Cetate Cultural Port

Port Cetate is located on the Romanian shore of the Danube, between Calafat and Turnu Severin, on the site of an old agricultural port established around 1880, from whose docks grains and flour from the fertile region of Oltenia were shipped to Budapest and Vienna throughout the first half of the 20th century.
After 1945, the communist regime ceased the country’s trade with the West, and the administrative buildings of the port were converted into military barracks for the border patrol. Those were abandoned and vandalised by the locals when the regime fell in 1989 and, by the time the poet and journalist Mircea Dinescu rediscovered the place, by chance, in 1997, the impressive main building of the old port was already in ruins. Mircea Dinescu purchased it and initiated its restoration, with the vision of reviving the old agricultural port as a ‘port of culture’.

This idea came quite naturally: between 1998 and 2007, throughout the entire period of its restoration, the port mainly hosted artist camps, in a series of workshops organized by Mircea Dinescu’s Foundation for Poetry. First, there were the pottery camps, and a unique project to build a ‘Neolithic village’. Then the sculptors came, and left the first wooden and stone statues of angels. The ‘Angel Park’ project – born at the beginning of the 2000s as a polemic reaction to an idea which was being assiduously promoted at the time by the Romanian Ministry of Tourism to build a Dracula-themed park in Transylvania – has continued to grow and includes now several monumental metal sculptures of angels strewn around the port.
Beginning with 2007, after converting the old administrative buildings of the port into comfortable bungalows and building a modern, fully equipped kitchen and a mini-hotel, the site also became open for land and river-cruise tourism.
Beside the natural beauty of the place, what makes staying at Port Cetate a truly special and memorable experience is the gastronomy. Inspired by 19th century recipes of the Romanian ‘boyar’ cuisine – an eclectic mix of several Balkan and European culinary traditions – Mircea Dinescu had set out to rediscover and recreate a whole culinary culture which has been nearly lost – or just ignored – during the past half a century.
The wines are also produced by the house, at the Galicea Mare Winery, which is supplied with several varieties of noble grapes from the Galicea and Cetate vineyards.
Today, although increasingly popular as a tourist destination, Port Cetate continues to host a variety of cultural activities under the auspices of the Foundation for Poetry: Divan Film Festival, a unique annual event dedicated to the cinema and culinary traditions of the Balkans (which reaches its 6th edition in 2015), SoNoRo Interferenţe, a chamber music workshop which precedes and prepares the SoNoRo Festival, probably the freshest and most popular classical music festival in the country, translation workshops (organized together with different European Cultural Institutes), creative writing camps and residences for writers, within the framework of various exchange programs with other European Literature Houses, theatre and live music performances, exhibitions, residence programs and workshops for plastic artists (painters, sculptors, ceramists), meetings and symposiums with regional, European, and international partners.

Angel Parc Project

‘I created the park as a polemical reaction to Dracula Park. It is not possible that this whole country was the exclusive fief of the devil. Angels must have also passed by, at least here by the Danube, and I think it is better to build the country brand with angels in mind.’
‘… it was around sunset and I saw several wild horses in front of the house. It looked as if they had stopped to admire the statues of angels… I thought, look, horses are still interested in angels, but people are not. And I said to myself, this is what I’d like to achieve with this place: to remind people to look at angels sometimes.’
Mircea Dinescu

More about us

Our Staff
Our Staff
Most of the staff at Port Cetate is made up of locals from the neighbouring village of Cetate. Cornelia and Luminiţa are leading the two shifts in the kitchen, while Gabi and Veronica coordinate the teams in charge with greeting the guests, housekeeping, and the serving of the meals.
Foundation Programs and Projects
Foundation Programs and Projects
Fundația a fost înființată în 1994 de scriitorul Mircea Dinescu, avînd inițial preocupări legate de poezie, traduceri și publicistică. Cu timpul însă, și-a extins aria de interes şi către domenii culturale precum teatru, muzică, arte plastice, fotografie, cinematografie.

Visitors throughout the years