Constanţa is Romania's largest Black Sea port and one of the country's biggest cities, with a population of some 340,000. The modern port was built up rapidly by Romania's post-war Communist government, but the city's history goes back more than 2,500 years when it founded by the Greeks as a fishing village called Tomis. Constanţa was captured by the Romans in 29 BC. The noted Roman poet Ovid was banished here in 8 AD for the last years of his life by Emperor Augustus after allegedly writing poetry that was too racy (even by the lax standards of ancient Rome). Ovid remains the city's most famous resident, and a large statue of him stands in the central square, Piaa Ovidiu. Beyond the city limits of Constanţa, the resort area of Mamaia (Romania's most popular seaside holiday destination) stretches out along a sandbar for a length of about 6 km (4 miles). Bucharest is also within reach, though it is a long (223-km/139-mile) drive.
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