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Iron Gates

This article is about the Danube gorge. For for the pass in the Bibans mountains in Algeria, see Iron Gates (Algeria). For other uses, see Iron Gate.

, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. this article by introducing more precise citations.

The Iron Gates of the DanubeThe Iron Gates is a gorge on the Danube River. It forms part of the boundary between Romania and Serbia. In the broad sense it encompasses a route of 134km (83mi); in the narrow sense it only encompasses the last barrier on this route, just beyond the Romanian city of Orşova, that contains two , with two power stations, Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station and Iron Gate II Hydroelectric Power Station.

The gorge lies between Romania in the north and Serbia in the south. At this point, the river separates the southern Carpathian Mountains from the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. The Romanian side of the gorge constitutes the Iron Gates natural park, whereas the Serbian part constitutes the Đerdap national park.

In English, the gorge is known as Iron Gates or Iron Gate. In languages of the region including Romanian, Hungarian, Slovak, Turkish, German, and Bulgarian, names literally meaning Iron Gates are used to name the entire range of gorges. These names are Romanian: (

), Hungarian: , Slovak: ; Turkish: , German: , and Bulgarian: (Železni vrata). An alternative Romanian name for the last part of the route is Defileul Dunării, literally Danube Gorge.

In Serbian, the gorge is known as Đerdap (Ђ; ), with the last part named Đerdapska klisura (Ђ ; ).

The Roman plaque Tabula Traiana, SerbiaThe first narrowing of the Danube lies beyond the Romanian isle of Moldova Veche and is known as the Golubac gorge. It is 14.5km long and 230m (755ft) wide at the narrowest point. At its head, there is a medieval fort at Golubac, on the Serbian bank. Through the valley of Ljupovska lies the second gorge, Gospodin Vir, which is 15km long and narrows to 220m (722ft). The cliffs scale to 500m and are the most difficult to reach here from land. The broader Donji Milanovac forms the connection with the Great and the Small Kazan gorge, which have a combined length of 19km (12mi). The Orșova valley is the last broad section before the river reaches the plains of Wallachia at the last gorge, the Sip gorge.

The Great Kazan (kazan meaning vat or reservoir) is the most mous and the most narrow gorge of the whole route: the river here narrows to 150m and reaches a depth of up to 53m (174ft). East of this site the Roman emperor Trajan had built the legendary bridge erected by Apollodorus of Damascus. Construction of the bridge ran from 103 through 105, preceding Trajans final conquest of Dacia. On the right (Serbian) bank a Roman plaque commemorates him. On the Romanian bank, at the Small Kazan, the likeness of Trajans Dacian opponent Decebalus was carved in rock from 1994 through 2004.

Significantly old discoveries have been found in the geographically less spectacular gorge of Gospodin Vir: in the 1960s the was unearthed, the most important in whole southeastern Europe. The sandstone statues dated to the early neolithic era are particularly splendid. Together with many other findings in the Iron Gates gorges area, it indicates that the region has been inhabited for a very long time.

The riverbed rocks and the associated rapids made the gorge valley an inmous passage for shipping. In German, the passage is still known as the Kataraktenstrecke, even though the cataracts are gone. Near the actual Iron Gates strait the Prigrada rock was the most important obstacle until 1896: the river widened considerably here and the water level was consequently low. Upstream, the Greben rock near the Kazan gorge was notorious.

In 1831 a plan had already been drafted to make the passage navigable, at the initiative of the Hungarian politician Istvn Szchenyi. Finally Gbor Baross, Hungarys Iron Minister, succeeded in financing this project.

In 1890, near the city of Orsova (in Hungarian; Ursa in Romanian) being the last border town of Hungary, rocks were cleared by explosion over a 2km (1.2mi) stretch in order to create an 80m (262ft) wide and 3m (10ft) deep channel. A spur of the Greben Mountains was removed across a length of over 2km (1.2mi). Here, a depth of 2m (7ft) sufficed. On 17 September 1896, the Sip Channel thus created (named after the Serbian village on the right bank) was inaugurated by the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph, the Romanian king Carol I, and the Serbian king Alexander Obrenovich.

The results of these efforts were slightly disappointing. The currents in the channel were so strong that, until 1973, ships had to be dragged upstream by locomotive. The Iron Gates thus remained an obstacle of note.

Iron Gate I damThe construction of the joint Romanian-Yugoslavian mega project that would finally tame the river commenced in 1964. In 1972 the Iron Gate I Dam was opened, followed by Iron Gate II Dam, in 1984, along with two hydroelectric power stations and two sluices.

The construction of these dams gave the valley of the Danube below Belgrade the nature of a reservoir, and additionally caused a 35m rise in the water level of the river near the dam. The old Orșova, the Danube island of Ada Kaleh (below) and at least five other villages, totaling a population of 17,000, had to make way. People were relocated and the settlements have been lost forever to the Danube.

The dams construction had a major impact on the local una as wellfor example, the spawning routes of several species of sturgeon were permanently interrupted.

That said, the flora and una, as well as the geomorphological, archaeological and cultural historical articts of the Iron Gates have been under protection of both nations since the construction of the dam. In Serbia this was done with the Đerdap National Park (since 1974, 636.08km

(245.59sqmi)) and in Romania by the Porţile de Fier National Park (since 2001, 1,156.55km

The isle of Ada Kaleh is probably the most evocative victim of the Đerdap dams construction. A Turkish exclave, it had a mosque and a thousand twisting alleys, and was known as a free port and smugglers nest. Many other ethnic groups lived there beside Turks.

The island was about 3km (1.9mi) downstream from Orșova and measured 1.7 by 0.4-0.5km. It was walled; the Austrians built a fort there in 1669 to defend it from the Turks, and that fort would remain a bone of contention for the two empires. In 1699 the island came under Turkish control, from 1716 to 1718 it was Austrian, after a four-month siege in 1738 it was Turkish again, followed by the Austrians reconquering it in 1789, only to have to yield it to the Turks in the following peace treaty. Thereafter, the island lost its military importance. The 1878 Congress of Berlin forced the Ottoman Empire to retreat r into the south, and the island came under the control of Austria-Hungary, though it remained the property of the Turkish sultan. The inhabitants enjoyed exemption from taxes and customs and were not conscripted. In 1923, when the Ottoman monarchy had disappeared, the inhabitants chose to join Romania.

The Ada Kaleh mosque dated from 1903 and was built on the site of an earlier . The carpet, a gift from the Turkish sultan, has been located in the Constanţa mosque since 1965.

Most Ada Kaleh inhabitants emigrated to Turkey after the evacuation of the island. A smaller part went to Dobrogea, another Romanian territory with a Turkish minority.

The pre-historic settings of the Earths Children book series focuses in on difficulties traveling through or around the Iron Gates in both the second (The Valley of Horses) and fourth (The Plains of Passage) novels during scene sequences detailing travel adventures whilst the protagonists navigate between the upper and lower Danube valleys.

The book Between the Woods and the Water by Patrick Leigh Fermor describes a night on the now submerged island Ada Kaleh and a trip by ferry through the Iron Gates, in August, 1934.

. Journal of European Archaeology5 (1): 5092. doi:10.1179/575 (inactive September 24, 2012).)

. In Bailey, Geoff; Spikins, Penny. Mesolithic Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.23879. ISBN978-0-521--7.

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