RAM FORTRESS This fortress is among the oldest inSerbia - with records dating back to the early 12th century - though no one knows preciselywhen it was built…What is certain is that it has a very turbulent and interesting history, and that it was fought over by the Hungarians, Byzantines andOttoman Turks. The view fromthe fortress is somagnificent and relaxing that it is actually linked to a legend about the emergence of Ram. It is believed that it was right here, where theDanube is at its shallowest andmakes a greatmeander, that oncemighty TurkishSultan Bayezid II spread out his ihrampraying rug so he could rest and enjoy the view. Sitting there on his rug, he is said to have fallen asleep, only to awaken reborn a fewhours later. And thus he issued the order to build a fortress on the hill where he had sat on his rug, whichwas named ihramafter the Turkishword for a prayermat. BAČ FORTRESS In the Danube basin stands the red, beautiful and “proud” Bač Fortress, an enduring, centuries-old, impregnable guardian of the Vojvodina plain, after which the entire fertile region of Bačka, between the Danube and Tisza, is named. Leading to the fortress from the town of Bač are winding streets, a pedestrian extension bridge and the Šijak Gate, and conforming that you’re unmistakably in the right place is the dungeon tower, which offers an incredible view from the top that is particularlymagical during sunsets. This site emerged in the formwe know today in the 14th century, during the reign of King Charles Robert of Anjou. However, various fortifications have existed on the same site since the 6th century, so Bač Fortress has survived and outlived numerous armies... represented one of the most significant discoveries of its kind on the territory of Serbia.The Lepenski Vir culture, which dates back about 8,000 years, represented a complete unknown to archaeologists. People lived on this site in continuity for about 2,000 years, and during that time they traversed an evolutionary route from hunter-gatherers to an organised socioeconomic community.The stone sculptures that represented their deities have become a recognisable sign of Lepenski Vir around the entire world and the oldest artworks of this kind in Europe. It is also along this part of the Danube that youwill see Diana, an ancient fortified town located just downstream from the Đerdap I hydroelectric power plant. And thenwe reach the aforementionedTrajan’s Bridge, a monumental structure and one of the symbols of the Iron Gates Gorge. Built at the behest of Roman emperor Trajan, the bridge was 1,097 metres in length, making it the longest bridge in the world for almost a thousand years. Today, unfortunately, not many remains of this structure exist. Trajan’s plaque, Tabula Traiana, is another symbol of Đerdap. However, the Roman road on which the plaque stood was flooded during the constructionof theĐerdaphydroelectricpowerplant,which is why Trajan’s plaque was repositioned to stand 21.5 metres above its original location. The Danube is at its widest near Donji Milanovac. Just a few kilometres from this city is the section of the great river called the Veliki and Mali Kazan [Large and Small Cauldron].The Danube reaches a depth of as much as 90 metres in the area of the Large Cauldron, while it achieves a width of 300 metres in the Small Cauldron. Another interesting site on the Danube is situated near Negotin. This is Prahovo, where the Germans sank dozens of their ships during World War II to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Soviets. When the water level of the Danube falls sufficiently, some of these ships emerge from the depths. Creepy and impressive. And let’s conclude by returning to the beginning, to the wonderful tavern song with a chorus that will forever resonate in this area…And the song goes: “Danube, Danube, beside youmy heart remains…” Or, in the words of Zvonko Bogdan: “Quietly, quietly flows the blue Danube, and the old clock still ticks on the fortress, time passes, and we pass slowly with it. If only it stopped once, at least for a moment…” But time flows mercilessly andpays noheed toman’s desire to settle for amoment. Like time, the Danube also journeys unwaveringly, a witness to our turbulent history, to our unbreakable connection with the past, but also a witness proving that everything flows and everything changes. Danube » Dunav | 89