The bunkers of Vraja Marii / Poarta 1 area

This time we’ll return to the “Ground Zero” – the Casino promenade, but this time we’re not trying to solve mysteries and got answers (although this remains our final aim), but to launch a few questions. Because in this case, the questions we’re not even asked, and this is the first step in finding the answers. The target – two possible bunkers dating back to WW2, buried under the Vraja Marii (The Magic of The Sea) restaurant, and under the parking lot at Poarta 1 (Gate #1) access point. There will be certainty too – we’ll present a pillbox type bunker, located inside the harbor and a special bunker. Area of interest is pretty narrow, Vraja Marii – Poarta 1 harbor. Here it is the map of the first 3 targets, X – Vraja Marii bunker, Y – Poarta 1 parking bunker, G – MG pillbox Gate 1 harbor. The fourth bunker (Z) is located inside the port, and, unlike X and Y, it’s accessible in all its “splendor”. This bunker we will use as a reference because its rounded edges are similar to those observed in the X and Y locations. Constructions are not identical – edge’s curves on X and Y are much smaller than those on bunker Z.

buncare_poarta_1_map

Now we try a blind guess on the shape of the bunker, apparently with its firing mouth was directed to S-SE. Any attempt to approximate the shape of the bunker is essentially based on intuition, there are no information or photographs of the construction. I drew his possible location using bunker Z as reference, but, certainly, there are differences in the architecture of these two fortifications.

Bunker Y is located under the parking lot at Poarta 1, inside the harbor. Using the only visible part of the bunker – one of its corners, positioned near the harbors fence, we can approximate the position of the bunker, with its firing window aiming almost parallel Casino’s promenade. Again, I’ve used bunker Z as reference, but I shall mentioned that the fortifications are not identical; the visible part of bunker Y has a slope to the direction of the dam and its size is smaller than any side of the bunker Z. Therefore, if we consider that all bunkers in the area (D and E, B and C) were built in pairs, we may consider that bunker X and Y are mostly identical. And different to bunker Z.

The MG fitted to the Y bunker was targeting towards East, parallel with the Casino’s shore. The tetrapods group positioned today about 25 m at sea was right on the line of fire. Lots of speculations can be buzzed around bunkers X and Y, but the information is, unfortunately, virtually absent.
The next objective in the area, pillbox G (I used the naming system adopted on previous Casino-area bunkers articles) is a “classic” for Black Sea coast – parallelepiped with bevelled horizontally edges. Is a bunker featuring with two firing windows, first one targeting towards S-W, the second one monitoring West area of the harbor. One of the few positions that protected the harbor’s water area.
Decades ago, the communist authorities decided to hide the bunker from the eyes of people, so they built “a Matrioska doll”, a fake building that enveloped the WW2 pillbox. Only one of the firing windows was still visible.

This year they’ve start building a new office building next to the WW2 pillbox and its “sarcophagus” was removed, revealing the bunker, preserved in fairly good shape. There are surprises – pillbox was equipped with two MG firing windows, besides the one aiming toward S-W, there is a firing hole directed to the West side of the harbor. In addition, the periscope (or just its case) seems to be still in place and in proper condition for a refurbishment job. In the picture you can see the cover of the periscope, usually missing from most of the WW2 bunkers in Romania.
Funny enough, the Ceresit banners in the background advertise a cement brand (probably used on the new office building). Well, tons of cement and concrete in the walls of our bunker, but I doubt Ceresit had anything to do with this 😉

The Eastern wall o the bunker features two tiny openings, protected with armored plates that have a circular hole the size of a GM barrel. These might have served as a auxiliary firing positions. Also, there we found the access point of the bunker, now closed with a thin metallic door, that replaced the heavy armored, original door.

The type of the firing apertures and the embrasures are used to a large variety of bunkers all along the Seaside. Unfortunately I could not photograph inside this particular bunker – the aperture of the MG gun is blocked from inside with a metal plate.
Moving to the West side and the North-West sides of the bunker, we found another firing aperture, directed towards West, and a new, small, auxiliary firing slot. The MG plates has a special feature – a nut that allowed the movement of the gun to all four axes, that particular nut is still present in armor plate of the embrasure ! A clue that might help us in identifying the model of gun used (our assumptions go to ZB-53).

Note the “nut” that used to slide in MG’s plate armor in order to allow guns targeting. No luck here either, I could not photograph inside the bunker as a metal plate obstruction visibility.

I leave this bunker with the feeling that it may become a milestone in our exploring of Constanta’s WW2 bunkers – the fact that was kept in good condition, being “encapsulated” in its camouflage building, preserved some elements that are no longer found in other pillboxes (MG guide nut, periscope, perhaps others items inside). Yet the access is difficult due to a guards around the new office building site.
I’m heading towards the final objective of our expedition, and 300 m S-SW I find the massive bunker I was looking for. It is located in the middle of the scrap berths, which entitles me to hope that bunker is open. As a particularity, the horizontal edges of the walls are rounded.

Bunker is impressive by its size (4.5 m height) and its “curved shapes”. It looks … inflatable. No holes, no pipes, no fans. Only one entry as big as a midget door.
The bunker has considerably thick walls, the ceiling has 2 m thickness. It’s hard to say, as except the wall there is not much, but we might deal with a former ammunition bunker.

Inside … nothing. No partition, no flange jutting out from the wall, just a big vacant space. Or “vital space” … Waste, PET beer, swirls, typical scenario of a WW2 bunker in Romania.

This is where our Vraja Marii / Porta 1 area WW2 bunkers expedition ends. Two bunkers whose existence remains shrouded in mystery and two other bunkers that entitles us to believe that the story is not over. You can find clues and sketch a vision even from locations and experiences that you’d expect to only generate questions.

 

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Poarta 1 bunkers

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Buncar X: 44.170260, 28.660643
Buncar Y: 44.169679, 28.659621
Cazemata G: 44.168975, 28.658706
Buncar Z: 44.164536, 28.658084
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Buncar X
Poarta 1, Constanta, Romania
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Buncar Y
Poarta 1, Constanta, Romania
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Cazemata G
Poarta 1, Constanta, Romania
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Buncar Z
Poarta 1, Constanta, Romania

 

LATER EDIT:

Thanks to a picture from Alex, we are able to document and confirm the existence and the position of bunker Y, under the Poarta 1 parking lot. The photo was made in 1964.

buncar_y_poarta1_1964

 

 

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