1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Galatz

GALATZ (Galaţii), a city of Rumania, capital of the department of Covurlui; on the left bank of the river Danube, 90 m. W. by N. of its mouth at Sulina. Pop. (1900) 62,678, including 12,000 Jews. The Danube is joined by the Sereth 3 m. S.W. of Galatz, and by the Pruth 10 m. E. Galatz is built on a slight eminence among the marshes which line the intervening shore and form, beside the western bank of the Pruth, the shallow mere called Lake Bratych (Brateşul), more than 50 sq. m. in extent. With the disappearance, towards the close of the 19th century, of most of its older quarters in which the crooked, ill-paved streets and insanitary houses were liable to be flooded every year, the city improved rapidly. Embankments and fine quays were constructed along the Danube; electric tramways were opened in the main streets, which were lighted by gas or electricity, and pure water was supplied. The higher, or north-western part of the city, which is the more open and comfortable, contains many of the chief buildings. These include the prefecture, consulate, prison, barracks, civil and military hospitals and the offices of the international commission for the control of the Danube (q.v.). The bishop of the lower Danube resides at Galatz. There are many Orthodox Greek, Roman Catholic and other churches; the most interesting being the cathedral, and St Mary’s church, in which is the tomb of the famous Cossack chief, Mazeppa (1644–1709), said to have been rifled of its contents by the Russians. Galatz is a naval station, and the headquarters of the III. army corps, protected by a line of fortifications which extends for 45 m. E. to Focshani and is known as the Sereth line. But the main importance of the city is commercial. Galatz is the chief Moldavian port of entry, approached by three waterways, the Danube, Sereth and Pruth, down which there is a continual volume of traffic, except in mid-winter; and by the railways which intersect all the richest portions of the country. Textiles, machinery, and coal make up the bulk of imports. Besides a large trade in petroleum and salt, Galatz ranks first among Rumanian cities in its export of timber, and second to Braila in its export of grain. It possesses many saw-mills, paste-mills, flour-mills, roperies, chemical works and petroleum refineries; manufacturing also metal ware, wire, nails, soap and candles. Vessels of 2500 tons can discharge at the quays, but cargoes consigned to Galatz are often transhipped into lighters at Sulina. The shipping trade is largely in foreign hands, the principal owners being British.