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If you ever find yourself in the south-west of Romania, where the Carpathian Mountains meet the Danube River I strongly advise you to make a little detour to see Decebalus, the last Dacian king, immortalized as a 40 meter high rock sculpture.
As I’m sure many of you already know, the country we now call Romania has its origin in the Dacian people who lived on these lands in Roman times. The Danube River was a natural border to the Roman Empire which protected the Dacians from getting conquered for a while until the Romans built a bridge. The last Dacian king was called Decebalus and it is said that he fought bravely against the bigger and stronger army of the Roman Empire, but was defeated in the end and Dacia became a Roman province. The Romanian people are actually born from this Roman – Dacian synthesis.
The sculpture was made between 1994 and 2004 by the artist Florin Cotarcea and financed by the businessman Iosif Constantin Dragan, a history buff and Dacian enthusiast. It is the largest rock sculpture in Europe and the sixth biggest statue in the world being over 40 meters high and 25 meters wide. The eyes are over 4 meters wide and the nose 7 meters high. Twelve people worked on this project and all in all they used over 1 ton of dynamite. Even after 10 years of work it is only 60 % completed, because Dragan died and there were no funds anymore. At the bottom of the sculpture there is an inscription which reads: “DECEBAL REX – DRAGAN FECIT” (king Decebalus – made by Dragan).
The face of Decebalus is situated right on the Danube shore in the Mraconia Golf and can be viewed from the bridges that cross the golf but if you want to take a closer look at the craftsmanship of the sculpture one should rent a boat. This would also give you the opportunity to check out the unspoiled nature landscapes that are quite amazing as the Danube River makes its way through the Carpathian Mountains.
The Romanian people have always been very proud of their Dacian origins and this rock sculpture of Decebalus, the last Dacian king immortalized on the Danube River, is a constant reminder of our rich history. And we Romanian are proud of our history. Although this place is only on my bucket list, I am glad to see it this summer.
Are you ready to experience this story yourself?