Tracks of Rome » Rimski tragovi | 79 SE R B I A I N ANT I QU I T Y Traverse the roads of Roman emperors FromSirmium in the north to Justiniana Prima in the south, Serbia has as many as seven exceptional locations that stand as testimony to the most powerful state of the time and the grand total of 17 emperors who were born on Serbian soil The road of Roman emperors through Serbia recounts for tourists the story of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and the extremely important period of the Eastern Empire when its capital was Sirmium. Parts of these traces of power and luxury are still visible today at archaeological sites, on the road where emperors passed, bathed in swimming pools with magnificent mosaics, constructed bridges and palaces, minted coins etc. The wealth of Roman heritage on the territory of Serbia, and the fact that as many as 17 Roman emperors are presumed to have been born or lived in this area, is impressive enough. And when you add to that the magnificent archaeological sites that they left behind, it is clear why you should follow in their footsteps. On that journey through history you will tour Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica), Viminacium (Kostolac), Traian’s tablet and bridge (Đerdap), Diana (Kladovo), Felix Romuliana (Zaječar), Mediana (Niš) and Justiniana Prima (Lebane)… But let’s set off one at a time… Trajanov put Đerdap je izuzetan upravo po tome što se na relativno malom prostoru vidi milenijumska prošlost, još od Lepenskog vira. Kako bi se pripremio za rat protiv Dačana, rimski car Trajan je početkom 2. veka isklesao strm put duž obale reke Dunav. Ova moćna reka u doba rimskih careva bila je prirodni put ali i, kroz Đerdapsku klisuru, važna prirodna prepreka. Zbog toga je na Dunavu izgrađena granica sa sistemom tvrđava koja je štitila carstvo od upada varvara. Dijana i Pontes najveća su među ovim utvrđenjima. Veličinu graditeljske veštine starih Rimljana bila je izgradnja mosta preko Dunava. Ovaj poduhvat je prikazan na Trajanovom stubu u Rimu, a čuvenu Trajanovu tablu, monumentalni natpis o gradnji puta prema Dakiji, posetioci danas mogu videti samo sa reke. VIATRAIANA Đerdap is exceptional precisely because you can see a past dating back millennia, all theway to Lepenski vir, in a relatively short stretch of land. In order to prepare for war against theDacians at the beginning of the 2nd century, Roman emperor Trajan carved a steep road along the course of the river Danube. Thismighty river was a natural route for travel during the time of theRoman emperors, but also represented an important natural obstacle in the stretch passing through theĐerdapGorge. This iswhy a border with a systemof fortresseswas built along theDanube to protect the Empire from barbarian incursions. The largest of these fortifications are Diana and Pontes. Themagnificence of the architectural prowess of the ancient Romans was demonstratedwith the construction of a bridge over theDanube. This endeavour is depicted on Trajan’sColumn in Rome, while the famous Trajan’s Plaque, amonumental inscription about the construction of the road toDacia, can only be seen by today’s visitors fromthe river. Uz tvrđavu Pontes nalaze se i ostaci Trajanovog mosta, koji je povezivao levu i desnu obalu Dunava Located alongside the fort of Pontes are the remains of Trajan’s Bridge, which connected the left and right banks of the Danube Kladovo FOTO: Z.LONČAREVIĆ Beograd