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Orşova



orsova




Map from 1940 of the area around Orsova, with the 2nd - 3rd century fort or castrum at Dierna shown circled in orange.

Photo: http://diernaorsova.blogspot.com.au/


orsova
Constructii Antice - ancient buildings
Monumente Romane - Roman Monuments
Necropole Romane - Roman Necropolis
Aria de întindere a Diernei sec II - III - Maximum extent of the Roman Settlement of Dierna, 2nd to 3rd Century AD.
A-P Cercetari Arheologice efectuate intre anii 1966-1969 - A-P archaeological discoveries made between 1966 and 1969
(A) Fortificatie Romana Tîrzie - (A) Late Roman Fortification

a) Zernes-Dierna Roman Castrum

The castrum is located west of the river Cerna. Due to its small size, the layout was originally considered to be the medieval fortress of Orsova.

The dimensions of the fortification, identified in the field, are 64 x 54 metres and the time is late Roman, during the reigns of the Emperor Diocletian, 284 to 305 AD and Constantine the Great, 306 to 337 AD. North of the fortress late Roman bricks and tiles bearing stamps were discovered.

In the barrows of the NE and SE of the late Roman fortification level are ceramics from the 5th to 8th centuries AD. (studied groups are between the 7th and 8th, 8th - 10th, and 10th - 13th centuries).

b) Roman City

It seems that Dierna developed as a civilian city, without a military garrison. It did not exceed the rank of municipium. A late Roman fortification civil settlement partly overlaps the ancient Roman city. Other constructions were investigated on different occasions (Danube Avenue Alley, 23 August Street, Decebal, Graţca Valley were on the site of the first cemetery, with the second cemetery near the Cerna Bridge).

We know that Roman habitation concentrated in two areas: the first stretching along the river, and the second between the two cemeteries. Bricks in the town were found only for the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. A double pattern representing the goddess Minerva shows the existence of official local military forces.

Photo and text: Descoperiri Arheologice din Banatul Romanesc
- Reportoriu -
Cu contribuţii de: Cosmin Suciu şi Silviu Istrate Purece
Editor: Sabin Adrian Luca
Dedic acest volum memoriei profesorului Florin Medelet.
Sibiu, 2006.


orsova fort

Position where the remains of a ballista were found in the Fort in Orsova during rescue archaeology in the 1960s before the rising waters of the Danube behind a dam covered the site. This position indicates that it was probably one of four such weapons, one at each corner of the fort, used if necessary to shoot at attacking troops. The darts would have had no difficulty in passing through any armour.

Photo:


Orsova Ballista
The remains of a ballista were found in the Roman Fort in Orşova during rescue archaeology in the 1960s before the rising waters of the Danube behind a dam covered the site. Nick Watts has made 'Firefly', a powerful, superb and accurate reconstruction of the Roman ballista found at Orşova. He has also treated it as a scientific endeavour, with careful and accurate measurements of velocity, energy, range and accuracy, something which has never been attempted in modern times.



orsova ballista

This is part of the ballista found at the fort in Orsova.

It is a long iron rod forged to an arch in the middle. The two ends of the rod were forked. On either side of the arch was a small round hole going through the rod. All four ends of the two forks were broken, but at one of the broken ends a single small rectangular hole was preserved intact and apparently the beginning of another. The object was considerably bent and twisted.

Photo: Baatz (1978)


orsova ballista
Ballista at the National History Museum of Transylvania, located in Cluj-Napoca.

This is an excellent display of the main parts of the Orsova ballista, with the original bar with an arch in the middle, and the right hand mechanism for holding the sinew rope which took the tension of the weapon and then released it, sending the bolt 800 metres or more, with tremendous force, sufficient to pass through a fully armoured soldier. The left hand mechanism has been recreated for the display, but unfortunately an exact copy of the curved vertical bar was made instead of the mirror image as should be the case.

The overall length of the original bar is 145 cm, but it would have been longer when originally made, since the forked ends were found corroded and truncated. The length of the rod itself to where the forks start is 125 cm.

Photo: Cristian Chirita
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version.
Text: Baatz (1978)


Dierna was a customs station, and was granted municipium status by Septimus Severus.

orsova





Votive inscription (given or dedicated in fulfillment of a vow or pledge, or expressing or symbolising a wish, desire, or vow).

Carved by the slave Bellinus at the customs fort of Dierna in the 2nd Century AD.

Photo: Benea (1974)


orsova





4th Century Tegula or roof tile stamped made ​​in the brickyards of DRP, Dierna.

DRP stood for D(acia) R(i) P(ensis), or Dacia on the Danube.

The imbrex and tegula were overlapping roof tiles used in ancient Greek and Roman architecture as a waterproof and durable roof covering. They were made predominantly of fired clay, but also sometimes of marble, bronze or gilt. In Rome they replaced shingles, and were used on almost every type of structure, from humble outbuildings to grand temples and public facilities.

The tegula was a plain flat tile, or a flat tile with raised edges, which was laid flat upon the roof, while the imbrex (Greek kalupter) was a semi-cylindrical roofing tile, like a half-pipe, laid over the joints between the tegulae. When well-made and properly imbricated (overlapped), there was little need for further waterproofing or sealant.

