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Scenic River Stretches 3: Iron Gates

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Home >> Scenic River Stretches 3: Iron Gates

One part of the river cruise experience is that you just unpack once and your hotel brings you to another quaint town every day. But there is more, the beautiful stretches of the rivers you'll pass on your way. Therefore let's have a look on the few natural sights hiding in my database. In the last entry we dealt with the Wachau Valley, this posting deals with the Iron Gates.

The Iron Gates

Passed on every cruise downstream of Budapest to the Bucharest and the Black Sea.

For this blog entry, we stay on the Danube, but combine it with the geographical formation of the Rhine Gorge. Technically the Danube river has two gorges. One of them is upstream of Kelheim (where the Main Danube Canal ends) at Weltenburg Abbey. But the narrow (and short) gorge in Germany is nothing compared to the Iron Gates between Serbia and Romania. The Iron Gates gorge is about 135km / 80 miles long. It is not just an impressive geographical formation but played an imporant role in ancient Europe's history.

You are going to see Trajans Plate (Tabula Traiana) at Drobeta Tunru Severin. A plate commemorating the victory of the Roman Empire over the dacian tribes. Actually the plate was moved due to the construction of Djerdap 1 hydro dam - a story similar to Lake Nasser and Abu Simbel temple. But before you'll see the ancient memorial, there is a modern monument in sight: The Statue of Decebalus at Orsova. Decebalus was a dacian king, who withstood the roman expansion for more than 20 years. The monument was sponsored by a romanian entrepreneur - Dragan (who also admired the fascist romanian leader Ion Antonescu). I do not really get the point why someone would commemorate a guy like Decebalus. In case you forgot, Monty Python tells you what the Romans have given in return..

But wait, the Iron Gates have more to offer than rocks and history: Modern technology at the Djerdap Hydroelectric Power Stations. In fact there are two major dams at the end of the Iron Gates. You can actually see the 15m fall caused by the dam on it's elevation profile. And it's length mean it is a full day of cruising, not something you'll just pass between lunch and tea.

Want to cruise it? Check who cruises the Iron Gates. Or use the River Cruise Search and add it as a port of call.

Picture: Wikipedia / Creative Commons