{tab=highlights}djerdap gorge

Take a look at one of the most beautiful sights in this part of the world, where Danube changes its width from a couple of kilometres to couple hundred meters, bends and rushes, making the powerful Djerdap gorge... And when you get tired of the natural beauties, take a walk around the 8.000 years old Neolithic settlement Lepenski Vir or take a look at the remains of the old Roman fortifications and medieval fortresses...


Djerdap was already known in the years B.C, when the merchants from ancient Greece used to transport their goods through it on small wooden boats. Djerdap gained in importance in the ages of the Roman empires, when roads on both left and right coast were built to enable legions to penetrate Dacia (today's Romania). Many Roman emperors had their share in taming Djerdap, starting from Julius Caesar, but the most famous is Traian, the conqueror of Dacia, who first managed to build roads through the gorge. He finished the construction of the road cleft into rock on the right side of the Danube and built the first bridge on the Danube between Turno-Severin and Kostol. The bridge was destroyed by his successors during their retreat from Dacia, who feared that the tribes might use it to attack the already weakened Roman Empire.

In the Middle Ages, during the Crusades and after the arrival of the Turks, Danube become a battlefield, so many fortresses were built in these parts.

With the arrival of steam boats, around the 18th century, Djerdap became important again, and the old problem re-appeared. In the Roman times, the part of Djerdap near today's Sip was already known as the Iron Gate, since river traffic in this part was virtually impossible due to the underwater rocks and the large decrease in water level. In 1820’s works started on exploring the sailing conditions and digging a channel near Sip, but despite that, the Danube wasn’t tamed until the 1960’s, when the dam and power plant (Djerdap one, two and three, one of the largest in this part of Europe) were built, completely changing the flow of the river. Unfortunately, this lead to the complete flooding of the Roman road, and the only witness that it existed is Traian’s plaque, that can only be seen from a ship, since it is only a couple of meters above water.

In 1996. an 8.000 years old Neolithic settlement was discovered on a plateau just above the Danube. It was named Lepenski Vir, and consists of the remains (basis) of the houses. It is famous for the unique statues made of stone.

When the Danube was dammed and the lake was made, the plateau with the settlement was flooded, so the settlement was moved to another place, 25 meters higher, without loosing any of its authenticity and value.

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The main centre of Djerdap national park is Donji Milanovac, a town near the Neolithic settlement Lepenski Vir. Another important centre is Kladovo, which is also a good base for the sight seeing.

A number of Buses go from Belgrade to Kladovo and Donji Milanovac. The best are the ones going to Kladovo via Milanovac, departing from Belgrade every day at 06.00, 09.00 am, 00.15 pm, 01.00 pm, 03.30 pm, 07.30 pm.

From there, you can start your tour around the gorge in many ways – alone, by hitchhiking or local buses, or with the help of any of the tourist agencies in Kladovo – organised tours, Danube cruises around the gorge...

For more detailed information:

Kladovo bus station, phone no. 019 / 81 - 469

Donji Milanovac bus station, phone no. 030 / 86 - 185.

There is an excellent road going all the way down the gorge (along the Danube and the Romanian border) so if you have a car you can easily see all the interesting spots.

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Djerdap national park covers the surface of 64.000 hectares, and lies along the right coast of the Danube, from Golubac to Sip. The most beautiful part of the park is the grandiose Djerdap gorge, also known as the Iron Gate, for its power, capriciousness and impassability. The gorge consists of many parts (from Gornji Milanovac towards Sip: Upper gorge, Gospodjin vir, Veliki Kazan, Mali Kazan, Sipska gorge) which are divided by narrow ravines.

In Gospodjin Vir the depth of the Danube reaches incredible 82 meters, which is one of the biggest river depths in the world. The most grandiose sights can be seen in Kazan, where rock raise up to 300 meters above water and where Danube changes its width, so that its river bed forms a shape like a caldron, fact to which this part of the gorge owes its name (cauldron = kazan).

The national park is extremely rich in flora and fauna. One of the largest hydroelectric power plants in this part of the Europe can be seen there, altogether with the huge accumulation lake. Due to its good location and beauty, this parts had turbulent history, so a number of cultural and historical monuments, such as Lepenski Vir, Roman road, Fortresses, can be seen there.

Lepenski Vir is covered as a separate destination.

Roman road, Traian’s plaque, remains of the roman bridge:

To ensure better links with the east and prepare the conquest of Dacia, Roman emperors cleaved a road into the rock of the Djerdap sides. First part of the road, from Golubac to Milanovac, was built by emperor Tiberius, in the upper gorge, just by the Danube. Claudius and Domitianus upgraded this road, as well as the road going to Brza Palanka via Miroc, and the last touch was added by Traianus, completing the road through this hostile environment. In some parts, beams were added to support the road. The road was completed in the year 103 AD, and Traianus ordered that a plaque should be placed above it, at the end of Mali Kazan, with the following words: “Emperor Caesar, son of the godly Nerva, Nerva Traianus August Germanic, Highest Priest, People’s Defender for the fourth time, conquering the mountain and the Danube rocks, has built this road”. After the construction of the hydroelectric power plant and the accumulation lake the level of water has risen and the road ended up at the bottom of the river, but a part of it (together with the plaque) is ten meters higher than the rest. It is very difficult to access the inscription from land, but it can easily be seen from the water.

To eliminate the navigation and sailing difficulties, Traianus ordered that a 3.000 meters long channel should be built, near the fortress of Diana. All that remains today is the second plaque of Traianus: “Emperor Caesar, son of the godly Nerva, Nerva Traianus August Germanic, Highest Priest, People’s Defender for the fourth time, diverted the flow of the river because of the dangers, making the sailing on the Danube safe”.

Traianus also built a bridge over the Danube, 5 kilometres down the river from today's Kladovo. It was 1.200 meters long and had 20 pillars. Traian’s successor, Hadrian, destroyed a part of the bridge to prevent Dacians from invading the Empire, after which the bridge fell to neglection. Remains can still be seen today – parts of the gate and three pillars.

Diana castle and Fetislam

About two kilometres down the river from the hydroelectric power plant Djerdap 1, lie the remains of the old Roman fortification Diana, one of the largest and best preserved Roman castles in this part of the Danube border, formerly known as “limes”. The fortification was built by Traian, and it functioned until the 6th century when it was devastated by Slavs and Avars.

A bit more down the river, about 300 meters from the very centre of Kladovo, lies another fortification, the Turkish fortress Fetislam. It was built over the remains of the old Roman castle Zanes and Serbian medieval town Novigrad, and it got its today's look during the reign of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It consists of big town and little town, so that it could be easily left in case of a catastrophe, because it had two levels of defense. The fortress dominated Djerdap and was of great significance to the Turks.