With wild horses, vines, 700 year old oak trees and sand dunes, Letea is the northern most subtropical forest in the world. Hidden away from the eyes and paths of most tourists, the forest has numerous secrets which it carefully guards.
The people who live in Letea are mostly Russians, while those in the neighboring village of CA Rosetti Romanians and in Periprave Lipovans.
Many of them believe that the land on top of which the village was built used to be the bottom of the sea which rose up to the surface a long time ago. A local legend even says that they once found a washed away ship under the dunes, with only the top of the mast sticking out. While the story is beautiful, the genesis of the Danube delta is somewhat different.
Letea forest is one of the most protected natural reservations in Romania. It is well known for the hundreds of wild horses that roam around freely. They are weary of people’s presence but they are everywhere, so spotting them is a certainty.
There are over 500 different species of plants and trees that one can find in the forest, many of which are exotic. For instance, this is the only place in Europe where you can find vines, much like the ones Tarzan used 😀 Their seeds were brought here by the numerous migrating birds that come here every year.
The most spectacular however are the century old oak trees which have stood the test of time. There are many specimens which are 400 years old and a few which go for more than 700 years.
What is more spectacular is that going in just a couple hundred meters, you see a spectacular change of scenery, from a subtropical forest to a desert, with huge sand dunes and everything. Then, just a little farther, you run into a beautiful canal, covered with water lilies.
Truly, Letea forest is a place which you must visit in order to get a full grasp of the diversity that the Danube Delta has to offer.