The Danube Gorge area, on both its sides, has been inhabited since the Paleolithic and represented a transportation and trade way used in spite of the dangers represented by the Danube Cauldrons and the Iron Gates.
Here’s how Alexandru Boariu describes this portion of the Danube: Porta Ferea in Latin, Djerdap Danje in Serbian, Vaskapu in Hungarian, Demir-kapi in Turkish, Iron Gates in Romanian: a barrier of rocks and whirling waters, which, for centuries, made Danube navigation almost impossible at the entrance in Romania. Many brave or foolish navigators lost their lives trying to cross this dangerous corridor.
Today the “killing gates” are peaceful. Hundreds of cliffs that came lofty out of the Danube, creating nightmares to any sailor, lay up now still under the accumulation lake created by the dam of the Iron Gates I Hydroelectric Power Plant. Ships float in silence above them.
After centuries of fierce confrontation, the old Danube and the millenary mountains – the Carpathians on the Romanian bank, the Balkans on the Serbian one – ceased their sharp combat. They have concluded an armistice. The river and the mountain, the water and the rock have made peace.
Only the legends, impressions and testimonies of those who traveled along the centuries through this wonderful gorge still recall the terrible clenching.