The secret of the Roman Empire’s military success lay in the meticulous planing that preceded every campaign. A network of roads crisscrossed the empire in order to facilitate the fast and efficient movement of troops. If needed, new roads were built by the Roman engineering corps in regions of planned military actions. The conquest of Dacia, the region covering most of present day Romania, during the reign of Emperor Trajan, represents the high water mark of Roman military might.
In order to supply his troops in Dacia, Trajan had a military road constructed. It traversed hard mountainous terrain. In some places, Roman engineers had to carve the road into almost vertical cliffs. Parts of road were constructed on wooden consoles over rivers.
Tabula Trajana is a memorial plaque erected to mark the end of road construction. It is located on the Serbian side facing Romania near Ogradina, opposite Decebal’s Head, the tallest stone sculpture in Europe.
A translation of the inscription reads:
“Emperor Nerva son of the divine Nerva, Nerva Trajan, the Augustus, Germanicus, Pontifex Maximus, invested for the fourth time as Tribune, Father of the Fatherland, Consul for the third time, excavating mountain rocks and using wood beams has made this road.”
The Tabula was originally 50 meters lower. The original spot was flooded with the construction of hydroelectric dam in late 1960s and the monument was moved, now just above the waterline.
Know Before You Go
Several tourist agencies from major Serbian cities offer guided tours with boat down the Danube river. All of these tours include visit to Tabula Trajana.