Danube Virtual Museum

Kostol - Pontes/Transdrobeta

Castrum Pontes, next to Trajan's bridge, lies on a high bank of the Danube, opposite the Romanian fortress Drobeta / Turnu Severin. It was named after the Romanian fortress- Transdrobeta.

Although it was reconstructed over the next centuries, it retained its original shape, characteristic of the auxiliary Roman fortifications of Trajan's time. They were square fortresses with rounded corners and square towers on the inside of the stone walls, in corners and at the gates. The North gate – porta praetoria and the South gate - porta decumana, were placed at the middle of the rampart. The interior was also divided by an axis, according to the rules of the time, with the headquarters building - principium, in the center of the intersection of the two main streets.

The North and East ramparts were discovered and conserved completely over the course of the previous works, as well as most parts of the West and South ramparts, all four gates, towers (16 out of 18?), parts of the headquarters building / principia, workshops, warehouses, and late Roman structures. After being considerably damaged during the second century, all parts of the fortress were reconstructed during the Severus dynasty at the beginning of the third century, as well as in the later periods. The fortress, like the Roman Empire and limes in general, suffered great destruction in conflicts with the Goths and the Huns in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Based on the seals on the bricks, we know of many military units that were at this place during the construction of the bridge. Bricks stamped with V Macedonica, Legio VII Claudia, IIII Flavia, XIII Gemina, Cohors I Cretum, Cohors II Hispanorum, Cohors IIII Britonum, Cohors I Antiohensium, were found in this fort, along with those with the seals of Diana, Drubeta and Transdrubeta (workshops).

In 1850, fishermen found a well-preserved bronze head at Trajan's bridge / Pontes, which is most probably, part of a group of sculptures above the entrance portal of the bridge (1st / 2nd century, Trajan's father?, Trajan?, property of the National Museum in Belgrade). An excellent copy of the original in bronze is exhibited in the Museum in Kladovo.

Roman bricks, found at Trajan's bridge, used for its construction are also exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Đerdap in Kladovo as well as: a larger, representative marble sculpture of Jupiter on the throne with an inscription on the base dating back to the second / third century; a number of findings of the medieval collections (vessels of clay, jewelry), also from this site, from the Slav village set over the abandoned Roman fort, about 900/1000 years later.


Ј. (Rаnkоv) Kоndić (text in preprint); for the research results of Pоntеs-Тrајаn’s Bridge, see Đеrdаpskе svеskе/Cahiers des Portes de Fer/ CPF/, I/1980, II/1984 i IV/1987, with detailed literature; these research were conducted by eminent archaeologists, Professor Academician M. Garašanin (SANU), Dr M. Vasić (Institute of Archaeology, Beograd), Dr G. Marjanović-Vujović (National Museum, Beograd), S. Gušić, Architect (Institute for Protection of Cultural Heritage in Niš (architecture-conservation); see also S. Gušić, Traian's bridge a contribution towards its reconstruction, CPF The Roman Limes on the Middle and the Lower Danube, 1996; for the Тrајаn’s Pier, see C. Cichorius, Die Reliefs der Trajanssäule (1986-1900)

(Text: National Museum in Belgrade – Archaeological Museum Đerdap)