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Tabula Traiana, an inscription carved in a rock on the bank of the Danube, is one of the many building feats of Roman Emperor Trajan.It is situated in the Djerdap Gorge, at the least accessible spot of the Roman road carved by Emperor Trajan in the rocks above the Danube. This was the road the Emperor and his warriors travelled in their campaign against the Dacians.
When the last and most difficult section of Trajan’s Road was finished in the year 100, an inscription was carved in rock to mark the completion of works. The plaque was originally placed 1.5 metres above the Roman road, by the side of the Danube; however, in 1969, Tabula Trajana and a whole section of the road were moved to avoid the risk of submersion as a result of construction of the Djerdap I Hydro Power Plant, which subsequently raised the water level of the Danube in this region. Today, the memorial plaque cannot be reached by land, but it can be seen directly from the river.
The inscription on the memorial plaque was originally carved in six rows; however, only three of those rows remain legible today. Those who know Latin will be able to decipher the following wording on the plaque: “Emperor Caesar, son of the divine Nerva, Nerva Trajan, the Augustus, Germanicus, Pontifex Maximus, invested for the fourth time as Tribune, Father of the Fatherland, Consul for the third time, excavating mountain rocks and using wood beams has made this road…”
The frieze depicting an eagle and winged genii is proof of a once-rich relief decoration, only fragments of which have survived. Beneath the inscription itself, you can see a kneeling figure, believed to be a representation of Danubius, and above it a canopy with a coffered ceiling with rosette decorations.
If you love the history and art of classical antiquity, take a boat trip through Djerdap Gorge. At the point where the Danube is at its deepest, you will see the memorial plaque standing proudly on the shore, as well as other monuments erected on Trajan’s Road, such as Pontes and Diana fortresses, and the remains of Trajan’s Bridge.
Info: Tabula Traiana