Borderland in the Iron Gates

Only recently I had the opportunity to spend five days in the Danube region near Đerdap national park in  Golubac, Serbia. #DANUrB brought me here. Within these five days I had excursions, conducted interviews and attended workshops and/or lectures. The aim was to discuss and learn about tourism development through heritage, regional planning and empowerment in a crossborder context. I decided to compile impressions of places downstream with ample  (hi)stories; borders are omnipresent in this region.


We stayed in Vinci ( near Golubac). It is where the Danube reaches a width of six kilometers. Vinci consists of private owned appartment houses and some grocery stores  alligned along EV 6. In summer there are plenty of sport opportunities: surfing, sailing, and waterball amongst others. On the other side of the river we find Romania.

golubac fortress reconstruction site

Golubac fortress marks the  entrance gap called ‚Iron Gates‘ with two hydroelectric power plants at its end. After the dam was build, several villeges were flooded, including Lepenski vir – a 9000 year old archeological site. At Golubac fortress reconstruction works proceed quickly even though including the construction of a tunnel and the excavation and restoration of a hammam. The latter evidences the frotresses significance in terms of historic geopolitics.

Decide on yur own: Funny or sad enough, villagers tell the story of a fisherman who spent a night in Romanian jail for irregularily crossing the boarder where one country belongs to the European Union and the other one does not. Is it obvious how reluctant regulations within geographical Europea are?


Heading downstream, new and old history evidence the regions geopolitical posture: Built from 1994 to 2004, this rock sculpture of Decebalus (last king of Dacia which correponds to modern Romania) watches the Danube at one of its narrowst points. Decebalus is praised by the Romanian for having fought against Trajan and Dormitius. A few meters upstream the Tabula Trajana – an old plaque – remembers the bridge built by the Romans  in 103 to 104 to enter Dacia.


Today the relationship between Romanian and Serbs seems to have come at a certain point of disintrest. Bridges and ferry services are not a bigg issue. Vlachs and Serbs live on bth sides of the river. However, a fishermen (from a city distant approx. 100 kilometers) addressed issues with Kosovo. As a reaction to our combination as a Serbian, Austrian and Italian group, this was a topic relevant to him. But he was also proud to present skills and tools one needs to be succesfull in fishing not only in the Iron Gates.


Living in Vienna for 9 years I first developed an increasing interest for the Balkans  (20132017). More recently I attended events and conferences in the Danube region (DanurB/ 14th DRC Summer School). To see further photograps about my travel to Golubac and Derdap National park click here.

Information about DANUrB project are here.


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