Photo: Benea (1974)
Text: Adapted from Wikipedia


orsova




Topographical map of the Orsova area before the flooding of the old town.

Photo: http://diernaorsova.blogspot.com.au/


orsova
Orşova

A general view of the small town of Orşova, (in english, Orsova) taken from the left bank of the Danube/Dunare a few kilometres from the town, looking to the west across the estuary of the Cerna River.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


old orsova
Old Orşova. All of the area built on in this engraving is now under water.

Photo: http://www.snorsova.ro/html/about.html


orsova map


orsova

Orşova map and satellite view

As can be seen from this map and satellite view, Orşova is on the bank of the estuary of the Cerna River, formed when the Iron Gates dam was built. The dam flooded the old town on the banks of the Cerna, and a new town was built on the banks of the flooded estuary.

Map: http://www.multimap.com/wi/4541.htm

Photo: Google Earth


orsova
Orşova

Coordinates: 44°43'31"N, 22°23'46"E

The town was the site of a Roman Empire port in the province of Dacia Malvensis, and the site of a a castrum named Dierna. Orşova became part of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1657, at the start of an Ottoman-Habsburg War, and became part of Romania after World War I, and was officially included in Oltenia during the administrative reform of 1968.

During the works at the Iron Gates, the old center of the town was flooded, and Orşova was developed (1966-1971) on higher ground, including the southern side of the Almăj Mountains and the villages of Jupalnic, Tufari, and Coramnic.

The town is a center for the extraction of bentonite, chromium, and granite. The industry is centered on energy production (the hydroelectric plant), shipbuilding and engine manufacturing, assembly parts for electricity production, textiles, and the processing of feldspar, asbestos, quartz, talc, wood, etc.

Photo and text: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Or%C5%9Fova


orsova
The residence of the Turkish Pascha to Orşova. Original steel engraving drawn by C. Reiss. Die Residenz des Turkischen Pascha's zu Orsova, from steel engraving with recent hand coloring. Overall size is 14.8 x 23.2 cm, image size is 9.8 x 14.5 cm. From Meyer's Universum, published by Bibliographic Institute Hildburghausen Germany, ca 1850.

Photo: http://search.stores.ebay.com/orsova


orsova wedding

A wedding in Orşova, with guests dancing the Hora. This original part of town was inundated by the dam, and the town was rebuilt on higher ground.

Artist: William Beattie M.D., ca 1842

Photo: http://search.stores.ebay.com/orsova


orsova

Post card from Orsova

Photo: Ada Kaleh CD






ada kaleh Ada Kaleh







old dress

National costume in the Iron Gates Gorges.

Photo: The Iron Gate Atlas


orsova
Orşova shipyards.

The company SC Santierul Naval Orsova SA was started in 1890, and presently produces 17 ships per year.

Photo: http://www.snorsova.ro/html/about.html


Orsova
M.F.T.R. Schiffswerfte

Historical photograph showing the shipyards based in Orsova. This site is now underwater.

The company now known as SC Santierul Naval Orsova SA began operations in 1890, as a small workshop designed for repairing of the ships used for the construction of the navigable channel between Portile de Fier (Iron Gates) and SIP Yugoslavia.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Between Gates Three and Four

Above Iron Gates Four, looking upstream towards Orşova. Two kilometres above the Iron Gates dam.

Photo: Per 1998 34A


View of the Third Iron Gate, looking upstream towards Orsova

View of the Third Iron Gate, looking upstream towards Orşova, the buildings on the ridge above the Donau.

Photo: Per 1998 35A




View across the Cerna River

Looking across the Cerna River, which passes through Orşova.

Photo: Per 1998 36A

SculptureSculpture
This is a sculpture commemorating the construction of the railway along the Danube, in time for the flooding of the Iron Gates which submerged the old railway lines.

The inscription reads: "The building works of the railways of S.H.E.N. Iron Gates were done by IC.P.F Turnu Severin for the Ministry of Railways, 7.09.1964 - 7.09.1969   Designer I.P.C.F."

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




orsova
Part of the electricity production plant using hydro electricity from the water rushing over the Iron Gates dam, down stream from Orşova.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe


Troitza
A troitza from Orşova.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




Troitza
A troitza from Orşova.

Photo: Adrian Gheorghe




The photographs below come from http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm, which has many superb historical photographs of Băile Herculane, Orsova and the Iron Gates area.



Orsova
Orsova. The distinctive shape of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Orthodox Church spire may be seen in this shot from the opposite bank of the estuary of the Cerna River which flows into the Danube.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Orsova taken from a high angle, and with a telephoto effect - the lack of definition and graininess suggests that the photographer blew up the negative when printing it from the enlarger, in order to get a close up of the town.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Orsova. The distinctive shape of the Romanian Greek-Catholic Orthodox Church spire may again be seen in this shot from the hill behind the town, looking over the port area in the estuary of the Cerna River which flows into the Danube. A boat is making ready for departure at the docks. Scattered farm houses and pastures may be seen on the hills opposite, as well as a road.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
The Romanian Greek-Catholic Orthodox Church in Orsova.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
The Romanian Greek-Catholic Orthodox Church in Orsova.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova fashions
Donau Lane, Orsova - fashionable dress in the 1890s.

