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Danube, as origin of the first European corridors

June 16, 2012

At the beginning of the second century A.D., the Roman emperor Trajan, with the architect Apollodor of Damascus, finished the highway along the Danube, crossing the area Clisura, a road that Tiberius had begun, but was abandoned by Vespasian. He by-passed the cataracts barrier of the Iron Gates on the Danube, called by natives Gherdap, by building a canal with paved borders, the Fossa Traiana, on the right bank, which allowed the unification of the two military fleets: Classis Pannonica- on the upper and middle course of the Danube, and Classis Moesica- on the lower one. This could be considered as first step toward what we will hereinafter call the Black Sea – North Sea Corridor. The Roman canal, which existed until 1895, was 3200m in length and had dykes 14m high [Ionescu I. (1922), Lucrarile publice la romani sub imparatul Traian, in Buletinul Societatii Politehnice, XXXVI, 1-3]. The Roman Empire was the only one, which dominated the Danube’s entire course, and raised for the first time the idea of a link between the North Sea and the Black Sea, by connecting the Danube with the Rhine. Moreover, with these works, completed with the road that was following the right bank of the river and with the navigation canal in the Axios – Carasu Valley, from the ancient Axiopolis (Cernavoda) on the Danube to the Black Sea, near Tomis (Constantza), Trajan performed a direct link between the north area of the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea. This  is perhaps the first European corridor, as a multimodal link (inland waterway and terrestrial). The road had two short transhipments, first between the Adriatic and Ljublianica, an effluent of the Sava, and the second in the Eastern end of Axios – Carasu Valley, which represents the forerunner of Danube – Black Sea canal that would be built two millennia later.

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