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iron gate

iron gate

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Published by Ivana Antic

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Published by: Ivana Antic on May 14, 2012
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The
Iron Gates
is agorgeon theDanubeRiver. It forms part of the boundary  betweenRomaniaandSerbia. In the broad sense it encompasses a route of 134 km (83 mi); in the narrow sense it only encompasses the last barrier on this route, just beyond theRomanian city of Orşova, that contains twohydroelectric dams, with two power  stations,Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power StationandIron Gate II Hydroelectric Power  Station.The gorge lies between Romania in the north and Serbia in the south. At this point, theriver separates the southernCarpathian Mountainsfrom the northwestern foothills of theBalkan Mountains. The Romanian, Hungarian, Slovakian, Turkish, German andBulgarian names literally mean "Iron Gates" and are used to name the entire range of gorges. An alternative Romanian name for the last part of the route is
,"DanubeGorge". In Serbia, the gorge is known as
 Đerdap
(Ђердап), with the last partnamed
 Đerdapska klisura
. The Romanian side of the gorge constitutes theIron Gatesnatural park, whereas the Serbian part constitutes theĐerdap national park.
Gorges
The first narrowing of theDanubelies beyond the Romanian isle of Moldova Vecheand is known as the
Golubac gorge
. It is 14.5 km long and 230 m wide at the narrowest point. Atits head, there is amedievalfort atGolubac, on the Serbian bank. Through the valley of 
 Ljupovska
lies the second gorge,
Gospodin Vir 
, which is 15 km long and narrows to 220 m.The cliffs scale to 500 m and are the most difficult to reach here from land. The broader 
 Donji Milanovac
forms the connection with the
Great 
and
Small Kazan gorge
,which have a combined length of 19 km. The
Orşova valley
is the last broad section beforethe river reaches the plains of Wallachiaat the last gorge, the
Sip gorge
.The Great Kazan (
kazan
meaning "boiler") is the most famous and the most narrow gorgeof the route: the river here narrows to 150 m and reaches a depth of up to 53 m. East of thissite theRomanemperor Trajanhadthe legendary bridgeerected byApollodorus of  Damascus. Construction of the bridge ran from 103 through 105, preceding Trajan'sconquest of Dacia. On the right bank a Roman plaquecommemorates him. On the Romanian bank, at the Small Kazan, the likeness of Trajan's Dacian opponentDecebaluswas carved in rockfrom 1994 through 2004.Significantly older treasures have been unearthed in the geographically less spectacular gorge of Gospodin Vir: in the 1960s thearchaeological surveyLepenski Vir was unearthed, the most significant insoutheastern Europe. Thesandstonestatues from the early neolithicare particularly splendid. Along with the other surveys that can be found in theIron Gates, it indicates that the region has been inhabited for a very long time.
Channel
The riverbed rocks and the associated rapids made the gorge valley an infamous passageinshipping. InGerman,the passage is still known as the
 Kataraktenstrecke
, even thoughthe cataracts are gone. Near the actual Iron Gates the
 Prigrada
rock was the most importantobstacle until 1896: the river widened considerably here and the water level wasconsequently 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 politicianIstván Széchenyi.FinallyGábor Baross, Hungary's "Iron Minister", completed the financing for this project.In 1890, beyond Orşova or Orsova in Hungarian,(Ursa in Romanian) being the last border town of Hungary, rocks were cleared by explosion over a 2 km stretch to create an 80 m
 
wide and 3 m deep channel. A spur of theGreben Mountainswas removed across a lengthof over 2 km. Here, a depth of 2 m sufficed. On 17 September 1896, the Sip Channel thuscreated (named after the Serbian village on the right bank) was inaugurated by the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Joseph, the Romanian kingCarol I, and the Serbian kingAlexander Obrenovich.The results of these efforts were slightly disappointing. The currents in the channel were sostrong that, until 1973, ships had to be dragged upstream bylocomotive. The Iron Gatesthus remained an obstacle of note.
Dams
The construction of the joint Romanian-Yugoslavian mega project that would finally tamethe river commenced in 1964. In 1972 theIron Gate I Damwas opened, followed byIron Gate II Dam, in 1984, along with twohydroelectric power stationsand two sluices. The construction of these dams gave the valley of the Danube belowBelgradethe nature of areservoir , and additionally caused a 35 m rise in the water level of the river near the dam.The old Orşova, the Danube island Ada Kaleh (below) and at least five other villages,totaling a population of 17,000, had to make way. People were relocated and thesettlements have been lost forever to the Danube.The dam's construction had a major impact on the environment as well—for example,thespawningroutes of several species of sturgeonwere permanently interrupted. That said, the flora and fauna, as well as thegeomorphological,archaeological andcultural historicalartifacts of the Iron Gates have been under protection from both nations since theconstruction of the dam. In Serbia this is done with theĐerdapNational Park (since 1974,636.08 km
2
) and in Romania by the Porţile de Fier National Park (since 2001,1,156.55 km
2
).
Ada Kaleh
The isle of Ada Kalehis probably the most evocative victim of the Đerdap dam'sconstruction. ATurkishenclave, it had amosqueand a thousand twisting alleys, and was known as afree portandsmuggler's nest. Many other ethnic groups lived there beside Turks.The island was about 3 km downstream from Orşova and measured 1.7 by 0.4-0.5 km. Itwas walled; theAustrians built a fort there in 1669 to defend it from the Turks, and thatfort 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 wasTurkish again, followed by the Austrians reconquering it in 1789, only to have to yield it tothe Turks in the following peace treaty.Thereafter, the island lost its military importance.The 1878Congress of Berlinforced theOttoman Empireto retreat far into the south, and the island came under the control of Austria-Hungary, though it remained the property of the Turkishsultan. The inhabitants enjoyed exemption fromtaxesandcustomsand were notconscripted.In 1923, when the Ottoman monarchy had disappeared, the inhabitantschose to join Romania.The Ada Kalehmosquedated from 1903 and was built on the site of anearlier Franciscan monastery. The carpet, a gift from the Turkish sultan, has been located in theConstanţamosque since 1965.
 
