David before the Mountain
It was a great challenge, that Danube and that Djerdap. As if writing your name into those rocks means the same as writing your name into eternity. And that Dimitrijević, as he was, thin, with shrewd eyes and a sharp face, decided to accomplish something that has never been heard of before or afterwards: to enter a fight with Tabula Traiana, and to, in one piece weighing 300 tons, raise it above the rising waters of the dammed river

By: Brano Pavličić

DimitrijevicWhat is a human against a forceful river which, like a huge steel rope, cuts its way through the rocky mountains for centuries? What is a human against the water rolling with immeasurable force, capricious, both good and cruel, at times wide as the sea, at times narrow, cold and fast as a snake? What is a human against all that might and uncertainty?
How many armies, how many nations stopped on the bank of the Danube, looking at the space behind the river as if looking at an unreachable pillage or promised land, very often as the only possibility for salvation?
And the human started building, and then tearing down, until the present day.


Can you imagine the astonishment of Apolodor of Damascus, the most famous architect of the II century, who came to the bank near present Kladovo, with the task to build a stone bridge across the Danube. To increase the glory of Rome, to increase the glory of Emperor Traian. How many times did he measure that enormous river with an imaginative glance, and how was the image of the bridge he was about to build born in his head, the first bridge on the mighty Danube?
Dealing with the fame of others, Apolodor was building a bridge towards the stars, where he has remained forever. And between the two banks of the Danube, he built a 1127 meters long bridge, with arches high above the water, on twenty columns up to 45 meters high and 20 meters wide. It was one of the new world miracles, the greatest and grandest bridge of the Roman Empire. Its appearance is saved on Tabula Traiana in Rome, while the copy is in Kladovo, as a gift from Italy for building the hydroelectric power plant “Djerdap”, one of the 10 biggest ones in the world at the time, one of the many architectural challenges on this river.
Apolodor came by road already built through the Danube canyon by some other skilful architects only a few years earlier, during the reign of Cesar and Traian. The road was winding following the river, cut through a rock, sometimes floating above it, on columns horizontally stabbed into the stone, like hanging roads of human destinies and like hanging gardens where human imagination is cultivated.
Deep below the road, other builders, already forgotten, dug the Sip Canal, so the Roman galleys could, undisturbed, reach places where the water, muscles, wind and imagination lead them to.
The road through Djerdap was completed in 103, when the Tabula Traiana, celebrating the glory of the Emperor, was revealed before the astonished Roman legions. The cries of the legionaries reach us through time as one voice, cries celebrating power and courage, celebrating persistence and sacrifice. The voices haven’t yet settled at the bottom of the mountains through Djerdap, when the building of the bridge began, lasting only two years.
In the canyon, on Tabula Traiana cut into the rock and decorated with winged geniuses from both sides, even today stands the inscription:
“Imperator Caesar, Son of Divine Nerva, Traian, August Germanic, Supreme priest, representative of the people for the fourth time, conquering the mountain and Danube cliffs, built this road.”


However, those weren’t the first works of the Romans on the road along the Danube. In the year 35, Emperor Tiberius built a road from Sremska Mitrovica (Sirmium), by Belgrade (Singidunum), Smederevo (Semendiras), Kostolac (Viminacium) and the mouth of the river Porečka. From that place, Tiberius’s road leaves the Danube and reaches Vidin. Two Tiberius’s memorial plates are incised into the rocks, the first near Gospođin Vir and the second nine kilometers further, by the Izlaz cataract.
Tiberius’s plate says:
“Tiberius Cesar August, son of August the Emperor, supreme priest, 35 times a tribune, III Macedonian Skit Legion”.
It was a great challenge, that Danube and that Djerdap. As if everyone wanted to write their name into its cliffs. The emperors Domitian and Vespasian also left their traces, somewhat later. Vespasian’s plate is immediately by Tiberius’s, while Domitian’s is right above Gospodjin Vir.
Domitian’s plate reads:
“Emperor Cesar Domitian August Germanik, son of Divine Vespasian, Supreme Priest, XII times a tribune, XII times an Emperor, XII times a consul, permanent censor, father of the homeland, repaired and widened the stone road destroyed by age and power of the Danube, with the IV and VII Claudius’s legion”.
By age and power of the Danube. That is exactly what it says.
Almost two thousand years later, in 1964, the construction of the hydroelectric power plant “Djerdap” began, one of the ten biggest ones on Earth, the one that changes geography, with the intention to use the power of the Danube worthy of the XX century. But what with the traces of the past, what with the plates of Roman emperors?
Oh, how did professor Milorad Dimitrijević feel while looking at all these plates, when it was decided to save only one from the river depths! Did he have any of Apolodor’s fear and pensiveness? How was the image of raising the plate created in his head? Which plate? Traian’s. And how much sorrow there was in leaving others to the embrace of the water, cold and dark!


