Danube Virtual Museum

Trajan’s Canal on Diana cataracts

Via Traiana

The other commemorative Trajan inscription in Latin, engraved in finely polished marble rectangular plaque, dim. 2.10 X 0.96 m, and accidentally found during construction work 1969, near the fortress (Diana), undoubtedly confirms Trajan's canal (101 AD), completed just a year after cutting the road in the Lower Gorge of the Danube (Trajan's Plaque, 100 AD).

The inscription specifically says the Emperor Trajan (loosely translated) “...because of the dangerous cataracts diverted the river and made the whole Danube navigable” (....ob periculum cataractarum derivato flumine tutam danuvii navigationem fecit).

Having constructed Trajan's canal, dangerous natural and insurmountable obstacles of safe river transport in Diana cataract / Iron Gate (after which the whole Danube Gorge was named) were removed.

Thanks to the earlier observations and measurements on the ground (F. Kanitz, 1889), we know that Trajan-Sip canal was approximately 3220 metres long, 57 metres wide at the bottom, 75 metres between the tops of embankments, and about 14 metres high . Its remains were found between the mouth of the river and rivers Kašajna and Kosovica, a right tributary of the Danube River (upstream from the present day HPP Đerdap I).

According to the latest research by J. (Rankov) Kondić, the marble plaque with the Trajan inscription was most likely placed above the (arch) gate, on the road to the Diana Station / Diana Statio Cataractarum and to Trajan’s canal (Diana cataracts). The emperor Trajan marked another incredible construction endeavor on the Danube, besides his military ones, by placing this honorary inscription together with the gate in 101 AD.

In 1896, the Sip canal was constructed using the same route and the same tasks, until the damming of the river and raising the level of the Danube for the needs of Đеrdаp I / Karataš (Kladovo). In 1970, the high waters of the Danube permanently submerged both the canals and the dangerous natural obstacles, together with the Iron Gate cataract.

The second Trajan inscription, of great importance, is the ownership of the Museum of Đerdap. However, it has been exhibited at HPP Đerdap I since it was discovered, but before the opening of the Archaeological Museum of Đerdap.
The original appearance of this great monument of Emperor Trajan can be seen in the photo-panel exhibition, in the small hall of the Archaeological Museum of Đerdap in Kladovo.


Ј. (Rаnkоv) Kоndić (text in prepress); P. Pеtrоvić, Nоvа Тrајаnоvа Таblа, Stаrinаr 21(1970); M. Mirković, The Iron Gates (Đerdap) and the Roman Policy on the Moesian Limes AD 33-117, 27-40 u CPF The Roman Limes on the Middle and the Lower Danube, 1996; M. Mirković, Moesia Superior Eine Provinz an der mittleren Donau, Orbis Provinciarum, Mainz 2007, with provided literature.

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