Danube Virtual Museum

Trajan’s Road – Trajan’s Canal- Trajan’s Bridge

Via Traiana

A Roman river bank road along the Danube / Danubius, secured by a varying number of military positions and military technical installations, ran strictly along the right river bank and its gorges, encompassing the Upper and the Lower Gorge Iron Gate / Đerdap.

Constructed even in places without natural terrestrial links, where the rocky bank steeply meets the river, and where dangerous, deep vortices lie, or rocky reefs with threatening peaks above the river surface, it served as both the surveillance of the border towards the barbarians and as a secure river-land connection as a kind of Roman limes (Danube) for free traffic flow of people and goods between the Roman stations. Given the unprecedented severe natural conditions and technical characteristics, the Roman road through the gorge of the Danube certainly represented one of the most important construction undertakings of Rome and emperors of the Roman imperial era - Tiberius, Claudius, Flavian, and finally Trajan. These emperors as well as direct heirs of the throne, the rulers of the next decades and centuries, until the final abandonment of the border in the early seventh century, oversaw the building and maintenance of the road. The road lasted even throughout the medieval era, through the new age until the twentieth century when the reservoirs of the Danube were formed covering the road and natural barriers, the very thing that had prompted the Romans to build it and which had allowed it to exist for almost 2000 years.

Generally, the basic track way of the road, 2 meters in the widest parts, was cut into the rock, and then extended using wooden structural elements and a console (ancona). These wooden sized rectangular beams were set horizontally, vertically, symmetrically and at intervals, corresponding to single deposits made in the rock high above the deep and strong river currents. They remained visible (even after they had lost their original use) for many centuries until 1970 when the Roman road, just like the entire bank together with the sites, was flooded by the high waters of the Danube and Đerdap accumulation (Đеrdаp I/Kаrаtаš).

Road in the Upper Danube Gorge – Gosopođin Vir Rock

(Submerged site, about 30 km upstream from Donji Milanovac)

The famous rock and the site is known world-wide for its well preserved, visible traces of construction of the route of the Roman river bank road, above which commemorative inscriptions of Roman emperors - Tiberius (33-34 AD), Claudius (46 AD) and Domitian (92-93 AD) were discovered. The inscriptions were carved in a natural rock of a gorge after the works on the road had been finalized. Small Roman military-technical installations were discovered at this site. They are actually military positions measuring 9 x 3.8 meters with walls up to 1.2 meters high adjusted to the configuration of the ground and dug in the steep rocky shore.

Copies of two imperial inscriptions in polyester, those of Claudius and Domitian are kept and exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Đerdap in Kladovo.

Road in the Lower Danube Gorge - Canyon's / Kаzаn's Rock

(Submerged site, about 10 km upstream from Теkiјa)

Like its predecessors, Roman emperor Trajan (98-117 AD), perpetuate his architectural accomplishments and contributions to the building of a road for safe traffic on the Danube, in the most dangerous sector - with the commemorative table – plates with the inscriptions and placed them at places of these works. The first commemorative (saved) plate, with the inscription of this emperor was carved in the natural rock of the Lower Gorge Iron Gate / Đerdap 100 AD (the famous Trajan’s Plaque), and the second plate, a year later, was set up at the main gate, near Trajan's canal (as evidenced by the inscription), at the Diana’s Cataracts (according to the latest research of the J. (Rankov) Kondic, Iron Gate / Đerdap Project Manager - Project Diana ).

The appearance of this sector of the Danube / Roman Danubius, this landscape of the Roman Empire, was almost faithfully presented at the famous Trajan Column, the most famous art historical, Roman relief, which is still located in Trajan's Forum, in Rome, erected 113 AD in honor of the Roman emperor Trajan and the Roman army, war victory and planning projects on the Danube, led by the famous architect Apollodorus.


Ј. (Rаnkоv) Kоndić (text in prepress); P. Pеtrоvić, Roman Road in Đеrdаp, Stаrinаr 37 (1986), 41-52; P. Petrović, Die Römische StraSe in Djerdap: Ein rekonstruktionsdersuch, Akten Limes 14 Carnuntum (1990); 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)