The Trescovăţ Peak in the Natural Park Portile de Fier (Iron Gates) is a spectacular lookout point above the longest gorge of the Danube course.
The Trescovăţ Peak is a stone formation that draws your eyes due to its special aspect. It is different from the surrounding peaks that are mostly karstic. Its aspect is due to the volcanic rocks that compose the impressive rock wall. With its 755 metres, Trescovăţ is one of the highest peaks in The Natural Park Portile de Fier (Iron Gates).
The Natural Park Portile de Fier (Iron Gates) has a surface of 115.655, 80 ha plus the navigable channel of the Danube and it is situated between Buzias and Gura Vaii. The Park also includes the southern peaks of the Banatului Mountains (Locvei and Almajului) and a section of the Mehedinti Lowlands.
The Danube flows over a total portion of 134 km, being its longest gorge. The narrowest section is in the Cazanelor Area. Here, the length of the Danube can get up to 180-250 meters.
- In the park there are two Natura 2000 sites where birds and animals have a special protection: – one is the Danube Course-Bazias– Portile de Fier – and the other one is the site Almajului-Locvei Peaks
- The park also belongs to the community site Portile de Fier (Iron Gates)
- In 2011, the Park Porţile de Fier (Iron Gates)was declared as Ramsar site, being included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance
There are 18 protected areas, divided in several categories:
Natural reservations for birds and animals (Divici – Pojejena, Ostrov Moldova Veche, Calinovăţ Island)
Forest reservations (Dealul Duhovna)
Botanical reservations (Valea Mare, Faţa Virului, Cracul Crucii, Valea Oglănicului, Cracul Găioara)
Paleontological reservations (The Fossil Site Sviniţa, the Fossil Site Bahna)
Mixed reservations (Balta Nera – Dunăre, Baziaş, Râpa cu lăstuni, Cazanele Mari and Cazanele Mici, Gura Văii – Vârciorova, Dealul Văranic).
In the Natural Park Portile de Fier (Iron Gates) there are 50 villages, 2 capital cities (Orşova and Drobeta Turnu Severin) and partially the city of Moldova Nouă. The names of the localities, of the peaks and of the valleys let us guess the great ethnic diversity in the area. Besides the Romanian people, there are important communities of Serbs (approx. 11,3%), Czechs (4,8%), Roma people (1,72%), Hungarians (0,73%), Germans (0,39%) etc.
The Natural Park Porţile de Fier (Iron Gates) offers several possibilities to spend your free time:
- sailing on the Danube
- bird watching
- bicycle touring
- adventure sports (caving, rappel, and climbing).
You can visit archaeological or natural sites:
- The foot of the Bridge of the Roman Emperor Trajan built by Appolodorus of Damascus and the entire Archaeological Site Drobeta, the ruins of the citadels Drencova, Tricule, Sf. Ladislau
- The ruins of the oldest monk monastery in Ţara Românească (The Monastery Vodiţa)
- The biggest hydro-technical site along the Danube and in Romania – Porţile de Fier (Iron Gates)
- Caves (Ponicova, Veterani, Peştera cu Muscă etc)
- The highest rock statue in Europe with a 40m height – the face of the Dacian King Decebalus in the Bay of Mraconia
- The geomorphological formations (the rock Babacaia, the natural amphitheatre Sviniţa, the Volcanic Neck Trescovăţ),
- The 9 water mills who are still functioning or the Fig Festival in Sviniţa,
- The diversity of flowers and animals in the park is also another reason for visiting the area. You can find here a blend of Continental-European elements and Southern and sub-Mediterranean ones. Here, the beech, the birch and the yew tree descend a lot in the Gorge. The bilberry is also going down to the lowest altitudes in the Trescovăţ Peak. The Mediterranean elements go up to higher altitudes: the lilac or the Turkish hazelnut. Specific to the Southern Banat Region and the Danube Gorge is the vegetal association named “şibliac”, made of downy oak with oriental hornbeam, manna ash, lilac, Turkish plum tree, field maple, smoke tree and purple star-thistle.
The Cazanelor Area (cazan means cauldron) stands out with its flower richness and the big number of endemic wildlife. You can see here the Cazanelor tulip, the European Cornel of Banat, the Cazanelor bellflowers, the wild Carthusian Pink or the rock iris.
Of the 250 bird species, 133 are strictly protected, among which the pygmy cormorant, the great bittern, the little egret, the common kingfisher etc.
A large number of birds can be watched during the migration. Over 20.000 birds migrate through the Natural Park Porţile de Fier (Iron Gates). In order to watch them there are sites constructed in the area of Suşca and Sicheviţa.
The Hermann’s tortoise is a symbol of the Park along with the Cazanelor tulip. The scorpion that you can encounter here is of small dimensions, such as a matchbox. Its venom is not lethal for humans, but its sting is quite painful.
The main roads in the Park are the road portion from E70 road between Drobeta Turnu Severin – Orşova – Topleţ and the road DN 57 – Orşova – Moldova Veche – Pojejena (asphalted) that follows the Danube.
In the Park there are 16 touristic marked trails and 4 thematic trails (in the area of Orşova, Dubova, Sviniţa and Moldova Nouă).
From the marked trails three of them are bike-friendly:
- Balta Nera – Ostrov Moldova Veche;
- the thematic trail Valea Morilor de Apă (The Water Mills Valley);
- Czechs’ Trail. The latter links the Czech villages situated on the peaks of Almaj and Locvei (the villages Sf. Elena, Gârnic, Bigăr, Eibenthal) crossing karstic plateaus, deep valleys and forests.
The majority of the trails have spectacular lookout points over the Danube. Trescovăţ, Ciucarul Mic and Mare in the Cazanele Dunării offer airplane-like lookout points over the Danube and the sourroundings.
In order to facilitate the access on the Trescovăţ Peak there is a red triangle marked trail of approximately 10 km that you can do in about 5-6 hours. The access is done from the road DN 57 (Moldova Veche – Orsova), between the villages Cozla and Şviniţa. At the two ends of the trail there are information panels and signposts.
The trail demands a good physical condition, as there are difficult slopes, mainly at the end. The total difference in altitude is of over 675m.
From the plateau of the Trescovăţ Peak an impressive overview opens up. You have at your feet a part of the Danube’s longest gorge, a spectacular landscape, unique in Europe.
The trail winds through Austrian oak, hornbeam, Italian oak and beech forests, as well as through lilac bushes, flower meadows, rock areas and picturesque dwellings. Due to the flora and fauna richness there is a special preservation botanical area on Trescovăţ. The sub-Mediterranean influences are present here as well; the black pine of Banat with its twisted forms due to the regional winds can be found on the plateau of the Trescovăţ Peak.
There are also protected species of amphibians and reptiles (the European green lizard, the Hermann’s tortoise and the horned viper) and of mammals (bats, wolves, deer, stags, wild cats, bears, wild boars).
Recommendations for hiking on Trescovăț:
- Carefully follow the markings on crossing the meadows, as there are no signposts when entering the forest.
- On hot summer days, start very early in the morning (this applies for all the trails along the Danube).
- Take along a good amount of water, even if there are two springs along the way.
- Beware of the vipers. Wear hiking boots and long trousers (or hiking gaiters)
- Being a frontier area, make sure you have the identity card on you.