The statue of Decebalus, the largest rock sculpture in Europe
Art & Culture

The statue of Decebalus, the largest rock sculpture in Europe

Statua di Decebalo,Romania

The statue of Decebalus, the largest rock sculpture in Europe

The Statue of Decebalus is a colossal sculpture carved from a rock located along the suggestive banks of the Danube, on the border between Romania and Serbia. The work stands in the breathtaking landscape of the Romanian side overlooking the Iron Gates, near the city of Or?ova. Decebalus, the last king of Dacia who reigned from 87 to 106 AD, was one of the most powerful rulers of this ancient kingdom, a skilled strategist and great ruler, still remembered today for his nobility towards his people and his land. This statue celebrates his greatness.

The gigantic work, now considered the tallest rock sculpture in Europe and the sixth largest in the world, depicts the head of King Decebalus and measures 43 meters in height and 25 meters in width. The statue was constructed between 1994 and 2004 by the Romanian artist Florin Cotarcea, thanks to the project and the financial support of his compatriot Iosif Constantin Dr?gan, an entrepreneur and a lover of history, later naturalized as an Italian in Giuseppe Costantino Dragan. It took 10 years of hard work and a team of 12 sculptors to complete the sculpture. It is often subjected to extreme stress caused by height. When the work was completed, the Latin inscription was carved at the base of the monument: Decebal Rex, Dragan Fecit, or "King Decebalus, made by Dragan".

On the opposite bank of the Danube, in the territory belonging to Serbia, lies the Tabula Traiana, a memorial dedicated to the emperor Trajan. The memorial honors the numerous victories of the Roman army in the conquest of Dacia. In addition to its size, the sculpture of “Decebal Rex” is also striking for its position. It represents a great king who continues to dominate the borders of the land he defended until his death, as is seen from the lush vegetation-covered rocks.

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