Trajan's Bridge (Romanian: Podul lui Traian; Serbian: Трајанов мост, Trajanov Most) or Bridge of Apollodorus over the Danube was a Roman segmental arch bridge, the first to be built over the lower Danube. For more than a thousand years, it was the longest arch bridge in the world, in terms of both total and span length. The bridge was constructed by the Greek architect Apollodorus of Damascus for the deployment of Roman troops in the war against Dacia, in 105 AD.

Description

The bridge was situated East of the Iron Gates, near the cities of Drobeta-Turnu Severin (Romania) and Kladovo (Serbia). Its construction was ordered by Emperor Trajan as a supply route for the Roman legions fighting in Dacia.

The structure was 1,135 m (3,724 ft) in length (the Danube is 800 m (2,600 ft) wide in that area), 15 m (49 ft) in width, and 19 m (62 ft) in height (measured from the river's surface). At each end was a Roman castrum, each built around an entrance (crossing was possible only by walking through the camp).

Its engineer, Apollodorus of Damascus, used wooden arches set on twenty masonry pillars (made of bricks, mortar and pozzolana cement) that spanned 38 m (125 ft) each. It was built unusually quickly (between 103 and 105)–one possible explanation is that the river was diverted during construction.

Tabula Traiana

A Roman memorial plaque ("Tabula Traiana"), 4 meters in width and 1.75 meters in height, commemorating the completion of Trajan's military road is located on the Serbian side facing Romania near Ogradina. In 1972, when Đerdap I was built, plaque was moved from its original location, and moved higher, to the present place. It reads:

The text was interpreted by Otto Benndorf to mean:

Tabula Traiana was declared Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1979, and is protected by Republic of Serbia.

Destruction/erosion and remains

The bridge was destroyed by Aurelian, after the Roman Empire withdrew its troops from Dacia.

The twenty pillars were still visible in 1856, when the level of the Danube hit a record low.

In 1906, the International Commission of the Danube decided to destroy two of the pillars that were obstructing navigation.

In 1932, there were 16 remaining pillars underwater, but in 1982 only 12 were mapped by archeologists; the other four had probably been swept away by water. Only the entrance pillars are now visible on either bank of the Danube.

In 1979, Trajan's Bridge was added to the Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance, and in 1983 on Archaeological Sites of Exceptional Importance list, and by that it is protected by Republic of Serbia.

Media

8 photos

Building Activity

  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator