On the east of the Iron Gate Rapids near the present-day cities of Drobeta-Turnu Severin in Romania and Kladovo in Serbia, there once stood an arch bridge. It was ordered by Roman Emperor Trajan, who led one of the greatest military expansions in Roman history. Under his rule the Roman empire attained the greatest territorial extent stretching from Mauretania in the west to Syria in the east, and Britannia in the north to Egypt in the south. Trajan ordered the bridge to be built so that his legions could cross the Danube and take over Dacia. Consisting of timber arches mounted on masonry piers, the bridge was more than 1,100 meters long, and at the time it was built, it was the longest arch bridge in both total and span length. The bridge stood for only 165 years until it was demolished by Roman Emperor Aurelian when he withdrew from Dacia. Today the only visible remains of the bridge are few of the masonry columns near the bridge’s approach.
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Modern day replica of the Trajan’s Bridge. Photo: Carole Raddato/Wikimedia