the Black Sea resort town of Zatoka, Ukraine

A family walks past a field of oil derricks near Bibi Heybat, Caspian Sea, Baku, Azerbaijan

A clowder of cats waits for scraps outside a fisherman’s cottage, Kiyiokoy, Turkey

80 years old Perjoc is preparing a meal, Ceatalchioi village, Danube Delta, Romania

Patulale band is playing in a local pub. The band is hired for wedding in funerals, and sometimes they play for drinks in local pubs, Romania

An empty terrace in Igneada resort at the Black Sea, Turkey

A boy looks out of a door on a small ferry that links Mila 23, a village in the Delta’s centre, with Tulcea, the main city of the Danube Delta, Romania

A group of children use a partially submerged concrete block, that stands in the sea just off the Black Sea resort of Gagra, as a platform from which to dive into the water. Abhkazia

A couple stand next to a VW Camper van on a cliff overlooking the Black Sea, Trabzon, Turkey

A young man, with a cat, looks out of the window of his mother’s apartment in Shusha during his last summer holiday before joining the Military School in Yerevan.Nagorno- Karabach

Street scene, Beyoglu neighborhood, Istanbul, Turkey

An ostrich and a zebra walk in the grounds of Tbilisi Zoo, overlooked by a Soviet era apartment block, Georgia

A woman is working the her small vegetables garden next to the Black Sea, Rize, Turkey

A coal seller stands behind a pair of scales, Kars, Turkey

A girl waiting for her grandmother to finish her job at the flour mill, Nedeia, Romania

A Laz woman strains under the weight of wooden planks that she is carrying over a hill to be used to build a house.Arhavi, Turkey

12-year-old Vanea rests in the prow of a fishing boat. He left school to work for a fisherman in the village of Sfistofca. Danube Delta, Romania

Branza Victor, a 42 year old fisherman, prepares his waterproofs before he enters Lake Razim to pull out fishing nets. Romania

A woman, assisted by her mother, carries a freshly washed carpet along a road where it has been drying on a railing. Ankara, Turkey

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic army guarding the border with Azerbaijan, close to Terter city, Nagorno-Karabach

Senia Sava, 40 years old, suffering for epilepsy, receives a traditional treatment, with suction cups, to relieve his back pains caused by a flu. Caraorman, Danube Delta, Romania

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