The girl in black on the left seems to have a lot of spirit!

Note also the shadow of the photographer, his camera and tripod, and the cloth over his camera. This would probably have been a wet emulsion type of camera, using glass slides.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova floods
Flood in Orsova, in the middle of April 1895.

The soldiers and townsmen are standing on a raised walkway in front of the row of shops and houses.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova floods
Flood in Orsova, in the middle of April 1895.

The walkway can be seen more clearly in this photograph.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova floods
Flood in Orsova, in the middle of April 1895.

It would seem from the extent of the walkway that such floods were not uncommon, and were well prepared for.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova floods
Flood in Orsova, in the middle of April 1895.

The floods appear to be receding in this photograph.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
One of the main streets in Orsova facing the docks area, taken from the same vantage point as the photo of the receding floods above.

Note the horse drawn bus.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Orsova in 1895.

A priest may be seen standing outside the substantial building, possibly a bank or a government building, with the church in the background.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Orsova in 1895.

Looking the other way up the same street.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Orsova. Docks area.

Note the pontoons which can move up and down with the rise and fall of the river, for loading and unloading of ships, the bridges connecting the pontoons with the river bank, and the steps up the river bank for the use of people in smaller craft such as row boats.

The pontoons may well have been taken out of the river in winter to protect them from damage during the spring thaw and resultant floods. The Cerna must sometimes have frozen solid, just as the Donau/Danube does.

A hotel and shops servicing the shipping and town trade may also be seen, as well as a horse and cart and a dray.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Orsova. Docks area.

In this shot, it appears that the pontoons have been removed, or perhaps it is a section of the waterfront where there are no pontoons. Certainly it is summer, since the poplars have plenty of leaves.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Barracks.

Note the group of soldiers at the far side of the quadrangle, and the small row boat in the foreground in front of the building, on blocks.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova fashions
Orsova building.

Date: Before 1910, when electricity came to the town, and the main road was sealed.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova fashions
Hátósag.

Literally, "Authority", possibly the police station.

Date: Before 1910, when electricity came to the town, and the main road was sealed.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Street parade in Orsova.

Date: After 1910, when electricity came to the town.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Winter in Orsova.

Date: After 1910, when electricity came to the town.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova
Coal dump for refuelling ships, at the end of a small railway line close by the docks. Note the steps with spilt coal, and the bollard for tying up the ships while being refuelled.

The photo appears to have been taken from the deck of a ship.

Date on the photograph: 22nd January 1916.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova paddlesteamer
This passenger paddle steamer is tied up to one of the pontoons at the Orsova docks. The pontoon seems to be a large specially built metal box.

Note the twin large wheels protected by a light canopy at the back of the ship, and the elaborate scroll decoration on the stern.

There are many small rowboats tied up at the docks, presumably used for fishing, for transport up and down the Cerna River, and for taking passengers across the river.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova tug
This appears to be a tugboat called Szava with sleek lines, with the deck raked fore and aft to facilitate towing ships up the Donau/Danube. The boat is named after the Szava River, one of the four main rivers in Hungary.

Note the heavy towropes drying on the rail of the vessel.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova ships
A line of boats at the shipyards at Orsova.

The lead ship is called the Pannonia, which was a Roman province comprising parts of present day Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Orsova refinery
This oil refinery to make petrol was commissioned by Singer and Company of Orsova in 1892 and completed in 1893, with additions in 1905 and 1909. The equipment for the refinery was supplied by the company now known as Technoexport Czech Republic who supplied the majority of the equipment for the complete refinery.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Border
Kronkapelle, near Orsova.

Crown Chapel, perhaps meaning round chapel, or perhaps referring to the crown or decoration on the top of the roof.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




Border


Hungarian - Romanian border, at Voditza.

Photo: http://orsova.xhost.ro/_sgg/f10000.htm




References

  1. Baatz, D., 1978: Recent Finds of Ancient ArtilleryBritannia, Vol. 9. (1978), pp. 1-17.
  2. Benea, D. et al., 1974: Orsova, Vatra de Istorie, Poarta de Lumina, Tipografia Drobeta Turnu Severin - c-da nr. 15




Recent additions, changes and updates to the Alexis site

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This site is to publicise the history and culture of Romania, and displays information from the Alexis Project Association

Alexis Project Filiasi/Romania
RC J/263/230/2007 CIF 21464151
Email: alexis_project@yahoo.com

in a partnership and contract with the Oltenia Museum:
Oltenia Museum Craiova/Romania
CF 4417192
Email: muzeulolteniei@yahoo.com

Because Oltenia Museum has the ability to verify the scientific importance of this information and because the specialists of Oltenia Museum have made contributions to this site, the copyrights to it are part of Oltenia Museum property.



If you have any photographs or information which would be useful for this site please contact Don Hitchcock


This page last modified Thursday, 22nd November, 2012 06:33pm


Webmaster: Don Hitchcock

Email: don@donsmaps.com


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