Friday, June 25, 2010

Memories from my native country - Danube Gorge

Romania - Danube Gorge and Mraconia Monastery

These days was very hot here in Vancouver, and it makes me think of extremely hot summer days from my native country, Romania.
National Geographic Traveler: Romania
I will blog about some reasons that make me to miss my charming native places full of history where I spent many years of life.

Romania (Country Guide) It is an area of wild and somehow mystical beauty situated on the "Old Continent", between the Lower Danube Valley and the Balkan foothills, between Carpathians Mountains and Black Sea, on Zamolxis land. The people who lived on this blessed land had Dacian-Roman origins. Herodotus called them "the fairest and most courageous of men" because they believed in the immortality of the soul and were not afraid to die.


Romania: An Illustrated History (Illustrated Histories)My heritage arises from ancestral times and combines The Dacian-Thracian spirituality with the amazing Roman culture. Carved stone tools and cave paintings evidenced that people inhabited Romanian land since the Paleolithic. In 3.000 B.C.  the Thracian tribes of Indo-European origin, occupied the actual Romanian territory. The Greeks called them Getae, and the Romans - Dacians.


Between 82 - 44 B.C. , Dacian king Burebista created a powerful  Dacian kingdom. After his death, the Dacian kingdom was split into five smaller states.  Between 87-106 A.D., the king of Dacia Decebalus “The Brave” reunited the core of Dacia  and was fighting three wars against the Roman Empire.  Between 101-106 A.D. Romans conquered and colonized Dacia, making it "Dacia Trajana", province of the Roman Empire, for almost 150 years, and the Dacians "adopted" the conqueror's language ... or maybe not.


Danube Gorge - Head of Decebal, Dacian King - Romanian - Serbian border


I not intend to tell now the entire history of Romanian people, but I wish to tell you about  the Mraconia Bay, situated near Orsova, within Dubova commune area, where after 2000 years, Decebal and Trajan stand again symbolically face to face.

The Danube River was immortalized by Johann Strauss in his famous "The Blue Danube", is the Europe's second longest river which surges through most of Central Europe, starting in Germany's Black Forest and flowing into the Black Sea.

On the Romanian side of the Danube River's, I admired last summer  a monumental sculpture of over 55 m high representing the head of the Dacian king Decebal. 

Professor Josif Constantin Dragan was the person who initiated and financed this tallest sculpture in stone from Europe, which was carved between 1994-2004.


Danube River - Tabula Traiana - Romanian / Serbian Border


On the other side of the Danube river`s banks, on the Serbian side, lies the “Tabula  Traiana”, a Roman memorial plaque 4 meters in width and 1.75 meters in height, commemorating the completion of Roman  Emperor Trajan's military road.


Danube Gorge - Great Cazan / Cazanele Mari - Clisura DunariiThere is the place where Lusius, a Roman Leader crossed the Danube when invaded Dacia in 101.

The Danube Gorge/ Clisura Dunarii lies between Romania in the north and Serbia in the south,  and separates the southern Carpathian Mountains from the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. 
Danube River - Great Kazan Gorge/ Cazanele Mari - Clisura Dunarii

The Great Kazan Gorge/ Cazanele Mari is the most spectacular, where the river narrows to 150 m above and reaches a depth of up to 53 m. The gorge itself  is a deep one with mountains on either side of the gorge towering at the time, with a stunning rocky panorama. The lush green landscape with cover the cliffs make the gorges look wild romantic.

Danube River - Little Kazan Gorge and Mracunia Monastery/ Cazanele Mici si Manastirea Mraconia - Clisura Dunarii
On the Little Kazan  Gorge/ Cazanele Mici of the Danube has built an orthodox monastery named Mraconia (dark water).
Over the years the monastery has been known under different names: the Monastery of the Danube Valley, the monastery of the Mracuna valley, the monastery of Ogradena-Veche, the monastery of Orsova .



Danube River - Orsova Valey Romania / Valea Orsovei pe Dunare
The Great and Small Kazan Gorges/ Cazanele Mari si Mici (kazan means boiler), which ends with the last section, the Orsova Valley, have a  length of 19 km. On this route the grounds are beautiful and serene, and I think that this is the most lovely section along the Danube River.


Danube River - Orsova Valey / Valea Orsovei pe Dunare

I explored those wonderful  places last year when I took a Danube cruise around the section of Orsova - Mraconia Monastery and back to Orsova. The magic of the steep cliffs towering beside me made my trip a memorable experience of my life. In this trip I remembered how lucky are the people of these dreaming lands and I recovered a part of my ancestors history.

The Danube River is one of the most international river on the planet - it runs across or forms a part of the borders of : Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine. The beauty of Danube Gorge had inspired many poets and Herodotus called Danube River " The Greatest of  all Rivers".
I miss The Danube Valley ...

Romania Travel Map
If you don't have one already, buy a map first thing when you arrive at a destination or click picture to buy Romanian Travel Map now.

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