The Iron Gates of the Danube, where water and mountain meet

A gorge on the great Danube River, the Iron Gates trace a border between Romania and its neighbor, Serbia. Some consider the gorge to be a 134 km long route, as others consider the Iron Gates as the last barrier of this route, which encompasses the two dams as hydroelectric power stations of: Iron Gate I and Iron Gate II.

North from the Iron Gates there is the Romanian land and the whereabouts make up the Iron Gates Natural Park, whereas to the south, there is Serbia and its Derdap National Park. The Danube’s flow in this area plays the role of a separator between the Carpathian and the Balkan Mountains.

Both banks of this area of Danube’s pass were inhabited from the oldest of times, since the Paleolithic. Named Porta Ferea in Latin, this pass has caused problems for the Danube’s sailors for centuries on end, as it was a rock barrier with whirling waters which made navigation impossible. Today, the “murdering gates” are peaceful. The myriads of rocks peeking out of the water now sit quietly under the accumulation lake of Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station. Some say that after centuries of continuous battle between the Danube and the Carpathians and Balkans, river and mountain, water and rock, have finally made peace.

Due to its narrowness, the Great Kazan is the most famous gorge on the route. Not far from this landmark there is the legendary bridge of Apollodorus of Damascus and onwards from here you can see the “Tabula Traiana” Roman commemorative plaque on the Serbian shore. The not far away Small Kazan hosts the majestic rock sculpture of Decebalus, Trajan’s Dacian opponent, known as the tallest rock relief in Europe.

The megaproject of the two dams began in 1964 with the first Iron Gate Dam finished 1972, whilst the second dam opened 12 years thereafter along with the hydroelectric power stations.

The construction of the two dams caused the Danube to ride 35 meters and the famous and deeply regretted Ada Kales Island.

While in this area, make sure you get to explore Antiquity with the Dacian fortresses from Divici, the Liubcova cliff, the roman castrum and Apollodorus’ Bridge, the Middle Ages by visiting the ruins of Saint Ladislau, Drencova and Tricule fortresses, modern history with Veterani Cave, the Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station. There are also the churches on cliffs Saint Ana Monastery and Vodita Monastery.

Besides these landmarks, the Iron Gates natural park can also be the perfect relaxing getaway. Here you can navigate all day on the Danube, explore the rural life and do some sightseeing. You will not want to close your eyes!

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Stefania Tripe
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” ― Stephen King.

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