Vama Veche

Vama Veche (historical names: Ilanlâk, Ilanlâc, Ilanlık ) is a village in Constanţa County, Romania, on the Black Sea coast, near the border with Bulgaria, at 28.57 E longitude, 43.75 N latitude. It is part of the commune of Limanu and in 2002, it had a population of 178.


It was founded in 1811 by a few Gagauz families, originally being named "Ilanlîk". Its current name literally means "Old customs", named so after Southern Dobruja (the Cadrilater) had been included in Romania in 1913. In 1940, however, that region was transferred to Bulgaria, and the village has since lain once again near the border, but the name stuck.

Even in Communist Romania, Vama Veche had the reputation of a non-mainstream tourist destination, which has only grown since the Romanian Revolution of 1989. During the communist era, concern for border patrol sight lines spared Vama Veche the development that occurred in other Romanian Black Sea resorts. It became a hangout for intellectuals; for reasons that are not exactly clear, the generally repressive regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu chose to tolerate this countercultural oasis, as long as people had their identity papers with them. Accommodations consisted of tents or rooms rented from peasants or fishermen. While camping is theoretically not permitted, to this day, many visitors or semi-permanent residents still stay in tents on the beach.

Recent developments

Famous for its nude beach, since the late 1990s Vama Veche has experienced development and gentrification, which has led to a "Save Vama Veche" campaign that is lobbying for the area's environmental conservation and a halt to development and mass tourism. Nudism is still common on the beach today, especially on the Northern part where the beach ends and the area is less crowded. A major part of the "Save Vama Veche" campaign is the 2003 founding of the Stufstock music festival. Both "Save Vama Veche" campaign and Stufstock Festival were initiated by the "Association for the Conservation of Bio-Cultural Protected Areas" NGO. The August 2003 festival drew a crowd of about 10,000. The 2004 edition drew about 20,000 people. The 2005 Stufstock drew a record 40,000-large crowd, formed mainly by rockers, bohemians, punkers and goths.

Image gallery

File:Plaja Vama Veche.jpg|Vama Veche 2010 File:Vama Veche mare.JPG|Corsarul 2010 File:Pescari in Vama Veche.jpg|Fishermen in Vama Veche File:Barca pe plaja in Vama.JPG| Boat