Who else to call but Dimitrijević, used to moving monuments, transferring and repairing houses, correcting stumbling towers and ramparts, rearranging and refortifying medieval towns, monasteries, that priceless treasure, product of the human imagination and highest accomplishments of skill and mind? The man who left traces on the most representative cultural monuments, from Chilandar, Žiča, Mileševa, Sopoćani, Šišatovac, Kuveždin, through the Smederevo Fortress and Jerina’s tower, the medieval town of Golubac, Belgrade Fortress and stabilizing the leaning monument of the Victor in it, the Nebojša Tower and reconstruction of the hamam in the Lower Belgrade Town, to transferring the Terazije fountain from Topčider, moving the monument of Koča Kapetan from Tekija… Could anyone list all of them, all those significant houses for the memory of this nation, birth houses and courts…?
And, among them, a restored inconspicuous church in Dobro Polje near Crna Trava, related to memories and childhood, one of his dearest ventures.
Well, that Dimitrijević, as he was, thin, with shrewd eyes and sharp face, decided to undertake a venture unequal to any before or after the time: to enter a fight with Tabula Traiana and, in one piece, raise it from the water towards the sky for as much as twenty meters. One piece of stone, a piece weighing three hundred tons! A venture equal to the ones undertaken by all the architects through Djerdap, during the two millennia of human memory. To raise it from the threatening depths of the Danube to the permanent light and sun. Like David before Goliath. And Goliath was the mountain.
Did he succeed?
In a magnificently simple way, with the help of experienced carvers from the mortar mine “Venčac” from Arandjelovac and constructors of the Belgrade “Mostogradnja”, the breeders and creators of swan bridges.
He separated the block from the rock, sawed it with steel threads so it wouldn’t break up, and raised it high, high… With a part of the Roman road in front of it.
Now you sail through Djerdap and admire Tabula Traiana, you read the text celebrating the glory of the Roman Emperor.
Yet, there will be place for another one, since Domitian’s, Tiberius’s and Vespasian’s plates are gone. This one will read:
“Master Dimitrijević, son of Velimir and Ana, successor of all crafts of masters from Crna Trava who elevated their skill to the sky and erected palaces from Constance and Budapest to Thessalonica, in a way known only to him, saved Tabula Traiana from darkness and oblivion, for eternity.”



From now on you
can buy National Review at Trafika sales outlets

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 81 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 80 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 79 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 78 - руски

Serbia - National Review - Tourism 2020

Србија - национална ревија - Број 77

Србија - национална ревија - Број 76

Србија - национална ревија - Број 75
Србија - национална ревија - ФранкфуртСрбија - национална ревија - МоскваСрбија - национална ревија - Москва
Србија - национална ревија - ПекингСрбија - национална ревија - број 74
Србија - национална ревија - број 73

Србија - национална ревија - број 72Туризам 2019.
Србија - национална ревија - број 71
Србија - национална ревија - број 70Србија - национална ревија - број 69Србија - национална ревија - број 68Србија - национална ревија - број 67Tourism 2018
Србија - национална ревија - број 66
Serbia - National Review - No 65
Serbia - National Review - No 64Србија - национална ревија - број 63
Србија - национална ревија - број 62
Србија - национална ревија - број 61

Србија - национална ревија - број 60
Србија - национална ревија - број 59
Serbia - National Review - No 59
Serbia - National Review - No 58

Serbia - National Review - No 56
Serbia - National Review - No 55
Serbia - National Review - No 54
Tourism 2016
Српска - национална ревија - број 53
Српска - национална ревија - број 12-13
Srpska - National Review - No 12-13
Serbia - National Review - No 51

Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 48
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46Serbia - National Review - No 46, russianSerbia - National Review - No 45Srpska - No 6
SRPSKA - National Review - No 5Tourism 2014SRPSKA - No 2
Tourism 2013
SRPSKA - National Review - Special Edition

Battle above Centuries
Legends of Belgrade
History of the Heart


Чувар светих хумки
Србија од злата јабука - друго издање
Orthodox Reminder for 2013
Пирот - Капија Истока и Запада
Беочин - У загрљају Дунава и Фрушке Горе
Србија, друмовима, пругама, рекама
Србија од злата јабука
Туристичка библија Србије

Коридор X - Европски путеви културе
Београд у џепу
Тло Србије, Завичај римских царева
Добродошли у Србију