Most Ada Kaleh inhabitants emigrated toTurkeyafter the evacuation of the island. Asmaller part went toDobrogea, another Romanian territory with a Turkish minority.Đerdap je klisura na Dunavu. Ona čini dio granice između Rumunije i Srbije. U širemsmislu obuhvata trasu od 134 km, u užem smislu obuhvata samo poslednju prepreku naovom putu, odmah iza rumunskom gradu Orsova, koji sadrži dvije hidroelektrane brane, sadvije elektrane, Đerdap I i Đerdap II.Klisura se nalazi između Rumunije na severu i na jugu Srbije. U ovom trenutku, rijekarazdvaja južne Karpate od severozapadnog podnožja planine Balkan. Na rumunskom,mađarskom, slovačkom, turskom, nemačkom i bugarskom naziv doslovno znači"Gvozdena vrata" i koriste se da navedu čitav niz klisura. Alternativni rumunski naziv na poslednjem dijelu trase je Defileul Dunarii, "Klisura Dunava". U Srbiji klisura je poznatakao Đerdap, sa još jednim dijelom imena - Đerdapska Klisura. Rumunski dio klisure predstavlja prirodni park Đerdap, a srpski dio predstavlja Nacionalni par Đerdap.
 
KlisurePrvo sužavanja Dunava leži izvan rumunskog ostrva Stara Moldova i poznat je kaoGolubac Klisura. Klisura je 14,5 km dugačka i 230 m široka na najužem mjestu. Na
 
njenom čelu, postoji srednjovekovno utvrđenje u Golupcu, na srpskoj strani. DolinomLjupovska leži druga klisura, Gospodin Vir, koji je 15 km dug i sužava se na 220 m. Liticedostiže do 500 m i najteže joj je pristupiti sa zemlje. Širi Donji Milanovac formira vezu sa
 
klisurama Veliki i Mali Kazan, koji imaju kombinovanu dužinu od 19 km. Orsova dolina je poslednji široki dio prije nego što stigne rijeka do Vlaških ravnica na poslednjoj klisuri,Sipskoj klisuri.
 
Veliki Kazan (Kazan znači "kotao") je najpoznatija i najuža klisura trase: ovde se rijekasužava na 150 metara i dostiže dubinu i do 53 m. Na istočno dijelu ove strane, rimskiimperator Trajan je podigao legendarni most Apolodor od Damaska. Izgradnja mosta je
 
 prethodila Trajanovom osvajanju Dakije I trajala je od 103. do 105. godine. Na desnojobale obilježava ga rimska plaketa. Na rumunskoj obali, u Malom Kazanu, lik protivnikTrajana Dadačkog - Decebala je isklesan u stijeni od 1994 do 2004.
 
Znatno starije blago je otkriveno u geografskoj manje spektakularnoj klisuri Gospodin Vir:u 1960-im tokom arheološkom istraživanja Lepenski vir iskopano je najznačajnije blago u jugoistočnoj Evropi. Pješčano kamenite statue iz ranog neolita su posebno sjajne. Zajedno
 
sa drugim pregledima koji se mogu naći u Đerdapskoj klisuri, ukazuje da je ovaj regionnaseljen vrlo dugo.KanalKorito rijeke od stijena i pridruženih brzak ove klisure stvorili su zloglasni prolaz u brodarstvu. U nemačkom, prolaz je još poznat kao “Put brzaka”, iako su nestali brzaci.Blizu stvarne “Željezne kapije” stijena Prigrada predstavljala je najvažniju prepreku do1896: rijeka se ovdje znatno proširila i nivo vode je samim tim bio nizak. Uzvodno, stijenaGreben, u blizini klisure Kazan, je bila ozloglašena. Na inicijativu mađarskog političara Ištvana Sečenje 1831. godine plan je već bio pripremljen da se ovaj plovni prolaz osbosobi. Konačno Gabor Baroš, mađarski "Gvozdeniministar", završio je finansiranje ovog projekta.U 1890, iza Orsova ili Orsova na mađarskom jeziku, (medved na rumunskom jeziku), kao poslednji granični grad u Mađarskoj, stene su “očišćene” ekpolozijom I to više od 2 km da

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