The Black Sea is at the heart of centuries of warfare, turmoil, and historical drama. It is a site of totalitarian regimes and young democracies, a melting pot of ethnic minorities and a point of convergence for Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Its waters, shores, and inland suffered massive transformations as the surrounding countries tried to tame, reshape, and reinforce the areas around the coast, while exploiting its resources for trade, defense, and tourism. With Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia torn apart by frozen conflicts, the Iron Curtain has moved eastward to the Black Sea.
Yet for generations, people from countries surrounding the sea have worked hard all year with one dream in mind: to spend a holiday on its shores. Its beaches and waters are the trophies for millions who assault the seaside every summer.
Since 2010, Petrut Calinescu has been documenting the role of the Black Sea in the countries and separatist republics that share its basin. Signs of historic conflicts remain all over the shores: from World War II seafront bunkers turned into bars in Romania, to sandy beaches shelled in the 1990s in Abkhazia, which is packed with Russian tourists in the summer. Here wrecked battleships, parades of naval strength and war games are a background to tourists’ long sunny days at the beach, in a landscape where leisure and tension entwine.
In collaboration with the Romanian Cultural Institute