The natural wonder of the Danube gorges, in Serbian language called Djerdap gorges, at the Iron Gates of Danube, extends on a length of 140 km. Cruise ships pass this narrow gorges, daily cruises from numerous harbours bring you to the most exciting points: Lepinski Vir (see Drobeta, museums or Danube.travel, museums), Tabula Traiana, and rock monument of Decebal (read more at Drobeta Turnu Severin, places to see in and around Drobeta). The iron gates, once and sometimes also today called the cataracts, were impassable for ships for a long time . Only a canal, built under Emperor Trajan, allowed ship transits. The building of two dams, Djerdap I and Djerdap II, both a co-operative effort between Yugoslavia (today Serbia) and Romania led to an rise in the Danube water level in this area by up to 45 m. Not only Tabula Traiana but also the city of Orsova had to be moved uphill. The newly established Djerdap Lake has become a favourite tourist spot where boat excursions are also offered.
The Iron Gates of the Danube have always been a key point between source and delta. A series of fortresses along both river banks testify to 2,000 years of strategic military importance. Today, both sides of the river, mostly covered with marvellous rocky hills, are protected areas with high biodiversity. Serbia operates the Djerdap National Park and Romania the Iron Gates Natural Park along this spectacular stretch of the Danube (see Drobeta Turnu Severin, Nature in and around Drobeta).