Portrait of a


At the border between Romania and Serbia, through the world-famous Iron Gates on the Danube, lies the biggest stone structure in Europe: the awe-inspiring rock sculpture of Decebalus.

Decebalus was the last king of Dacia – an ancient kingdom that’s now part of Romania – and was famous for fighting three wars against the Roman Empire. In the last war, he was defeated by emperor Trajan, and Dacia was conquered by the


Decebalus committed suicide in 105 CE to avoid capture by Trajan – a scene that is captured on one of the panels on Trajan’s Column in Rome. Decebalus has been called “the greatest barbarian king of all time,” and, over centuries, has become a folk hero and a symbol of Romanian nationalism.

The sculpture was commissioned by Romanian businessman and historian Iosif Constantin Drăgan in 1994. Drăgan wanted the Serbians to carve a giant head of a Roman Emperor, as if confronting Decebalus on the opposite side of the river, but they declined...

Scenic Pearl approaching the Iron Gates

Rock sculpture of Decebalus

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“On your Scenic Space-Ship, you can view the rockface from the privacy of your own Scenic Sun Lounge or sit back on the Sun Deck as Decebalus slowly comes into view.”

It took 10 years and a team of 12 sculptors to complete the giant portrait of the king,which is carved in the limestone with marble inserts. At 43 metres tall and 24 metres wide, it’s taller than the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

This towering sculpture is best seen from the water. After gliding through the majestic Iron Gates – the breathtaking gorge on the Danube River – and past forts and castle ruins, you’ll come face-to-face with the bearded ancient king. Here he keeps watch on the borders of those lands he defended to his death, his gaze turned to where the Romans used to make their way through rocks to reach the heart of Dacia from the Yugoslav bank of the Danube.

On your Scenic Space-Ship, you can view the rockface from the privacy of your own Scenic Sun Lounge or sit back on the Sun Deck as Decebalus slowly comes into view. Soak up the history of the region on your personal Scenic Tailormade device – or just take a moment to sit in silence, listening to the gentle rushing waters of the Danube and admiring this grand work of art and the lush, Eden-like landscape surrounding it.


Romania’s Iron Gates are cataracts between towering cliffs, where the Danube River is forced into a narrow channel between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains. In a spectacular Scenic Sundowners event, you can float through the Iron Gates, aperitif in hand, toasting the stunning landscape as the sun sets.

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