Pontes

The remains of Trajan’s Bridge on the Danube and the Roman castrum Pontes, were built on the route which Roman soldiers traversed in ancient times in order to wage a war on the Dacians. The magnificent stone bridge was built between 103 and 105 CE at the behest of Emperor Trajan, according to a design made by the Syrian architect Apollodorus of Damascus.

Although the bridge has long since vanished, on the right-hand side of the Danube you can see the remains of four erected columns which were once joined by arches. These columns once supported the wooden grid-like construction which bridged the river bed. The remains of the access sections of the bridge are now protected by a low wall, to protect this vital piece of heritage of classical antiquity from high water.
To defend the bridge and control navigation of the Danube, military fortresses were built on both banks of the river. The one built in modern-day Serbia is Pontes, a fortress roughly square in shape, with strong walls and entrance gates. The remains of the castrum’s towers inside the walls will give you a hint of the tension Emperor Trajan must have felt when he forged plans to conquer the Dacians, as he looked towards the Danube.

The fortress’ fate reflected the fate of the Roman army. Thus, the layout of the buildings inside Pontes was rearranged in the 4th century to better serve the needs of the many units that stayed here. And when the empire’s power began to fade, as it battled to fend off invading Gothic and Hun tribes, the fortress suffered major devastation.

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